Depression is a grave mental disorder that can strike anyone at any time. A recent study highlighted that apart from new or expectant mothers, men are equally susceptible to develop depression during the time when their partners are pregnant or after the birth of the child. The research published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, led by Lisa Underwood, from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, is one of a kind as not many studies have been published that correlate paternal depression with pregnancy.
Dr. Tina Walch, medical director, South Oaks Hospital, Amityville, New York welcomed the study initiative while emphasizing the fact that very little attention has been given to the role of paternal depression that can befall any men. For the purpose of the study, the researchers studied the occurrence of antenatal depression syndrome (ADS, prior to birth) and postnatal depression syndrome (PDS, subsequent to birth) in 3,523 expectant fathers. The average age of the fathers participating in the study was 33 years.
The men were interviewed at two stages, first when their partners were in their third trimester of pregnancy and second, nine months after the delivery of the child. The study found that 82 or 2.3 percent men were afflicted with ADS while their partners were pregnant. On the other hand, more than 150 men, that is approximately 4.3 percent, suffered from elevated PDF, nine months after their partners delivered their child.
High prevalence of paternal PPD
The authors stated that men with poorer health and perceived anxiety disorder were more susceptible to elevated depressive syndrome while their partners were pregnant. In contrast, men were hit by PDS if they were stressed out during their partner’s pregnancy, had average to poor health, were unemployed, were not in an intimate relationship with their partner, and had a history of depression.
The authors concluded that it is important to identify and manage the symptoms of postpartum depression (PPD) for fathers-to-be and new fathers as paternal PPD can have a direct or an indirect influence on the psychological health of a child. Dr. Walch stated that timely identification and treatment of the signs of paternal depression could be important for the health of the family as a whole.
PPD scales up gradually following the first year of childbirth. Emerging body of evidence clearly suggests that paternal PPD is highly prevalent, therefore, focused research and clinical attention in terms of effective identification, prophylaxis and management is necessitated. Underwood was also of the opinion that the most crucial step to prevent paternal PPD would be to disseminate knowledge regarding the risk factors of this among men, who are likely to embrace fatherhood.
Dr. Ami Baxi who supervises the adult inpatient psychiatric services at Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, concurred that the study would direct the much-needed attention to paternal well-being during and after pregnancy, and the importance of keeping expectant and new dads stress-free and healthy.
Help at hand
A harbinger of joy and new expectations, pregnancy is a new phase for a family. However, pregnancy is also known for the range of doubts and insecurities that it throws up for both the parents-to-be. It is natural for the father to feel weighed down in the face of such doubts and the impending responsibilities. Prolonged periods of neglecting one’s feelings can create mental health complications, like depression, later. It is, therefore, essential to identify such symptoms and get the needed support.
If you or your loved one is suffering from any kind of mental health condition that is debilitating the quality of life, it is imperative to seek help before matters get worse. For more information about various depression treatment centers in California, you may contact Sovereign Health. We are equipped to provide innovative and evidence-based therapeutic interventions for the treatment of various mental health disorders. You may contact our 24/7 helpline number 866-973-7164 or chat online with one of our representatives to know about our state-of-the-art mental health centers in California.