Traditionally seen as a condition that only affects women, researchers estimate that 4 to 25 percent of men experience postpartum depression (or PPD) in the first two months following childbirth1, and that number increases to 68% over the first five years in fathers around age 252. Younger fathers were more at risk of developing paternal PPD if they lived in the same home as their children.
The scope of paternal PPD is still being studied as initial research used diagnostic criteria for maternal PPD to examine paternal PPD and more accurate tools are still being developed to test and measure symptoms of PPD in men. Thankfully, the range of studies and research has increased in the past few years as scientists work to understand PPD better in both men and women.
Depression symptoms in fathers are often similar to those experienced by women affected by PPD (e.g., general depressive symptoms such as sadness, fatigue, appetite changes, feelings of worthlessness, and/or negative feelings or lack of concern for themselves or the baby) but PPD can often present quite differently in men. Sudden outbursts of anger or irritability, impulsiveness (e.g., drinking too much, overeating, pursuing an affair), and immersing themselves in work can all be signs of PPD. Many men characterize these feelings as experiencing a sudden loss of control of their lives, which can lead to erratic behavior not commonly associated with depression.