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Shoshana Bennett: When Fathers Get Postpartum Depression

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Fathers with postpartum depression (PPD) have symptoms that are often different from the fluctuating moods and emotions that moms with PPD exhibit. As a rule, fathers have more tension and short-temperedness along with fear, anger, frustration, and helplessness. Dads with PPD are
concerned about their partners, their disrupted family life, and financial problems. They have increased expectations for themselves, decreased sleep, confusion over their new role, and increased responsibilities (especially if the mom has PPD).

The strongest predictor of a father becoming depressed is the presence of PPD in the mother. If she is affected, he has between a 24 to 50 percent chance of developing PPD. He's also high risk if he has a personal history of depression, or if the relationship is unstable. The onset of PPD in dads often occurs later than in moms. If he doesn't get help for himself, as the mom with PPD gets better he can become depressed, since he's been holding
everything up as the pillar.

When dads suffer from PPD, their baby boys are especially affected. These boys have been found to have twice as many behavioral problems in their first few years as children without depressed fathers. While working with moms, I often suggest that their partners accompany them
to a therapy session. I check in with the partners to make sure they're receiving the support they need too.

Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D. "Dr. Shosh"
Author, Postpartum Depression For Dummies

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