Depression and Anxiety in Fathers

Updated: Sep 25, 2020

Over the last few decades the idea that people can suffer from depression and anxiety has become increasingly accepted and today is considered as a common condition.


Most of us are aware that mothers can suffer from perinatal and/or postpartum depression. However it is only more recently that we have come to admittedly recognise that men too can suffer from these conditions. We are finally beginning to allow for awareness of depression associated with fatherhood. Yes indeed, dads can also suffer from anxiety and/or depression!


Depression and anxiety are not one of those obvious clear-cut matters. In fact neither is their intercorrelation. For instance many doctors will try treat anxiety as a result of depression. However, one who has general anxiety disorder or certain other phobias that cause them anxiety can in fact experience depression as a result of this, rather than the cause.


Someone who feels depressed can slowly develop anxieties and fears but also and perhaps more so, somebody who is generally happy but experiences various anxieties can and often will start feeling depressed as a result. Whether these anxieties or fears restrict them from freely being themselves and/or accomplishing goals and tasks, or just creates an ongoing build-up of stress.


So back to fatherhood. Why on earth would a man, a father, a daddy, feel depressed or experience anxiety? Well, so many reasons. Here is a brief list*:


· Difficulty developing an attachment with the baby

· Lack of a good male role model

· Lack of social support or help from family and friends

· Changes in marital relationship, such as a partner's lack of intimacy

· Feeling excluded and jealous over mother-child bonding

· Lack of rewards in parenting

· Maternal depression

· Financial and work stress

· Low testosterone


In my opinion the key and most common causes are:


· Financial and work stress

· Lack of intimacy (sexual frustration)

· Health issues

· Marital stress


Do any of these sound familiar? Even if you do not actually suffer from clinical depression or crippling anxiety, I am sure the answer is yes. Well daddy warriors, listen up!


It is okay to feel sad, concerned, worried, afraid or anxious. It is okay to feel many of these, some or all of these. We are human beings and these are part of the struggles of life. The important thing is how to deal with them. And unfortunately this is where the problem lies for most men. There is a notion that we should be unbreakable and carry the load of life without tilting but that would make us divine and not human. So instead of expressing ourselves or seeking help, we very often result to self-medicating (addictions such as alcohol abuse) or we allow anger and misery to rule our lives. And very often both!


I have personally struggled with various of these and have come to realise that I do not deserve to allow myself to be victim to my circumstances. We can take control of our lives and here are a few ways of how to do so:


· Dealing with addiction

· Coping with feelings of depression

· Relieving stress

· Resolving anxiety

· Improving our relationship and/or marriage

· Anger management




* Source:

https://www.healthychildren.org/English/ages-stages/prenatal/delivery-beyond/Pages/Dads-Can-Get-Postpartum-Depression-Too.aspx

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