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Postpartum Depression Affects Fathers Too

Author GreatDad Writers
Submitted 02-07-2009

Most people are aware of the dangers of postpartum depression to new mothers. But a study has found that new fathers could also be severely affected by it.

Over 5,000 families were observed in a study carried out by Dr. James F. Paulson, assistant professor of pediatrics at Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, Virginia.

The study found that while 14 percent of moms suffered postpartum depression, 10 percent of dads also demonstrated symptoms of depression. Hormonal changes were held accountable in the case of women but for men, tiredness, worries about finances, and additional responsibility were found to be the main causes of postpartum depression.

Symptoms of postpartum depression in dads include mood swings, changes in weight, feelings of guilt, and fatigue. Many men also exhibited a change in behavior such as working long hours, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol, and even engaging in extramarital affairs.

Postpartum depression may last from a few days to more than a year. The good news though is that it is treatable. Strategies to help dads cope with the birth of a child include seeking counseling, forming or joining a support group, and hiring a babysitter occasionally to give dads the opportunity to spend some quality time with their spouses.