Men and Post Natal Depression are there in Reality?Tweet
The first question I should ask about the above line is, is it really true? Do we have any statistics which says that this is true or somewhere near truth?
Well, yes, around 5-10% of men experience depression before or after the pregnancy and delivery of the baby by their partners. Lot of misconception is present around this area, especially - many people believe that PND is present in men due to the presence of PND in women as an after effect. But this is far from truth. There are evidences of presence of PND in men independently. It can also be rightly said here that if PND is present in mothers there are more chances of PND happening in fathers as well.
Low feeling and stress along with depression can be seen in new fathers even before the birth of the child. This onset of depressive phase begins sometimes right with the start of pregnancy. It is at its peak between the six weeks to six months period of delivery. Anxiety and stress seems to be the most important causes behind this situation in men.
Is it common for dads to feel depressed?
Generally there has been low acceptance about men getting PND owning to the taboo associated with men suffering from postnatal depression. Still, according to experts, there are about 10% men suffering from PND and it affects mostly within the first year of child birth.
The kind of work which a baby brings keeps the dads at bay during the 3 weeks to 6 months period after the birth. They are most vulnerable to PND during this time. Young dads are more likely to suffer with PND, so if you are in 20's and became dad, the chances of you suffering from PND are much more than, the case when you become dad in your 30's. Similarly, first time dads are more susceptible to PND as compared to 2nd timers.
Symptoms of PND in Men
The symptoms of PND, as any other form of depression, vary from one person to another. The relationship which one has with her partner is in jeopardy if the partner has PND. They struggle to keep up the balance. You tend to lose self-esteem and feel helpless, prominently if this is your very first child. Some of the symptoms of PND in men are as follows:
- You tend to socialise less and try skipping meeting with friends.
- You start eating less and there is a visible change in your appetite
- Your body starts aching at unwanted places.
- You feel anxious some time and sometime you are overwhelmed.
- You start to have sleeping issues and do not feel like being sexually active as well.
- Feelings of solitude and disconnection from partner, friends or family
Reasons for why men suffer
The world is full of expectations and most of the time they are burdened on us by our peers and situation both. Most of the time, it takes time, patience and communication skills to find a way out of this suffering on expectations from oneself. A feeling of not able to control the situation is the most frustrating one for a man who had been in control before the baby arrives. It is the most disturbing and confusing state for new to be fathers.
How is PND treated?
Now comes the part on how it can be dealt with?
If you've tried to do something about the situation by reading or some other hobby, and it didn't get better, it is best to visit a doctor or your GP. The doctor may perform some of the routine tests to negate other circumstances and then can help you get over it.
Treating PND can be a staged process and can vary from one person to another. First you would be suggested to go for some self-help methods, wherein you would be involved in the following activities:
- Online therapy, such as CBT programme
- Participate in a local self-help group
- Read a self-help book and implement some of the self-help tips in that.
- Join an exercise group, which can help you to take care of the solitude you are in.
In the end Dad also need support
A new baby when she comes to home brings a lot of joy as well as lot of strange feelings and emotions. The new parents feel odd and indifferent when they see each other in totally different persona. They are trying to adapt themselves to the new way of life, the next route of life. The feeding routines, ante and post-natal care, weekly/monthly weight check, etc. are all there to make lives further busy and non-supportive in any way. Dads are generally asked to provide full support and understanding, but there is no one to tell them do you need support or how are you feeling between all of this. The opportunity should also be given to fathers to express their thoughts and opinion about their new phase of life and how they feel about it.