Postpartum depression: Signs to look for in women and men

Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth

In the Victorian era, it was known as melancholia. However, modernity recognizes the feelings of extreme sadness, anxiety and exhaustion accompanying the birth of a child as postpartum depression.

Yet, while such entities as the National Institute of Mental Health maintain, “Postpartum depression is a mood disorder that can affect women after childbirth,” Medical Life Science and an increasing number of health-related experts also refer to the condition as paternal postnatal depression because new fathers can be affected.

In May, reported around 1 in 10 men experiences PPND after the birth of a child.

For women, the condition is often the result of a quick drop in hormones (estrogen and progesterone). NIMH explains, “This leads to chemical changes in her brain that may trigger mood swings.” Plus, mothers often face difficulty recovering from a birth and getting enough rest, especially if breastfeeding. NIMH further informs, “Constant sleep deprivation can lead to physical discomfort and exhaustion, which can contribute to the symptoms of postpartum depression.”

Postnatal depression in men is often due to marital stress and worries over baby bonding and safety. A few common signs of PPND include:
‒ Anger
‒ Irritability
‒ Impulsiveness
‒ Cynicism
‒ Fatigue
‒ Sadness

While postpartum-depressed women and men experience similar emotions, affected men also may exhibit violent behavior and/or desire to work constantly, shared

Help recommended by NIMH for women is the same as for men:
‒ Therapy with a counselor, psychologist, psychiatrist or social worker
‒ Medications such as antidepressants, at least temporarily
Friends, family, churches and support groups can provide emotional outlets, assist with daily tasks and volunteer for nightly feeding shifts so parents can sleep.

However, if postpartum symptoms escalate to thoughts of suicide, NIMH emphatically urges individuals to telephone a physician or call 911 immediately. Also available is the toll-free 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (800-273-8255) or