While it's more common in women, men can get postnatal depression (PND) too. It's important to recognize the symptoms of PND, as men can often feel embarrassed discussing their feelings with family and friends. Learn how to identify the signs of PND and get treatment options to help your partner cope.
What is Postnatal Depression in Men?
Postnatal Depression (PND) in men is a mental health disorder that can develop after the birth of their child. This type of depression can include feelings of sadness, low motivation, and fatigue, as well as changes in sleep patterns. PND can also include feelings of guilt, irritability, and anxiety. It's important for fathers to be aware of the signs and seek help from a medical professional if they feel depressed or anxious.
Signs and Symptoms of PND in Men.
Generally, men with PND experience similar signs and symptoms as women. Common signs include changes to sleep patterns, feeling fatigued and tired for more than two weeks, difficulty concentrating and focusing on tasks at hand, feeling overwhelmed by parenting responsibilities, lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed, sudden loss of appetite or overeating, feelings of guilt or worthlessness and being disconnected from the family. If any of these signs are present for an extended period it may be time to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional.
How Does PND Develop in Men?
Men’s risk of developing PND may be harder to identify than in women as it is more socially acceptable for them to seek help for physical health problems than emotional issues. The causes of postnatal depression are complex and can include unique factors such as a father’s role in the family and lack of social support, financial pressures, feeling overwhelmed by parenting roles or the feeling that they must shield their partners from any stress or unhappiness that they may be facing. It is important to recognize the signs and seek help early if you feel like something is wrong.
Tips for Managing Male Postnatal Depression.
The first step in managing postnatal depression is to seek professional help. A qualified medical practitioner can provide counseling, medication as needed and referral to specialized PND support services. It’s also important to build a strong social network of family and friends who can provide emotional support, distraction from the condition and practical assistance with caring for the baby or any other demands on your time. Make sure you take breaks from parenting responsibilities or express your feelings without fear of judgement or reprisal. Finally, take care of yourself by maintaining a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly - all this will help keep your mental health in check.
Treatment Options for Postnatal Depression in Men.
Generally, the same treatment options for postnatal depression in women also apply to men. Counselling and psychotherapy can be especially helpful, as it can provide an opportunity to unpack any underlying issues or personal experiences that may be causing the depression. Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) is particularly recommended for PND in men as it looks at thinking patterns and behaviours that reinforce the condition - by breaking these patterns, CBT can help individuals take ownership of their mental health. Medication has its uses too, though the risks and benefits should be carefully discussed with a doctor before taking any drugs.