Male Post-Partum Depression

The phenomenon of postpartum depression in males is not a very well known condition, especially not as much as postpartum depression in females. However it does occur, and the experience can be just as bad, if not worse. Postpartum depression is moderate to severe depression felt by mostly women (men in this case) after giving birth. It can occur from birth to up to a year after birth. Although it is a well known illness for women, the symptoms are a bit different for men, as described in the postpartum progress blog from this week’s materials. As postpartum depression sufferer Craig Mullins states, these symptoms aren’t what you typically think of when you think of depression, but are uniquely male. These include “cynicism, impulsiveness, indecisiveness, working constantly and losing interest in sex.” With culture associating postpartum depression with women and the atypical effects of men’s, many health practitioners often leave it undiagnosed or misdiagnosed. It seems that many men have lived with this condition without even knowing it, or just not doing anything about it since their female partners more than likely are suffering from postpartum depression as well, and they feel that they need to be strong for them. According to the article, post partum depression in males is treatable. Most men respond well to counseling and antidepressants.

Although the article doesn’t discuss placebo effects occurring with postpartum depression in males, I believe the connection between belief and healing is very strong. As discussed in this week’s lecture, the placebo effect is a well known phenomenon that can only be explained through the power of the mind. For example, when people take pills that they associate with treatment, they believe that they are taking action to heal themselves, and then it occurs. While placebos have no biomedical therapeutic effects, simply believing they do has helped many people.

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  1. Falicia Captain says:

    Prior to reading the article “Depression In Men: A Dad’s Story of Male Postpartum Depression”, I was completely unaware of male postpartum depression. I had heard of the illness among women after giving birth, but never associated with males. I had understood postpartum depression as an illness that affects a new mother due to the new stress and anxiety when caring for a newborn. Just like normal depression, I had assumed therapy and/or antidepressants would help new mothers overcome postpartum depression. Now that I have gone through the course materials, I can see how family, friends as well as social institutions have influenced my personal perceptions of many illnesses, including postpartum depression. In American culture, we have stereotypical gender roles of how a man and a woman should behave. For women, it is acceptable to be emotional and express those emotions when they are felt, however men are expected to be emotionally strong and never show sensitive emotions or they are viewed as weak. From these cultural and societal norms, friends, family and myself accept the illness of postpartum depression among women but are completely unfamiliar when it comes to the same illness with males. The ideas, beliefs and practices of society often shape the way we individually perceive illnesses.

    “Depression In Men: A Dad’s Story of Male Postpartum Depression.” postpartum depression. (accessed July 26, 2014).

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