Postpartum depression: Equal opportunity mental health issue

Islamabad, October 19 (Newswire): Postpartum depression has long been the domain of women, affecting up to 30 percent of new mothers. Symptoms typically appear in the first twelve months after birth and can range from mild to severe.
Typical factors in postpartum depression are changing hormones, lack of sleep, prior depression, and changes in metabolism.

In the case of men, the triggers are a bit different. While lack of sleep can certainly contribute, so can maternal depression, the financial and emotional stress of a new child, as well as prior bouts with depression.

A meta-analysis on postpartum depression resulted in findings that 1 in 10 men suffer from postpartum depression, usually within the first six months of their newborn’s life. James F. Paulson, Ph.D., and Sharnail D. Bazemore, M.S., of Eastern Virginia Medical School in Norfolk, reviewed data from 43 different studies on paternal postpartum depression.

The studies included over 28,000 men and took place from 1980 to 2009. Their results appeared in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Analysis showed that postpartum depression among males was lowest in the first three months after birth (7.7 percent) but jumped significantly during the three-to-six month period (25.6 percent), something which is also seeing in women. Overall, the rate of paternal postpartum depression was pegged at 10.4 percent.

While the overall rate is significantly lower than maternal postpartum depression, the role hormones play is also significantly less. The authors did suggest that “depression in one parent should prompt clinical attention to the other.”

The time period following birth is an extremely vulnerable and potentially volatile period.