Helping Men Beat The Baby Blues And Overcome Depression

Do You Have PPND?

pic-ppndBeing a parent is hard. And being a new father of an infant is especially hard. It’s stressful. And conflicts with your partner that arise after a few sleepless nights can make things harder. But PPND is different. It’s a clinical condition.

PPND (Paternal Postnatal Depression) is common condition among men after the birth of a child. Up to 1 in 4 new dads have PPND. Depression, anxiety or other problems with mood can occur anytime during the first year of your child’s life. If you think you might have PPND, please carefully read this page and complete the assessment below.

PPND is a very serious condition. But it’s also a very treatable condition. If left untreated, however, PPND can result in damaging, long-term consequences for yourself, your child, and your family as a whole.

What Puts Me at Risk For PPND?

Unfortunately, we’re really only beginning to understand PPND. One of the things we know the least about is what puts men at risk for PPND. Here are some of the things that research suggests may increase your chances of experiencing PPND:

  • A lack of good sleep
  • Changes in hormones
  • Personal history of depression
  • Poor relationship with spouse
  • Poor relationship with one or both parents
  • Relationship stress – with a partner or with in-laws
  • Excessive stress about becoming a parent or father
  • Nonstandard family (such as being unmarried or a stepfather)
  • Poor social functioning
  • A lack of support from others
  • Economic problems or limited resources
  • A sense of being excluded from the connection between the mother and baby

One thing we do know is that if your partner is depressed, there’s a good chance you are too. Up to half of men whose partners have postpartum depression are depressed themselves.

PPND Assessment

pic-ppnd2The following assessment will help you determine whether you might have PPND. It’s called the Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale – or the EPDS, for short. It is the most widely used assessment for postpartum depression and anxiety. It has been tested and found effective with men.

We recommend that you print out this page and circle your answers. If you prefer, you can CLICK HERE to download the complete self-assessment, with instructions and scoring.

INSTRUCTIONS: Please circle the number of the answer that comes closest to how you have felt in the past week – not just how you feel today.

1.     In the past week I have been able to laugh and see the funny side of things:

0.     As much as I always could
1.     Not quite so much now
2.     Definitely not so much now
3.     Not at all

2.     In the past week I have looked forward with enjoyment to things:

0.     As much as I ever did
1.     Rather less than I used to
2.     Definitely less than I used to
3.     Hardly at all

3.     In the past week I have blamed myself unnecessarily when things went wrong:

3.     Yes, most of the time
2.     Yes, some of the time
1.     Not very often
0.     No, never

4.     In the past week I have been anxious or worried for no good reason:

0.     No, not at all
1.     Hardly ever
2.     Yes, sometimes
3.     Yes, very often

5.     In the last week I have felt scared or panicky for no very good reason:

3.     Yes, quite a lot
2.     Yes, sometimes
1.     No, not much
0.     No, not at all

6.     In the past week things have been getting on top of me:

3.     Yes, most of the time I haven’t been able to cope at all
2.     Yes, sometimes I haven’t been coping as well as usual
1.     No, most of the time I have coped quite well
0.     No, I have been coping as well as ever

7.     In the past week I have been so unhappy that I have difficulty sleeping:

3.     Yes, most of the time
2.     Yes, sometimes
1.     Not very often
0.     No, not at all

8.     In the past week I have felt sad or miserable:

3.     Yes, most of the time
2.     Yes, quite often
1.     Not very often
0.     No, not at all

9.     In the past week I have been so unhappy that I have been crying:

3.     Yes, most of the time
2.     Yes, quite often
1.     Only occasionally
0.     No, never

10.     In the past week the thought of harming myself has occurred to me:

3.     Yes, quite often
2.     Sometimes
1.     Hardly ever
0.     Never

How To Complete Your Assessment

After you’ve answered each of the 10 questions, add together the numbers from each of your responses.

If the total number is 5 to 8, it is likely that you have an anxiety disorder. If the total number is 9 to 10 or more, it is likely that you have depression.

If the total number is five or more, further assessment by a licensed mental health professional is recommended. If any number other than “0” is circled for question 10, you should contact a mental health professional immediately.

The EPDS is an assessment tool and should not take the place of clinical judgment. A comprehensive clinical assessment by a licensed mental health professional should confirm your findings.

An Important Word About The EPDS and Women

If there’s a chance that your partner is depressed, it’s important that she complete the EPDS as well. However, the instructions for completing the EPDS are different for women and men. Please suggest to your partner that she go to The Postpartum Stress Center online (www.postpartumstress.com) to obtain a copy of the EPDS, with specific instructions for women.

Cox, J. L., Holden, J. M., & Sagovsky, R. (1987). Detection of postnatal depression: Development of the 10-item Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale. British Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 782-786.
Goodman, J.H. (2004). Paternal postpartum depression, its relationship to maternal postpartum depression, and implications for family health. Journal of Advanced Nursing. 45: 26-35.
Lane A., Keville R., Morris, M., Kinsella, A., Turner, M., & Barry, S. (1997). Postnatal depression and elation among mothers and their partners: prevalence and predictors.British Journal of Psychiatry. 171: 550-555.
Matthey S, Barnett B, Kavanagh DJ, Howie P (2001). Validation of the Edinburgh postnatal depression scale for men, and comparison of item endorsement with their partners. Journal of Affective Disorders, 64, 175-184.
Matthey S., Barnett B., Ungerer J., Waters B. (2000). Paternal and maternal depressed mood during the transition to parenthood. Journal of Affective Disorders. 60: 75-85.

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