What precisely is paternal postnatal depression(PPND)?
Many parents experience increased stress after a baby is born. There are several obstacles to bringing a new baby into your life. These difficulties could include intense emotions and lack of sleep. Doctors advise new mothers to look for signs of depression after giving birth. However, new dads are also very vulnerable to postnatal depression.
According to experts, paternal postnatal depression (PPND) affects 4 to 25 percent of new fathers in the first two months after the baby is born. It is more common in males who have spouses suffering from postnatal depression of the mother.
Symptoms of Paternal Postnatal Depression.
PPND appears to occur later than the mother’s postpartum depression. However, new dads could suffer from depression at any time after their baby is born.
According to experts, the symptoms of PPND are comparable, but not identical, to those of maternal postnatal depression. Maternal postnatal depression is described as a severe depressive episode that begins within four weeks of the birth of a baby. However, no diagnostic criteria have been defined for PPND.
If you have PPND, you may have the following symptoms:
- Feeling hopeless or sad.
- Feeling tired or lazy most of the time.
- Insufficient or unable to face guilt for not being able to cope with the birth of your child.
- Sometimes you may feel that you don’t love your child enough.
- You are abnormally irritated.
- Unusually hungry or not at all hungry.
- Intense feelings of fear or dread, even for minor matters such as being alone in the house with your newborn
You may also have:
- The desire to cry or sob excessively
- Obsessive or unreasonable thoughts that may make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep.
- Intense nightmares.
- Panic attacks occur.
- Making decisions is difficult.
- Obsessive concerns about the health of your child, yourself, or other family members.
- You suspect that you are hurting yourself or your child.
- Suicidal thoughts.
Other signs and symptoms include
- Loss of interest in usual activities.
- When you are anxious, you eat more than when you are hungry.
- Being angry or apathetic towards your child or partner.
- Acquiring new bodily problems, such as constant headaches or stomach pains.
There are other symptoms of PPND as well. If you don’t feel like yourself, it is vital that you get treatment.
What are the causes of paternal postnatal depression?
According to experts, PPND is believed to be caused by a combination of biological and environmental variables.
Biological factors; A woman’s hormone levels fluctuate significantly during pregnancy and after the period. These can cause hormonal changes in the father, such as decreases in levels of; testosterone, estrogen, cortisol, and vasopressin. Levels of prolactin also increased. These alterations may be responsible for the mood swings that predispose males to paternal postnatal depression.
Environmental factors; Emotional and stressful events, such as the birth of a baby, can precipitate depression. The demands of parenthood, such as increased financial responsibilities and changes in lifestyle and relationships, along with lack of sleep, concern for the spouse, as well as increased obligations at home, could cause PPND in a new parent.
New fathers are more likely to suffer from PPND if:
During pregnancy, they have a difficult relationship with their spouse.
Their partner suffers from postnatal depression too.
This is their first experience of fatherhood.
They have a limited income.
A new parent’s personality, socioeconomic position, genetics, and mental health history can all influence his or her risk of developing PPND.
Conditions of Postnatal Depression can lead to?
PPND, like any other type of depression, can lead to other problems. These are some examples:
- Weight loss.
- Weight gain, heart disease, diabetes, and other weight-related health problems.
- Physical discomfort and illness.
- Abuse of alcohol or other substances.
- Anxiety, panic attacks, and social phobia are all symptoms of anxiety.
- Family or marital problems.
- Work or school difficulties.
- Isolation from friends, family and social groups.
- Cutting or eating problems are examples of self-mutilation.
- Premature death due to related ailments in extreme cases.
Furthermore, PPND is an important risk factor for child maltreatment.
What is the treatment for PPND?
Common PPND treatment includes:
To assist you, your doctor may prescribe medications including antidepressants.
Depending on the symptoms, medications such as mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anxiolytics may be needed.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy, for example, can be done alone or with a spouse.
3. Hospitalization or hospital treatment
Inpatient therapy is reserved for severe cases of PPND and other types of depression where you pose an urgent threat to yourself, your spouse, child, or someone else.
4. Home remedies
You can help yourself cope with depression by taking action at home. Consider the following:
Regular exercise can help relieve stress and keep you fit.
- Stick to the treatment plan.
- Find out more about your condition.
- Know what your triggers are.
- Avoid or at least reduce the consumption of alcohol and recreational drugs.
- Make sleep a top priority.
- Maintain an open channel of communication with your spouse.
- Join a PPND support group or talk to fathers who have clearly successful relationships with their partners and children. Share your story and get advice from other fathers.
So, this might seem like a big parenting issue and asking for help can be difficult. However, it is vital to keep moving forward in order to feel better. It is never inappropriate to discuss your mental health with your spouse or an experienced expert.
Remember that you are not alone and can ask for assistance if needed. You can control and even cure your PPND with medical therapy and a strong support system. You can continue to raise a happy and healthy child by maintaining a positive relationship with your new family. Don’t face it alone.