While depression affects both genders, depression in men can have significant ramifications if ignored, especially major depression. While women are nearly twice as likely to suffer from depression than men, men are nearly four times as likely to commit suicide than women.
The symptoms however, are almost the same in both sexes, which each sex having a tendency to display certain signs of depression. Even with their tendencies, no symptom of depression should be ignored. Depression is serious, yet a treatable illness that is caused by numerous factors. This mental disorder can strike anyone regardless of age. In 2007, suicide was the seventh leading cause of death for American males. Men in particular should understand which symptoms they need to be aware of and what they can do in order to properly deal with them.
Men tend to feel irritable, frustrated and angry when dealing with depression. Most men are conditioned to not to say anything rather than saying that they are feeling ‘low’. However, it is important for friends, family and co-workers to recognize the mood of men, as they may not be willing to properly express it.
Another reason why it is difficult to detect depression in men is that they may not want to seem weak. Men tend to deny their feelings of depression because they want to show everyone that they are strong. They think that expressing problems is more like a feminine trait. Because of this reason, they talk more about physical symptoms of depression rather than sharing their emotions, feelings and sentiments with anyone. They even try to hide their depression by isolating themselves. Untreated depression, over time, can be very harmful.
Someone suffering from major depression runs the risk of eventually hurting themselves or others. It can take its toll not just on the individual suffering with the illness but on family members and loved ones as well.
Symptoms of Depression In Men
As stated, men may exhibit any of the symptoms of depression, but some of the more common symptoms exhibited by men may include:
- Self destructive and risk behaviors such as: alcohol or drug abuse, gambling addictions, rampant unprotected sexual encounters
- Burying themselves in work, staying at the office or workplace longer than usual
- Feeling frustrated, irritable and angry. Short temper with a “quick fuse” which may lead to violent behavior
- Increase in the number of physical complaints, aches and pains
- Reckless and careless driving
- Loss of interest in normal hobbies or activities including sex
- Disruption of normal sleep habits
- Change in appetite with weight loss or weight gain
Men face these symptoms when they are depressed, however, the cause of depression in men should be also considered. Factors that may normally contribute to depression in men are social isolation, relationship issues, employment problem, using drugs and alcohol and health problem. Treatment options can significantly help men learn how to successfully deal with their depression.
Treating Depression in Men
Unfortunately, the stigma attached to depression makes it difficult for some men to admit that they have a problem and that they should reach out for help and seek treatment. Depression treatment is a lot more successful and takes a shorter amount of time if the patient realizes that they have a problem and makes a choice to get better and is a willing participant in their treatment. Men sometimes may be reluctant and may resist the notion that there is something not right with them, thus hampering the healing process.
Today, the most popular way to treat depression is with antidepressants, psychotherapy or some combination of both with some estimates of 80% effectiveness with these methods.
Antidepressants work in the brain to try and raise levels of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters believed to play a role in depression. The usually take a few weeks to work and they are not a magic cure for the illness. This is where psychotherapy may be useful.
Psychotherapy aims to try and find the root causes of someones depression and to alter the way they tend to think. It can provide support while showing the patient how a certain way of thinking can have a negative impact on their behavior and mood and show them alternate ways to find productive solutions to their problems.
As awareness of depression grows, of what it is and the impact it can have on an individual and their families, the more men realize that it is not a sign of weakness. Depression is a real illness that can have real consequences if left untreated. Seeking help is often the hardest step to getting better, but it can be the most important step. Men need to know that it is alright to ask for help. Depression is not a female condition, but is part of the human condition.
For more information on the difference between men and women when it comes to depression check out the video below.