December 11, 2023

Men with a history of taking antidepressants are significantly more likely to need antidepressants in the first year after giving birth, a new study finds.

Depression affects many people around the world. Postpartum depression is a well-known condition that affects women, but how does having a baby affect a new dad’s mental health? A new study by researchers at UCL seeks to answer this question. To their knowledge, this is the first study of antidepressant treatment in new fathers and a group of childless men.

“Often after a baby is born, the focus is often on the health of the mother and the baby,” said lead author Holly Smith of the study. “However, we need to improve our understanding of new dads and how they discuss mental health issues with them.” Research to make sure new dads get the care they need, too.”

Using the UK primary care database IQVIA Medical Research Data (IMRD), the researchers identified 90,736 men aged 15 to 55 who had recorded births in the previous year, and 453,632 men without birth records (the control group). ). child.

The men were followed for 12 months and were considered antidepressant-medicated if they took antidepressant medication during that time. Antidepressants include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), tricyclic and related antidepressants, monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs), and atypical antidepressants such as mirtazapine.

Antidepressant history was categorized into recent treatment (one year before delivery), previous treatment (two years before) and no treatment. If a person has received treatment both previously and recently, they are classified as having received recent treatment only.

While the researchers found no difference in antidepressant treatment between the two groups, they found that new fathers with a history of antidepressant treatment were more than 30 times more likely to need treatment again.

“Our findings suggest that the relationship between depression and fatherhood is complex, with prior antidepressant treatment being a key determinant associated with antidepressant use within a year of having a child,” Smith said. “This may Is it because these men are continuing treatment before having children, or these men may be more likely to experience depression again, which may be exacerbated by the challenges of having children.”

The researchers found that, in addition to prior antidepressant use, social deprivation was a key factor in prescribing antidepressants to new dads. They measured social deprivation using the Townsend Deprivation Index, a measure of material deprivation that includes four variables: unemployment, non-car ownership, non-home ownership, and household overcrowding.

They found that new fathers living in the most deprived areas had an 18 percent increased risk of receiving antidepressant medication compared with fathers living in the most deprived areas.

A limitation of their study, the researchers note, is that they focused on men taking antidepressants but did not examine them for symptoms or a diagnosis of depression. Still, they say their findings suggest that men with a history of antidepressant treatment should have a mental health checkup in the first year after giving birth.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Network Open.

source: University College London