Signs of depression in dads

How to spot if dad is suffering from post-natal depression

Post-natal depression in dads: Spotting the signs

Dads and depression: Signs and symptoms of post-natal depression in dads

Dads post natal depression 474

It’s widely known that depression and anxiety can affect women during pregnancy and early parenthood, but equally men can also be at risk of post-natal depression?The reality is that up to 1 in 10 new dads can experience signs of depression during pregnancy or after the birth. It is more common in first time dads too.

Causes of depression in new dads

Similar to causes in new mums, new dads can be at risk of post-natal depression if:

  • They are having difficulty adjusting to parenthood
  • The birth was a negative or traumatic experience
  • Changes and increased stress in their relationships
  • The reality of parenthood not meeting their expectations
  • The old classic, lack of sleep
  • Feeling that they have a lack of social and emotional support
  • They have experienced loss and grief issues

Most common time for men to develop post-natal depression

The most common time for dads to show signs of postnatal depression is three to six months after the birth. The symptoms can look a lot like the everyday stresses of having a newborn so similar to mum post-natal depression, can often go undiagnosed.

Symptoms of paternal depression

The symptoms of post-natal depression in men to look out for include:

  • Higher levels of irritability, anxiety and anger
  • Tiredness, headaches and pain
  • Lack of sleep and any changes to sleep patterns
  • Showing signs of being overwhelmed, or an inability to cope
  • Loss of libido
  • A higher tendency of risk taking
  • Signs of withdrawing from the family, often in the form of increased hours of work 
  • Signs of isolation and disconnection from partner, family or friends
  • Noticeable changes in their appetite
  • Possibly an increased use of alcohol or drugs to mask feelings

What to do if you suspect post-natal depression 

If you feel you or your partner need to be assessed for post-natal depression, you should make an appointment with your GP. NHS Choices also offers a depression screening tool you could try. If you’re concerned, see your GP or visit: nhs.uk/conditions/post-natal-depression/.

The first stage is to share honestly how you're feeling with someone. It’s important to remember you're not alone and there is support out there that is available to you.

Signs of depression in dads