Antenatal and postnatal depression symptoms prevalent among men, finds study
Women are not the only ones at risk of depression during pregnancy or after childbirth. A new study by researchers from the University of Auckland, New Zealand, has found that men may also experience symptoms of depression during and after their partners’ pregnancies. The team of researchers collected data from male partners of pregnant women who had participated in an earlier study titled “Growing Up in New Zealand” and were expected to deliver between April 2009 and March 2010.
The study, results of which were published in JAMA Psychiatry on Feb. 15, 2017, examined antenatal and postnatal depression among 3,523 men. It was found that around six percent of men had elevated depression symptoms either during their partners’ pregnancies or within nine months after childbirth.
According to the study’s authors, 2.3 percent of the people surveyed, or 82 men, were affected by antenatal depression symptoms(ADS) during their female partners’ pregnancy, and 4.3 percent, or 153 men, experienced postnatal depression symptoms (PDS) nine months after childbirth.The average age of the male participants was 33 yearswhen they were interviewed in the third trimester of pregnancy.
Perinatal depression among men impacts female partners and children
The researchers analyzed potential causes of both ADS and PDS. In particular, it was found that expectant fathers experienced elevated depression symptoms due to stress as well as poor physical health. After childbirth, elevated depression symptoms were found in men who had
- Experienced stress during their partners’ pregnancy.
- Terminated the relationship with their female partners.
- Experienced depression in the past.
- Average or below-average health.
Past studies have shown that in the U.S., perinatal depression among men ranges from 7 percent to 10 percent. The likelihood of depressed fathers hitting their one-year-old infants was almost three times higher than fathers not suffering from depression. There was a 50 percent lower chance of depressed fathers reading to their children.
Depressed fathers also have a long-term impact on the mental health of children, who are at a greater risk ofdeveloping behavioral problems and being diagnosed with psychiatric disorders in early years. Paternal depressive symptoms also increase the chances of the mother developing depressive symptoms and making the recovery from such a mental state much more difficult.
Men with perinatal depressive symptoms do not seek help
Paternal depression is not as well-known as maternal depression because men do not talk about it or seek help, even when they are stressed. One of the reasons is the perception that seeking help is a sign of weakness. Closely related to this is the fact that men tend to view depression as something which affects women only, leading them to mistakenly believe that the stress they are going through is a normal part of the perinatal process.
There is also a genuine lack of awareness regarding the fact that fathers can experience depressive symptoms. In some cases, fathers may suffer from guilt and shame if they seek treatment at a time when there has been an addition to the family.
Seeking help benefits for not just the partner but the entire family
Authors of the study were not able to establish if there is a causal relationship between depression and poor health. What was abundantly clear is that more care needs to be given to couples since mental health issues in either parent can have a significant impact on the partner as well as on children. As a result, treatment should be sought if there are any symptoms of depression. Moreover, treatment should be viewed as something which benefits the entire family, not just the affected partner.
If you or a loved one is struggling with depression, it is advisable that you seek professional help. The Texas Depression Treatment Help can put you in touch with reputeddepression treatment centers in Texas that offer holistic and evidence-based treatment plans. You can call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-827-0282or chat online with our representatives for further details about depression treatment in Texas.