Posted by Deborah Pujoue on May 16, 2012
Post-partum depression is most often seen as something that only mothers go through. But that is simply not the case. Even dads can develop the condition. While as much as 15 percent of new mothers develop post-partum depression, 10 percent of men go through it, as well.
Symptoms for post-partum in men are very much like the symptoms that women go through, including mood swings, fatigue, inability to concentrate. And just like in women, the more severe cases include suicidal thoughts and delusions. While women will often get treatment for their condition (taking Prozac, Zoloft or Celexa), men generally don’t because they don’t want to appear weak at a time when they feel like they should appear strong for the mother’s sake.
In his web article on the subject on FoxNews.com, Dr. Keith Ablow writes, “In the men I have treated, the joys of having a new son or daughter have mingled with complex worries about whether they would be able to support larger families, whether they would lose the affection of their wives and whether they would be equal to the daunting task of being role models for their children. For some, becoming fathers seemed to bring them uncomfortably in touch with their own mortality, as they contemplated being survived by their offspring.
“I have noticed a particular vulnerability to postpartum depression in new fathers who had strained or frankly painful relationships with their own dads,” he adds.
As far as treatment for the condition, Ablow writes that psychotherapy is an invaluable tool. He also point out that men may also use prescription medications like Paxil, Zoloft or Prozac. There are also newer technologies that men can rely on called rTMS (repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation), which is approved by the FDA.
I don’t know if I agree with all of the efforts to treat men with post-partum depression with antidepressants since the side effects linked to these drugs far outweigh the benefits in my book. While birth defects like PPHN, cleft palate, spina bifida and other neural tube defects may not be a huge concern for men taking the pills, other side effects may pose a problem. These drugs are also linked to suicidal and aggressive thoughts and behaviors. For the man who is already feeling some of those feelings, drugs that can push him over the edge just don’t seem useful. If that doesn’t convince you, it may help to be reminded that studies also show that antidepressants don’t work any better than placebos at treating depression anyway.