Fathers can suffer baby blues as much as women
Published 20/05/2010 | 05:00
MANY men suffer from post-natal depression that can be just as debilitating as it is for women, doctors have found.
New research published in the 'Journal of the American Medical Association' suggested that around one in 10 new fathers developed the condition. Symptoms were most common in the first six months after a baby was born.
Men were more likely to have the 'baby blues' if their wife or girlfriend did too.
While there has been a greater effort in recent years to increase the awareness of post-natal depression among new mothers, the plight of men who experience the condition is less well-recognised and more controversial.
Doctors believe that, while men do not undergo the physical changes of pregnancy and labour, the upheaval caused by a new baby or by feelings of apprehension towards fatherhood can contribute to the development of depression.
Estimates of how many women experience the condition range from 10 to 20pc.
Typical symptoms include feeling helpless or extremely anxious about their child.
But the condition is highly variable and can range from mild depression to thoughts of suicide.
Women often describe feelings of guilt that they do not love their child enough.
But too little attention has been paid to depression in new fathers, according to the team behind the research.
Dr James Paulson, from the Eastern Virginia Medical School, who reviewed all the available evidence into male post-natal depression, said too few doctors were aware of how common the condition was.
He said: "More efforts should be made to improve screening and referral." (©Daily Telegraph, London)