September 6th, 2010
04:00 PM ET

Don't dismiss dads' depression, researchers urge

Bringing home baby can lead to depression in as many as one-fifth of fathers during the first year of the baby's life, according to a study published Monday in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.

While the new study echoed the well-documented notion that mothers have a greater likelihood of developing postpartum depression than men due to hormonal changes during pregnancy, researchers warn against dismissing the risk for fathers.

“There is so much focus on the mother’s mental state after giving birth but doctors should consider the family as a whole unit,” notes Dr. Irwin Nazareth, study author and Professor Primary Care at University College London. “It is essential to add the father in the equation to properly see the whole issue and look at what the individual and combined effect is.”

A study earlier this year had estimated that depression occurred in about 10 percent of new fathers and suggested a link to mothers' depression.

Changes in environment contribute to depression seen in men. Those at highest risk are fathers 24 years of age and younger and those with previous history of depression, according to the study.

“There is often a shift in the personal relationship between the parents, also more demand in responsibility and changes to sleep schedule that can lead to depression among fathers,” added Nazareth.

Researchers hope this study will raise awareness about depression among fathers and encourage them to discuss the topic with their families and physicians.

Symptoms typically last more than two weeks and include excessive tiredness, feelings of  isolation and having no interest to engage with new baby.  Treatment includes counseling and/or antidepressant therapy.

soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Scott

    So *this* is why I cried during Toy Story 3.

    September 6, 2010 at 16:41 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Michael Schulze

      Before they were going into the pit of flames, I know... Buck up dude, you would have had to of had a heart of stone to have been immune to that.

      September 7, 2010 at 12:47 | Report abuse |
  2. Up AllNight

    Do like I did – wait till the kids are old enough to be a little independant (*early teens*) and then suprise your wife by rolling in on a new Ducati; she'll be mad at first, and even though she won't admit it, she loves seeing you in your leathers! LOL

    September 6, 2010 at 18:01 | Report abuse | Reply
    • DucSea

      Mine was custom Monster 900S 🙂 You right. She got over it.

      September 6, 2010 at 19:30 | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      VFR800 for me, but it led to our second!

      September 7, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse |
  3. eeyore

    Are all men morons, or just you two? Depression is a real disease; your stupid jokes making light of it are part of the problem. Men don't like to admit they're depressed because some ignorant bonehead is sure to ridicule them.

    September 6, 2010 at 18:24 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Monty

      and asking if all men are morons and talking about how we are "boneheads" doesn't do anything for our supposive depression issues... and we don't talk about depression issues because of the sterio type that women throw at us that we are the over all strong ones and if we start talking about depression 98% of women will tell us to stop being such a baby and grow up

      September 7, 2010 at 00:34 | Report abuse |
    • Michael Schulze

      All women yearn for a fair universe, which it is not, so you can't appreciate the complexity of someone unexplectidly getting kicked in the crotch; largely the reason why most are not funny. I find that much of male depression stems from nasty uptight females like yourself. If you would like help, leave us our joys (which after a couple of years of marrige, are likely not you).

      September 7, 2010 at 12:54 | Report abuse |
  4. nonesuch

    She "got over it"? Nice. I hope you get over paying alimony and child support, jerk.

    September 6, 2010 at 19:59 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jon

      Stop wihning, you 've never even met the individual you are yelling at....

      September 7, 2010 at 08:53 | Report abuse |
  5. Namewithheld

    kiss it you two old cat ladies......

    September 6, 2010 at 23:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Steve

    A nation of spiraling single motherhood, and for the men who choose to stay for the baby, a future of undiagnosed and unacknowledged mental health issues. It must be personal issues, there cannot be anything wrong with our society! God Bless America.

    September 6, 2010 at 23:59 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Norm

    I have depression and still struggle with it even thought I have a loving wife and 2 kids. The key is not that everyone acknowledges it, but that the father does. Men are taught (or at least I was) that daddy has to be strong and perfect and, typically silent: suck it up! Be a man! But you can crack under it. Men have to be willing, even if only to their therapist, to be hinest and scared and vulnerable.

    September 7, 2010 at 01:11 | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Maverick

    A colleague of mine read this story and said, "That's a load of bull****. Men don't have depression; men are just babies." What made it sad was two other women agreed. What makes it sadder is that they are also nurses. Many women refuse to acknowlege that men are victims of depression, anxiety disorders, domestic violence, and so many other things that are considered "women's issues". It's time to come out of the dark ages and understand that men are vulnerable to stresses and need help as well.

