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Know more about postpartum depression in dads

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By GreatDad Writers   Print
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Postpartum depression is traditionally thought to affect exclusively moms as they are the ones who go through the most significant changes in their bodies and their psyches. However, it is common among dads too. In fact, a recent study published in the August 2006 issue of the journal Pediatrics, reports that about ten percent of all fathers in the U. S. are affected by postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression in dads may include:
  • Strong feelings of emptiness or sadness
  • Tendency to withdraw from others such as family and friends
  • Feelings of failure
  • Suicidal thoughts
Dads who suffer from postpartum depression:
  • Exhibit reduced positive interaction with their babies.
  • Are less likely to read stories, talk, or sing to their babies.
Additionally, babies whose parents both suffer from depression are:
  • Fussier and less well-socialized
  • Less likely to be put on their backs to sleep—this is important as it helps prevent the risk of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).
  • Less likely to be breastfed.
  • More likely to be put in bed with a bottle—a practice linked with tooth decay and ear infection.
Possible reasons for postpartum depression among dads include:
  • Increased responsibilities
  • Financial worries
  • Feelings of entrapment
  • Loss of freedom
Dads can avoid postpartum depression by:
  • Watching for symptoms that signal depression such as increasing irritability or hostility.
  • Discussing their problems with a doctor or a counselor who can deliver diagnosis and treatment for the same.
  • Sharing their feelings with their spouses.
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By Will,   From Berkeley
Thank you very much for this important article, and for bringing attention to this too often over-looked problem.

I wanted to let your readers know that postpartum depression in men is a very treatable condition. For most men, the biggest problem is NOT the depression itself, but the fact that think they should try to go it alone and not get help -- and that's the worst thing they can do. Left untreated, postpartum depression often worsens and can lead to other serious consequences for a man and his family.

I thought your readers might also like to know about a web site for men with postpartum depression: SadDaddy. It's the only Internet site specifically for new dads with depression, and includes lots of information, an assessment for new fathers to complete, and an online forum for dads to talk with each other.

Thanks again, and keep up the good work!

Warm wishes,

Dr. Will Courtenay

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