New mothers are not the only ones who can experience postpartum depression

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The baby blues are no joke for some new parents and it's not just moms who struggle with postpartum depression-- dads are also at risk. (KFSN)

The baby blues are no joke for some new parents and it's not just moms who struggle with postpartum depression-- dads are also at risk.

Craig Mullins was determined to be a great dad, but his beautiful new baby screamed so much, that one night, he found himself typing into his computer 'I hate my baby'.

"I just started typing in these thoughts, these emotions I had, and it came up, postpartum depression in men."

Postpartum depression in men is also referred to as paternal postpartum depression. But no matter what you call it, a newly released report finds a shocking number of men suffer the condition once thought reserved for new moms.

"We see rates of postpartum depression in fathers anywhere from four percent to 25-percent," said Dr. Kathleen Biebel, University of Massachusetts Professor.

Dr. Biebel, who co-authored the report, said that number, and the fact that it exists at all in men, surprises many people.

"It's really something that's just not talked about."

Symptoms for dads are similar to those for moms, like an inability to concentrate or loss of interest in daily activities.

"Those may be around impulsivity, or irritability, avoidant behavior," said Dr. Biebel.

"I couldn't wait to go to work, and I never wanted to be like that as a dad," said Mullins.

Doctors said it is more likely in men who have a history of depression and there's another predictor.

"Twenty-five to 50-percent of men who are living with partners who have postpartum depression also develop postpartum depression themselves," said Dr. Biebel.

But researchers said men are less likely to seek help than women sufferers for a variety of reasons.

"They feel that they're going to be made fun of, and they actually have been made fun of and people say basically, 'Suck it up, quit complaining, take care of your wife and be a man' and that's a really hurtful thing to say," said Armin Brott, Mr. Dad.

Now, there are groups dedicated to dads with postpartum depression.

Mullins, who also happens to be a professional counselor, spends time helping other dads who just want to get back to loving their families.

"You're not crazy. You're not a bad father. You're not a bad husband."

Doctors would like to see screening efforts widened for men suffering from depression in the year after a baby is brought into the home. They believe future research should focus on understanding the unique characteristics of men living with paternal postpartum.
Related Topics:
healthdepressionparenting
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