Dads get post-natal depression too: study -

Dads get post-natal depression too: study

Most cases go undetected, untreated


One in ten new fathers might suffer from post-natal depression, even though most cases go undetected and untreated, according to U.S. researchers writing in the Journal of the American Medical Association. Still, the rate is lower than in new mothers, the BBC reports. In the study, based on a review of previous medical literature, they found that lack of sleep, new responsibilities, or supporting a spouse with post-natal depression could trigger it in men. New dads are generally happiest in the weeks following the baby’s birth, with depression appearing after three to six months, at which time from 10 to 25 per cent of men had post-natal depression, even though they had not had the hormonal surges of giving birth. Men are far more likely to suffer if their partner is also depressed, they report.

BBC News

Filed under:

Dads get post-natal depression too: study

  1. I dream of a day when all humanity can be diagnosed as depressed. We owe much to the scientists working hard to realize that dream. (But I'm starting to feel sad and listless as I wait, to be honest….)

    • Actually, I find it heartening to know that persons who formally suffered without knowing there was anything wrong with them can now not only be treated but, what is far more beneficial, do not have to endure the psychological agony of shame, guilt, confusion, or some mixture thereof. To twist the famous phrase on incarcerating the innocent, I would rather a healthy person needlessly receive medication than a sick person struggle without it.

      • Why can't we just let the truly sick get the medicine/treatment they need? Overmedication costs the system greatly, and can often do harm with unintended side effects.

        If nearly everyone's diagnosed as clinically depressed, then those who are *really* suffering will simply be stigmatized as unable to live with the disease in the same way many of their peers are able to.

        • I agree with pretty well every word of your most recent post, but the first one has a tone the conveys scepticism as to whether fathers are *really* suffering when they are diagnosed with post-natal depression. I believe it is entirely conceivable that they are, in fact, suffering and do, in fact, require medical treatment.

          The onus is upon the medical community to maintain the resolve to clearly define the illnesses they treat and to rigorously parse the genuinely sick from them merely whiny.

          My issue is with what I interpret as a questioning of the legitimacy of this new category of illness as a whole.

          • "I believe it is entirely conceivable that they are, in fact, suffering and do, in fact, require medical treatment. "

            Or sleep? Maybe we need to consider more community supports for new parents, instead of figuring out what chemical will fix them.

            I'm not saying that there aren't genuine cases of mental illness that we categorize as depression, that need intervention. But the criteria for depression are rather fuzzy, and there's a huge industry dependent on us having as many people classed as depressed as possible.

  2. I knew it was contagious!

    • If Mama's not happy, ain't nobody happy.

      • You got that right, brother.

  3. Is there any behaviour in the world that the medical profession can't come up with a new "syndrome" to treat? (or, more to the point, an excuse for another pathetic "me" focused behaviour)
    Does anybody want to say "just s t f u" to these "depressed" dads. Instead we get more excuses for them to be whiny cry babies instead of adults. A good kick in the butt is the only medication these "dads" need. Hey "dad", life isn't all about you.

    • I'd rather see researchers put more energy into things like anger management and empathy disorders.

    • Agreed, I alway's thought lack of sleep, new responsibilities, supporting a spouse, dirty diapers, etc,etc, was just part of becoming a new husband and father, I never heard of any Dads being depressed, we just did what came natural to us ,we became Husbands and Dads. Besides,, did not do any good to complain, no one listened to us anyway…Because we were Dads. !

  4. The thing about mental health is that it's difficult to objectively determine what constitutes 'healthy'. 100 years ago, women were considered to be vulnerable to 'hysteria' (derived from the Latin word for 'uterus'), gays and lesbians were deemed to be mentally ill, masturbation and oral sex were regarded as evidence of criminal insanity, and doctors would diagnose conditions by measuring the bumps on a patient's scalp.

    We have IQ tests, but no real definition of intelligence. the fact that we are measuring something that cannot be defined does not seem to bother anyone. Nor does the fact that AA and other 12 step groups have a higher recidivism rate than mere chance. Antidepressants frequently cause suicidal ideation-so we are treating depression with something that makes you so much more sad that you want to kill yourself?

    Not to mention the increasingly young ages at which psychiatric medication is now prescribed for. Or the side effects such as cardiac arrest (!) for ADD/ADHD meds given to very young children.

    And what is 'normal' exactly? How would anybody know where the blurry line between 'eccentric' and 'crazy' lay? And why must we all be so eager to choke all human variation out of existence in a never ending quest to be more 'normal'?

    Not to mention the Direct-to-Consumer marketing of prescription meds in the US and New Zealand-which does spill over the border when one consumes media originating in either country. What role does a doctor have when every patient who just broke up with their significant other is demanding Paxil and Prozac?

    I have a very hard time imagining psychiatry and psychology as bona fide sciences. Science by definition is based upon testable hypothesis. And yet, how can one test something so subjective?