Anxiety in fathers
Whilst the challenges of managing a new baby is likely to bring some level of stress and anxiety in fathers from time to time as you take on new adjustments to your life and an increasing sense of responsibility, generally this will be transient and feelings will pass on their own with time.
If however you are feeling ongoing tension, worry and stress that’s making it difficult to function from day to day, then you may be experiencing anxiety.
Symptoms of postnatal anxiety
Anxiety is the broad term used to refer to a range of conditions which have a number of common symptoms including:
- Feelings of fear and worry which begin to ‘take over’ your thinking
- Feeling irritable, restless, tense or constantly ‘on edge’
- Racing heart/strong pulpatations or a tightening of your chest – sometimes leading to panic attacks
- Reoccurring worrying thoughts such as that you are not a good parent or that something terrible will happen
- Unable to sleep – even when you have the opportunity
- Avoiding situations for fear something bad will happen.
Some people experiencing anxiety feel like they are ‘going crazy’ or ‘losing their mind’. This is because the racing thoughts that keep coming back causing distress are leading to physical and emotional symptoms. This can be made worse if you haven’t been getting enough sleep that can also be interrupted with a new baby.
If you are experiencing a number of these symptoms then you are not alone. Anxiety is the most common type of mental health problem affecting one in five men in their lifetime. This is particularly the case if you have experienced anxiety in the past, although for some this may be the first time that you have experienced anxiety.
It is also very common to experience anxiety and depression at the same time. In fact, in up to 50% of cases these two conditions co-occur. Thankfully the treatments for both conditions are similar and can treat both conditions at the same time.
The range of different types of anxiety disorders can be safely and effectively treated. It is recommended that you seek help for anxiety early – so that you can identify and ‘nip it in the bud’, rather than wait until any worrying thoughts and feelings start to take over.
Getting anxiety under control can improve your quality of life and overall experience of parenthood with your new baby.