PHOENIX - Postpartum depression is a serious problem in new mothers who have just had a baby, but a recent study released by the American Medical Association found a staggering increase in the number of men who suffer from postpartum depression.
Most research suggests 1 in 10 dads are affected, but Christina Hibbert, the founder of AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition, says that number is actually 1 in 4 because many dads won't be identified.
Hibbert says the father's depression tends to have an association with mother's depression -- so when moms were more depressed, so were dads. But more research is needed to determine how the two are related.
Postpartum depression may develop more slowly in men than in women, over the course of the child's first year. Depression in fathers can affect not only his relationship with a partner, but also have negative effects on his child's development.
Hibbert says the demands of work, financial worries and caring for a wife and newborn can be very overwhelming and may lead to depression. Lack of sleep also plays a role.
Common symptoms of depression include changes in appetite and/or sleep, sadness, fatigue, lack of interest in things, and suicidal thoughts. Isolation and withdrawal are also common in depressed men and they may experience depression differently than women. Hibbert say they may also feel angry and may resent their non-depressed partner.
Things families can do to help include seeking support through trusted friends and other family members, by talking to them about their experiences and seeking help with a mental health practicioner who understands postpartum depression. Hibbert says some may want to discuss use of antidepressant medications with their health practitioner. She also recommends eating right, exercise and sleep.
For more resources contact the AZ Postpartum Wellness Coalition . It is a way for families to call and get phone support, resources and referral options. The number is 888-434-MOMS (6667) and dads are welcome to call too.
Copyright 2010 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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