Postpartum Depression in Men
Postpartum depression in men is real and pervasive.
Imagine this! You have waited all your life to have a baby with your loving wife, and when the moment finally arrives, you feel extremely disconnected from the baby.
In other words, you do not want to hold the baby or touch it, let alone do anything that will bond you two together.
As the weeks go by and the baby tries to make a connection with the father, the father backs away or finds an excuse to leave the room and be away.
This is how a typical postpartum depression in new dads looks like as they do not have to indulge in primary maternity duties like feeding and cleaning the baby as naturally as mothers, so their alienation from the baby goes unnoticed and undiagnosed in most cases also from them.
One can only imagine the vast array of factors that affect a male soon after he becomes a new father. Apart from the hormonal changes aside, there is an enormous psychological shift that hits a new father from multiple directions. Some of these factors are:
- Sudden change in the responsibility and expectations
- Financial burden overwhelms
- Depression history
- Lack of sleep due to erratic child sleep patterns
- Lack of emotional support
Signs of postpartum depression and anxiety in men
There is a lot of stigmas attached to paternal postpartum depression. A typical father suffering from postnatal depression would not want to do any parenting activities like nappy cleaning or feeding or helping mother with the baby.
They would immediately come across as bad fathers. But underneath it’s a different storm that is brewing.
Because symptoms and reactions are various from postnatal depression in mothers, the fathers keep suffering from the condition unknowingly in most of the cases.
Some of the signs of postpartum depression and anxiety in men are bouts of alcoholism, substance abuse, physical aggression, and even picking up fights on small, petty matters.
In many cases, if the wife is suffering from depression, the father also eventually picks it up but with altogether different symptoms.
Research also points out that the more profound the bond between a husband and wife, the more likely are the chances for fathers to suffer from some form of depression.
As a supportive spouse in such situations can help alleviate the effects of depression.
Otherwise, the relationship stress, lack of sleep, financial burden, and the experience of fatherhood together can put anyone in a very lonely spot.
Postpartum depression treatment
Treatment for postnatal depression is far and wide, and some are more effective than others. They are:
Supplements like Fish oil, SAMe, L-Theanine, etc.: Fish Oil is an excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, which are incredibly important for mental health.
Of the three types of omega-3 fatty acids VIZ. ALA, EPA, and DHA. Of the three, EPA appears to be the best at fighting depression.
Studies have shown that people who regularly consume fish oil or similar supplements are less likely to be depressed or suffer from bouts of anxiety.
SAMe can be consumed orally or can be injected intravenously. Additional to helping in depression, SAMe is also reported to aid in mental performance and slow the aging process. The ideal dosage varies from 600 mg to 1200 mg daily.
L-Theanine is an amino acid naturally found in beverages like green tea and black tea. It has been reported to provide an array of benefits like better mental focus, better sleep, increased cognition, and aid with depression.
Antidepressants like TCAs, SSRIs, SNRIs: These are the most commonly prescribed antidepressants and, as such, have shown significant evidence to treat depression.
These antidepressants operate by typically blocking the messages to nerve cells in the brain, and instead, they temporarily stall the neurotransmitters to stay in Synapse.
The belief here is to increase the levels of neurotransmitters to aid in better nerve strength to further help in regulating mood.
Such counselors are professionals trained in understanding a patient’s current condition by asking a wide array of questions and then provide notes and inputs that help the patients in dealing with inner negativity and instead drive the focus on positive aspects of life.
Therapies like dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), multimodal, rational emotive.
There are various therapies like DBT, which have shown good evidence in treating depressed patient’s health. Typically, in DBT, there are three settings:
- A classroom set up where the patient is taken through behavioral skills and role-playing to help in ways of interacting with people.
- Phone-based therapy aids patients in current situations that are otherwise difficult for the patient to deal with on their own.
- Individual sessions where the learned skills are put in real-life scenarios.
In multimodal therapy, the specific focus is put on the correction of feelings and thoughts that are harmful to the patient’s physical and mental health. These feelings include Negative thoughts, irrational beliefs, negative imaginations, and any mental hallucinations.
In treating this, the professionals often rely on portraying imaginations, which are rewarding for the patient in times to come and situations to encounter and thus lessening the negativity associated with these dealings.
In rational-emotive, the patient is asked and taught to challenge all or any negative thoughts that come in their mental processing. This therapy makes the patient understand how unhealthy thoughts can be detrimental to their situation and interfere in their otherwise healthy to a happy life.
5. Lifestyle changes
There are specific lifestyle changes that pull out a male from depression. Starting with regular exercise, which aids in producing natural antidepressants and offers benefits like reducing stress, improve mood, and provide better sleep at night.
This will also help in weight loss, which, together with the right diet, enhances the patient’s self-esteem.
As part of the regime, regular meditation sessions go a long way. Things like deep breathing, mentally repeating a chant, or focusing on positive thoughts for a specific time duration daily can alleviate stress and depression.
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