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Postpartum Depression in Men

by Rosanne Ullman | July 27, 2016
 Tom Merton for Getty Images
Tom Merton for Getty Images

Guys go through a lot that they don’t talk about and, even though they’re not the ones who give birth, up to 10% of new dads experience postpartum depression, according to research from the Center for Pediatric Research at the Eastern Virginia Medical School. When men are embarrassed and hide their feelings, it only delays the help they need.

 

Additional new research shows that one difference with men is that the depression tends to develop more gradually over the course of the baby’s first year. Men are misdiagnosed for that reason and also because the symptoms come from a pool of issues that mirror any type of depression specifically characteristic of men, according to postpartummen.com:

  • Increased anger and conflict with others
  • Increased use of alcohol or other drugs
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Violent behavior
  • Losing weight without trying
  • Isolation from family and friends
  • Being easily stressed
  • Impulsiveness and taking risks, like reckless driving and extramarital sex
  • Feeling discouraged
  • Increases in complaints about physical problems
  • Ongoing physical symptoms, like headaches, digestion problems or pain
  • Problems with concentration and motivation
  • Loss of interest in work, hobbies and sex
  • Working constantly
  • Frustration or irritability
  • Misuse of prescription medication
  • Increased concerns about productivity and functioning at school or work
  • Fatigue
  • Experiencing conflict between concept of being “manly” and true feelings
  • Thoughts of suicide

In addition to prescribing antidepressants, some doctors offer a somewhat still controversial alternative called Deep Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (Deep TMS). This non-invasive, FDA-cleared technology places a cushioned helmet over a patient’s head and generates brief magnetic fields at an amplitude similar to that used in an MRI. 

 

Whether you’re a man or a woman talking to a doctor about depression, make sure that you report everything going on in your life. Doctors can connect the dots for an accurate diagnosis only when they have all of the facts.

 

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