One in ten father suffers from postnatal depression.
Reading aloud Not only mothers, but many fathers also suffer from depression during pregnancy or after the birth of a child. The report US researchers after the evaluation of data from a large-scale study. One in ten men has symptoms of depression associated with pregnancy. In the first three to six months after birth, the fathers are particularly at risk. If one parent is affected, the partner's depressive illness is also more common. Left untreated, these postnatal or postpartum depressions can have serious long-term consequences for both the offspring and the whole family. In the period during and after pregnancy, many women feel particularly irritable, exhausted and sad. Ambiguous feelings towards the child are also very common. However, these mood swings usually fade away a few days after delivery. But if they persist for a long time, there is a risk of postpartum depression that needs to be treated professionally. It is estimated that up to 30 percent of mothers contract depression. Although it has long been known that men could also be affected by the disease, the paternal postpartum depression has received little attention so far.

The researchers around James Paulson evaluated for their work the data from 43 international studies with a total of 28, 004 male participants, which were carried out between 1980 and 2009. Result: An average of 10.4 percent of the fathers surveyed suffered from depression during pregnancy and the first year after birth, which is more than twice as many affected as the population average. In the first three to six months after the birth of their child, the fathers were particularly affected - 25.6 percent of them were depressed. American fathers are obviously more vulnerable than fathers from other countries such as the Netherlands, Spain or Australia: 14.1 percent of them fell ill in comparison to the country average of 8.2 percent.

A depression of the parents can have a negative effect on the development of the offspring in the long term. Affected children often have less social skills than children of nondepressive parents and are often behavior-prone. In addition, they appear to be at high risk of being at risk for anxiety disorders, depression and substance abuse. According to the scientists, there is a direct correlation between a maternal depressive illness and a paternal one. In the context of prevention and treatment it is therefore necessary to involve the whole family in the treatment instead of focusing on the individual. Future research should also focus on the interactions of family depression and the effects on the child.

James Paulson (Eastern Virginia Medical School) et al .: JAMA, Vol. 303, No. 19, p. 1961 ddp / Gwydion Brennan ad


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