NEW YORK (PIX11) — Many of us have heard of postpartum depression among women. But did you know that men deal with the health problem, too?
A recent study and the American Medical Association estimate that about 10% of dads are confronted with it. Psychologist Dan Singley of the Center for Men’s Excellence in San Diego said people don’t hear much about it because it’s often just associated with women.
Singley also said it likely isn’t talked about as much due to the stigma against acknowledging or discussing mental health struggles. Symptoms include not only depression, but also anxiety, stress, and obsessive compulsive disorder. Symptoms also don’t always manifest as typical “sadness,” but as irritation, withdrawal, isolation, and increased drug or alcohol consumption, Singley added.
There is a biological component in men that changes after the birth of their babies, according to Singley. Factors also include the state of the relationship between the parents and whether they have a preexisting history of depression or anxiety.
He also said men can experience symptoms during pregnancy as well as after birth. One way to start trying to address treatment is by asking questions and see how new fathers are really doing. There are also support groups and resources available, including Postpartum Support International.
Singley hosts telephone chats for dads who want to discuss everything. Psychotherapy, support groups and medications are also an option, he added. “Don’t just ignore it,” Singley said. “If you’re struggling or suffering, it’s not your fault.”