By Gariane Phillips Gunter, M.D.
Over the past several years, with great help from Brooke Shields and others sharing their stories, postpartum depression in new moms has become well known. However, recent evidence suggests that new dads may be suffering too. A recent study in the May 19th issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association reports that “14% of American men develop depression, either during their partner’s pregnancies or in the first year after delivery”.
Unfortunately, dad’s depression may be overlooked as the symptoms may not present as sadness but as irritability, anger or isolation from their loved ones. Without identification and treatment of dad’s depression, negative outcomes for the new baby and family can occur.
New babies need secure, healthy attachments for their physical and emotional development and these attachments are strained when either parent is suffering from their own depression. If you are a new mom or dad and feel you may be suffering from depression, please talk to your doctor and ask for help.