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The Pediatric Forum
February 2005

Mental Illness in Fathers

Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med. 2005;159(2):195-197. doi:10.1001/archpedi.159.2.197-b

I sincerely hope there will be further studies into the effects on children in a household with a mentally “ill” father and a mentally “stable” mother. Such situations do exist, although they may be more difficult both to locate and to study because men are far less likely than women to seek help for their condition.

Additionally, serotonin levels, which are implicated in depression, may affect men differently than women. In studies, male mice with low levels of serotonin behave aggressively, whereas female mice with low levels of serotonin do not. As a woman living with a husband with bipolar disorder, personal experience has proven aggression is a far better indication of male-pattern depression than the more typical symptoms of depression present in women.

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