If you know a new dad, could he be depressed?
According to a story from United Press International, researchers at Northwestern University have found that depression symptoms in men increased significantly during the first five years of fatherhood.
Most studies on postpartum depression have focused on mothers and their children, but this research specifically looked at the way it impacts younger fathers.
Craig Garfield, the lead author of the new study, says “It’s not just new moms who need to be screened for depression, dads are at risk, too,”
Dr. Garfield points out that depression in parents has a detrimental effect on kids, especially during those critical early years of parent-infant attachment.
He says “We need to do a better job of helping young dads transition through that time period.”
Previous studies have shown fathers struggling with depression are less apt to read to their kids or spend time with them. Children with depressed dads are also more likely to have trouble with language and reading development. They also have a higher tendency to misbehave.
Garfield hopes the new research will lead to earlier and more successful treatment for new dads who may be at increased risk of clinical depression in the first several years of fatherhood.
He says “This is a wakeup call for anyone who knows a young man who has recently become a new father. If he is feeling extreme anxiety or blues, or not able to enjoy things in life as he previously did, encourage him to get help.”
You can learn more about this study by going to aap.org and entering “depressed dads” in the search engine.
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