by Comprehensive Staff
Depression affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them- spouses, partners, friends, and family. More than just a dip in mood to response to life's setbacks and disappointments, depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school Depression in men can often be overlooked. Many men find it difficult to talk about their feelings so they tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany depression. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated.
Men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. It’s important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of despair become feelings of suicide. Talk honestly with a friend, loved one, or doctor about what’s going on in your mind.
There is plenty men can do to overcome depression. The important thing is to recognize the symptoms. As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives. While depression can take a heavy toll on your home and work life, you don’t have to tough it out. There are plenty of things you can start doing today to feel better.
What are the signs and symptoms of depression in men?
Men tend to be less adept at recognizing symptoms of depression than women. A man is more likely to deny his feelings, hide them from himself and others, or try to mask them with other behaviors. And while men may experience classic symptoms such as depressed mood, loss of interest in work or hobbies, weight and sleep disturbances, fatigue, and concentration problems, they are more likely than women to experience “stealth” depression symptoms such as irritability, substance abuse, and agitation.
The three most commonly overlooked signs of depression in men are:
1. Physical pain. Sometimes depression in men shows up as physical symptoms—such as backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders—that don’t respond to normal treatment.
2. Anger. This could range from irritability, sensitivity to criticism, or a loss of your sense of humor to road rage, a short temper, or even violence. Some men become abusive or controlling.
3. Reckless behavior. A man suffering from depression may exhibit escapist or risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports, driving recklessly, or engaging in unsafe sex. You might drink too much, abuse drugs, or gamble compulsively.
The good news is we now know a lot about depression, its causes, and how to treat it. Changes in diet, exercise, daily activities, and sleep hygiene practices can have significant positive impacts. Therapy, especially when combined with antidepressant medications, have also been proven to be effective in promoting recovery from depression.
Adapted from Harvard Health’s “Depression in Men” Help Guide. For more information on men and depression visit Harvard Health’s HELPGUIDE.ORG.