    September 7, 2010 at 08:45 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Fred Evil

      Very true. After all, where do all of these family murder-suicides come from? Men that are just lazy? Nope, they are usually good men pushed too far.

      September 7, 2010 at 12:26 | Report abuse |
    • DP

      You work in a negative environment. I'm a woman and I can't work around women who are always dogging on people.

      September 7, 2010 at 19:02 | Report abuse |
  9. luke

    why dont we head on over to mamby pamby land and get some self confidence for you,you jack wagon

    September 7, 2010 at 08:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Lilith

      LOL! – I've been seeing that commercial too – guess not everyone has.
      Depression is anger turned inward, among other things – and I suppose fear of not living up to the expectations of society, wife and self can become "anger" that evolves into depression.
      Just a thought

      September 7, 2010 at 20:42 | Report abuse |
  10. trainman

    "mamby pamby land," huh? That sounds like gross ignorance (but then again, it's the empty oil drum that makes the most noise).

    Depression is a medical illness. Like diabetes, there's usually a chemical imbalance at work, but it's in the brain chemistry, not blood sugar. Like diabetes, with proper treatment most people can live and function well, but without that treatment it can be life-threatening.

    Macho morons who toss out stupid insults and perpetuate the "just suck it up" stuff make it more likely that men who need treatment won't get it. This just creates more suffering for those men, and their families. Would you tell someone with a broken arm not to get it fixed?

    September 7, 2010 at 10:14 | Report abuse | Reply
    • me

      Dude, you need to watch more tv. that quote of his was from a GEICO commercial. "Can a ex drill sargeant make a good therapist?" Then the commercial goes on into mamby pamby land. IT's freaking funny! But as someone who deals with mild depression i agree that men need the same help that women get without the name calling when a guy seeks a little help. I've told many guys to pull up their skirts when things arent going that great but when you see them 2 months later and its the same problem, then you know something more is wrong and maybe they need someone to talk to.

      September 7, 2010 at 12:19 | Report abuse |
  11. beth

    it is ignorant to think that depression only effects one gender. when my husband starts feeling depressed, he knows he can come to me to find comfort and strength. isnt that what marriage is supposed to be about? not.. "suck it up, you're a man! don't be a baby!" for god sakes, they're human beings too!

    maybe this is why so many marriages are failing these days.

    September 7, 2010 at 10:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  12. scroo yoo

    After reading the comments I realize exactly why I am single.I remember going through the hardest part of my life when I was with a girl I cared very deeply about,and Instead of getting back the same support and stability I put into this relationship with helping her with her problems,I got a bunch of lip and ditched so she could hang out with her friends.I think I used to be a more sensitive and all around nicer person,now whenever I hear any type of criticism or complaint I just leave.

    I just dont have the energy to help out someone with their life If they cant give me the slightest moral support.Id rather be alone

    September 7, 2010 at 10:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Kidz

    Id be depressed too if the next 20 years of my life were lost and/or wasted.

    September 7, 2010 at 11:09 | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Summer Vacation's Over

    kids may be ok for some folks but I havent been depressed but if I had unplanned kids, Im sure Id start getting depressed on a regular basis too

    September 7, 2010 at 11:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  15. HeyHey

    In our pink & squishy, touchy-feely world of power feminism, who cares what happens to a man, what men think or what they go through? Hello, Oprah?

    September 7, 2010 at 12:24 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. The Watcher

    Our hormones have been so seriously damaged by chemicals, drugs, etc., it's a wonder any of us can function well enough to have kids in the first place. If you have children and are feeling depressed, know that you are not alone. Yes, there is much to be sad about, but you will find that children can bring much happiness into your life. No matter how difficult things get, they will always make you feel needed and loved.

    September 7, 2010 at 12:57 | Report abuse | Reply
  17. Snoman

    I'm not surprised men become depressed. They suddenly realize they will no longer be the focus of this relationship for one thing. Baby will get the goodies first, then him, if there is anything left. And, he's expected to buck-up, be a man, be happy about something he's not always happy about. Men don't share the no. ! spot easily. He will eventually find substitutions for this, but it's very difficult at first. Please, please, please ladies and gentlemen, think about these things before you make that baby.

    September 7, 2010 at 13:07 | Report abuse | Reply
  18. Someone

    I am pretty sure most cases of depression are just complete idiots. I know some depression is completely physical in the brain and needs to be treated. I believe this to be the minority though.

    September 7, 2010 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FatSean

      Kinda like Fatties and people who suck at math.

