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New dads also suffer post-partum depression

By J. DeVoy

A new study, involving statistical review of 43 prior studies on post-partum depression that included 28,000 adult males and females, has shed new light on this form of depression.  The condition, normally associated with women such as Andrea Yates, who drowned her five children in a bathtub after a lengthy bout with it, generally isn’t associated with men.  But maybe it should be:

Some 10.4% of fathers experience depression during the postpartum period, the analysis showed. In the general population, 4.8% of men are believed depressed at any given point in time, according to government data.

For women, the rate of postpartum depression was estimated at nearly 24%, according to the new analysis, which was published Tuesday in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

While more prevalent in mothers – almost  a quarter of them – the condition affects more than 1 in 10 new fathers as well.  There’s also a difference in how the depression is expressed between the genders.

Men’s postpartum depression may manifest differently than women’s, said Dr. Nolen-Hoeksema. In general, depressed men are more likely to exhibit hostility and even aggression, whereas women who are depressed tend to become sad.

Post-partum depression is treatable.  Through individual-specific remedies including medication, therapy, support groups, improved diet and regular sleep patterns, this depression can be overcome.  Because the condition is so commonly linked to women, though, men may think their mood and behavioral changes after a child’s arrival are part of being a parent, rather than a clinical condition that can be improved.

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