Causes of paternal postnatal depression

Psychotherapist WIll Courtenay, PhD, explains what the causes of paternal postnatal depression are, when they are most likely to occur, and what men can do to help prevent them
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Causes of paternal postnatal depression

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There are a number of possible causes for postpartum depression in dads. A lack of sleep probably plays a big part. We know that when normal, healthy adults go without good sleep for just one month, they can begin to show clinical signs of depression. So a lack of sleep is probably playing a big part. Hormones may also play a role. Most people, when they think of hormonal changes in child birth, they think of pregnant women and nursing moms, but fathers also go through hormonal changes. And it's a double whammy; not only do our testosterone levels drop, but our estrogen levels go up. So this can really wreak havoc on a man's functioning. That, in combination with the neuro-chemical changes that occur as a result of lack of sleep, combine to create sort of a perfect storm that occurs in that 3 - 6 month window. Some other possible cause of postpartum depression in fathers include a history of depression, anxiety about becoming a father, a rocky relationship with his partner, economic stress, sick or colicky baby, and a lack of social support.

Psychotherapist WIll Courtenay, PhD, explains what the causes of paternal postnatal depression are, when they are most likely to occur, and what men can do to help prevent them

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Will Courtenay, PhD

Psychotherapist

Dr. Will Courtenay, “The Men’s Doc,” is an internationally recognized expert in helping boys, men and fathers, and a psychotherapist, consultant, distinguished author, researcher, keynote speaker, radio host, and consultant to and speaker at schools and universities. His new book is titled Dying To Be Men. The American Psychological Association calls him, “a leading psychologist in the field of masculinity” and Who’s Who in America calls him a “foremost achiever in his field.” As one of the world’s leading innovators in the health of boys and men, he has a documented history of success in shaping and promoting this new field, as well as new perspectives on fatherhood, boyhood, and masculinity. Dr. Courtenay received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley and has served on the clinical faculty in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and the University of California, San Francisco, Medical School. He is the Founding Editor of the International Journal of Men's Health. Dr. Courtenay is a powerful, effective voice about boys and men, heard nationally on radio and television – including CNN, Good Morning America, World News, Fox News, ABC News, NBC News – and seen in print – including NY Times, LA Times, Wall Street Journal, U.S. News & World Report, NPR, Newsweek, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune. Dr. Courtenay is a contributor to Esquire Magazine.

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