      September 7, 2010 at 16:32 | Report abuse |
    • someoneElse

      Absolutely. Most fatties are fat because they are weak and lazy. They try to tell themselves better, but they're just idiots. Very few fatties can blame it on hormones or genetics (I am talking fat, not overweight). As for math, maybe you should explain that better cause it just doesn't fit.

      September 7, 2010 at 18:51 | Report abuse |
    • Stephanie Rand

      I think your reply is ignorant and stupid. It is people like you that cause men to keep silent about depression. Shame on you for perpetuating the negative stigma!

      September 8, 2010 at 00:02 | Report abuse |
  19. Don

    Oh, CNN comments section... why must it always be battle of the s3xes?

    (some) Guys, stop trying to sound manly and say you're bored of your wives after a few years. If you actually are, you were an idiot for getting married. The same for saying that other guys don't actually depressed. Chances are you're trying to look big in front of the other annons on the board. Come on. Insulting other people or their problems isn't going to make them any more sympathetic to your own issues.

    (some) Ladies, jokes are one of the ways guys cope. Some of them also think it's manly to mock others openly at any given chance, so long as no consequences are on the horizon. Just ignore it. It doesn't change the fact that male depression, including post-partum depression, is real, serious, and isn't just your man being a 'sissie.'

    September 7, 2010 at 13:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. Alan

    I'm A 39 year old new father. I was firmly entrenched and loving the bachelor life. I found a serious girlfriend, she got pregnant after 6 months or so of dating. We shacked up immediately mostly at her request. About 6-months after our daughter was born, I started getting depression symptoms. I saw 3 different doctors before I believed and accepted their diagnosis. I couldn't believe I went from ecstatic bachelor to depressed in less than a year. I had never had depression symptoms prior. In my case, the anti-depressants made me feel somewhat better, but I'm still not back to normal 14 months later. The sadness isn't so much the worst part as is most associated with depression, it's the constant feeling of being in a mental fog. The hobbies you loved before are just marginally fun now and focusing in and being mentally sharp is very hard most of the time. Guys out there in the same boat, I feel for you. Stay strong and optimistic.

    September 7, 2010 at 14:02 | Report abuse | Reply
  21. John

    There is a cure – take 3 doses of man and deal with it.

    September 7, 2010 at 14:17 | Report abuse | Reply
    • John

      Nice. Your reply typifies the societal expectations of men with regard to child rearing. And I ultimately agree that "sucking it up" is the only viable option in American society. No one really cares if new fathers have a hard time adjusting to the often complete loss of self resulting from supporting a newborn/mother. The father must continue his duties to the job, to the other children, to the wife, and general household upkeep, all while maintaining the smiling non-chalant mask merited by his manhood. What a crock of S___. Personally, I'm running around like a servant to everyone else, and I feel horrible if I utter a complaint, both from the condenation of my hyper-macho peers and my personal guilt from acting "selfishly" when I should be the ironman in support of my family. Further, I disagree with the article's suggestion that counseling or antidepressants are viable options. Counseling generates more feelings of ineptitude and antidepressants only cover the truth of the pain. It sucks and it's not right, but sucking it up until the kids get older is the only real option.

      September 7, 2010 at 14:37 | Report abuse |
  22. Shecky

    A lot of women totally ignore their husbands once they have a baby. So I could see how men would get depressed. Cure: Have an affair, LOL!

    September 7, 2010 at 17:03 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. MartyK

    Looks like psychiatrists (who admittedly can't diagnose or cure any mental illness) and BigPharma (who profit from using these incompetents as drug sales reps) are cooking up a new market to target for addiction. Make no mistake. This is fraud in the making. I shouldn't be so condemnatory of all psychiatrists. I have run across a couple who actually don't drink this brand of Kool-aid. Here's an article from one of them: http://organicconnectmag.com/wp/2010/08/is-your-medication-robbing-you-of-nutrients/

    September 7, 2010 at 18:08 | Report abuse | Reply
  24. Alan

    How about 3 doses of my fist through your teeth?

    September 7, 2010 at 18:42 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Stephanie Rand

      John, your an @$$hole who obviously didn't get enough love from his Father or you wouldn't have such a need to be so macho. Shecky, your just a total F-ck stick. My husband had serious depression after the birth of our daughter – not because he wasn't a MAN or because he's a totally P-ss or because he wasn't the center of my world – it's because being a parent is HARD and some people come it easier than others. Jesus – how narrow mined can you be? I pray that none of you have a loved one who goes through something like this. It's horrible to watch someone you love not able to enjoy their life and know it. Grow up.

      September 8, 2010 at 00:06 | Report abuse |
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