Postpartum depression is a serious issue that some moms deal with after they have their babies. It turns out that depression after a child’s birth isn’t limited to the one who gave birth — a new study shows that young dads are at risk for postpartum depression, too.
Young dads at risk of depression
A study tracked 10,623 men for around 20 years who were participating in the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. In particular, depression symptoms were noted, as well as how their lives unfolded — whether they had children and whether they lived in the same home as their kids.
Most of the dads studied did live with their kids, and most reported low symptoms of depression before they had children, and experienced a sharp uptick in depressive symptoms after their kids were born. The research revealed that younger dads, who were around 25 years old, reported a 68 percent increase in depressive symptoms during their child’s first five years of life.
Symptoms of depression
It’s important to recognize these symptoms so treatment can be sought. Depression can affect not only the person himself, but it can hamper the parent-child bond and have many other detrimental consequences, and can lead to neglect or overuse of corporal punishment.
What to look out for
- Persistent feelings of sadness, hopelessness or anxiety
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Less energy, more fatigue
- Sleep pattern changes
- Appetite changes
- Thoughts of suicide
- Irritability, restlessness
Just because someone is a dad, doesn’t mean that he can’t experience postpartum depression. Parenting is hard for moms and dads alike, so don’t ignore the symptoms if you notice them — in yourself, or your partner.
More on postpartum depression
Symptoms of postpartum depression
Mental Health Month: What is postpartum anxiety?
Birth disappointment: When things don’t go as planned