Does fatherhood increase risk for depression?

Fatherhood Depression - LocateADoc.comMothers often get more attention after childbirth and it is easy to understand why. Postpartum disorders are common among mothers. Additionally, the delivery can be physically and emotionally distressful. However, fathers should not be left out of the picture.

The number of males suffering from depression due to fatherhood is noticeably increasing. According to a research published by the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health in April 2013, young fathers have 10% more chances of coming down with paternal depression within the first five years of fatherhood when compared to those who became fathers during their middle adulthood or late-adult life.

What is behind paternal depression?

Paternal depression can affect any man, but probabilities are higher with young fathers and first-time fathers. Although there is no concrete evidence that point out the real root of paternal depression, experts have come up with a list of risk factors. Some of these include:
  • History of Depression
    Men who were diagnosed with depression earlier or have relatives with depressive behavior are more likely to express paternal depression.
  • Psychological changes to parenthood
    Becoming a father forces a man to act like a man. He has to acquire mental skills that would be necessary in raising a child.
  • Lifestyle changes
    Having a child requires a man to adjust his activities. Luxuries may have to be cut down for the baby’s health and education. Activities with friends would be less frequent and sleeping patterns would be adjusted. These are only some of the dramatic changes that could lead to depression, especially if the pregnancy was unplanned.
  • Hormones
    Fathers may experiences hormonal changes too. Testosterone level may drop which could make them more emotional.
  • Low socioeconomic status
    Raising a child could cost a fortune and if the father has a low socioeconomic status, he may feel depressed for not being able to provide the basics for the child.

How is paternal depression managed?

Paternal depression should be treated right away. If left untreated, it can strain the parental and marital relationship, eventually leading to more problems in the home. Here are some ways to manage paternal depression:
  • Seek the support of your wife/partner, family and friends
  • Take a break
  • Enjoy taking care of the baby.
  • Spend quality time with your wife/partner
If depression has become unbearable, it is strongly advised to seek professional treatment. It would be sensible to talk to a doctor in order to avoid problems that severe depression can cause.
Learn more about depression including symptoms, causes, treatment options, types of doctors and doctor reviews in our Depression Resource Guide.


Photo By Ray Dumas [CC-BY-2.0 (]