Can fathers get postnatal depression?

Although postnatal depression is common in mothers there is new research to suggest that 1 in 25 fathers also suffer from the symptoms of postnatal depression. The symptoms of postnatal depression in men may be similar to that of the symptoms exhibited by women suffering from PND. However, many fathers tend to show a more hostile approach if they are suffering from PND.  

There are many causes of postnatal depression in men, as described in more detail below:

  • Financial pressure to look after the family
  • Changes in the relationship with your partner
  • Increased responsibility at home
  • A change in your lifestyle and routine
  • The pressure of dealing with fatherhood

If you are a father who has recently had a baby and are experiencing symptoms of PND then it is best to visit the doctor to discuss your feelings. Lack of acknowledgment from health professionals can also contribute to frustration and hostility.

What makes fathers prone to PND?

If the mother is suffering from PND than the father may be 3-7% more likely to suffer symptoms

The changing relationship with the mother can also affect the father

The attention on the baby can leave some fathers left out

First time fathers can often feel the new pressure of responsibility

Older fathers may be more prone to PND

What can fathers do to alleviate their depression?

Leading psychiatrists have dismissed the fact that fathers can suffer from PND due to the association of female hormones which arouses PND. They do however acknowledge that fathers can suffer from depression. If you do feel depressed you should visit your doctor immediately to discuss your feelings and sometimes talking to someone about your feelings can really help you to feel better. In cases of severe depression your doctor may prescribe you with antidepressants. 

You can try the following activities to help you get back on track:

  • Try pursuing hobbies and interests that you enjoy
  • Talk to a doctor and discuss your feelings
  • Talk to family and friends 
  • Have some time for yourself away from the pressures of work
  • Find some time to relax
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