Post-partum depression – in Males?

Males can in fact experience postpartum depression.  If googled, there are articles for pages about the topic, both scholarly articles and opinion articles, however, is it the same postpartum depression that females experience?  By using the same term, there is an inference that it is in fact the same depression problem; a child is born, the mother can become depressed, and/or the father.  However, first what is female postpartum depression?  In summary, a depression caused by emotional, chemical, or lifestyle changes in the females life that influence her mood, state of mind, attitude, desires.  Anything and everything from lack of sleep, to an non supportive partner, to a change in thyroid hormones, can trigger postpartum.  The topic is still widely unknown and each woman can experience it at a different level and for a different reason.

So what is male postpartum depression?  From the blog and reading about it on a postpartum website, male postpartum sees to be more lifestyle focused.  The male may take a while to develop the illness and it may last awhile.  Men tend to hide their emotions and deny any sort of problem.  They may in fact become more angry, tend to step out on their partner into a sexual relationship, and/or use drugs and alcohol more frequently.  There are many more signs, however, those are just a few.

Both are without a doubt a depression illness, however, is it fair to classify them both as postpartum illnesses?  Perhaps, as they both occur postpartum, however, for a mother to feel a lack of connection between her and her baby for a period of a few weeks or months, seems to be quite a different problem than a father being exhausted from the constant crying and late nights and stepping out on the family because of it.  I understand that I am drastically generalizing the illness here, however, the males version seems simply like depression, where the females is directly linked to an overflow of emotion of a baby needing her every moment and chemical levels incredibly out of wack in her system.  There seem to be  different causes of the illnesses, perhaps making them a bit different.

Perhaps my bias has to do with the fact that I am a woman and my feminist side is coming out a bit here, or perhaps it is the cultural misconception that men do not have to “deal” with as much in child birth as a woman does.  Neither are views to base a proper opinion on, however, are true for me.  Male postpartum can be argued to be an illness that is a negative placebo.  It is created and defined in order to help explain the overwhelming feeling a father has when a child is brought into his life.  The added responsibility, added finances, and lack of sleep create a different lifestyle.  With any large adjustment in a persons life comes change, and if the lack of dealing with the change can be labeled as a disorder, it may be easier to claim a health issue than dealing with the problem and creating a healthier environment because of it in stead of a detrimental one.  If a placebo can make someone feel better, as it does, as stated in the video blog, it can also make someone feel worse.  A placebo can be a pill or can be a scapegoat illness.  In this case it may be a loosly phrased illness to define the adjustment period into fatherhood.


Helping Men Beat the Baby Blues and Overcome Depression.

Postpartum Depression.  By Mayo Clinic Staff.

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