Dealing with depression in men….

A man hiding his head in his hands

A lot of people once thought clinical depression was a “woman’s disease,” but it now clear that millions of men globally suffer from depression.

Depression actually affects both sexes. It disrupts relationships and interferes with work and daily activities. In women, depression may be more likely to cause feelings of sadness and worthlessness. Depression in men, on the other hand, may be more likely to cause them to become withdrawn or to feel irritable, aggressive, or hostile.

The problem:
Unfortunately, the lingering image of depression as a female condition may keep men who are clinically depressed from recognizing the symptoms of depression and seeking treatment. So many men suffer in silence braving it all in the name of “you’re a man so be strong.”

Why is depression in men so hard to accept?

An illustration of a man carrying more than he can handle

Understanding how men in our society are brought up to behave is particularly important in identifying and in the long run will help in treating their depression. Depression in men often can be traced to cultural expectations. Some of these expectations are; men are supposed to be successful, they should rein in their emotions and be in control. These cultural expectations can mask some of the true symptoms of depression. Instead, men may express aggression and anger which are sometimes seen as more acceptable “tough guy” behavior.

Everyone has a role to play in helping these men, most especially those in their lives -mothers, wives, sisters, daughters, brothers, friends and colleagues.

Some symptoms of depression are the same for men and women. These include:

  • Feeling sad, tearful, low, guilty, or empty.
  • Losing interest in pleasurable activities.
  • Appetite or weight changes.
  • Too little or too much sleep.
  • Feeling agitated or tired.
  • Having trouble concentrating.

Not everyone with depression will experience all of these symptoms. Some symptoms of depression are more likely to affect men than women, which could be due to genetic, hormonal, biochemical, or social factors.

Men with depression may notice the following behavioral changes like;

  • Drinking more or taking social drugs.
  • Avoiding family or social situations.
  • Working obsessively without taking proper breaks.
  • Finding it hard to keep up with work or family responsibilities.
  • Becoming more controlling or abusive in relationships.
  • Engaging in risk-taking behavior, such as gambling or unsafe sex.
  • Attempting suicide.

One School of thought believes that these behavioral changes occur as a result of men trying to mask depression and adhere to so-called “masculine norms.” These attempts to conceal depression may cause men to lash out or engage in self-destructive behaviors.

Depression may affect a man’s sex drive too. Men with depression may have less interest in having sex and might have trouble with sexual performance.

When is it time to see a doctor?

A woman holding a man’s hand

Anyone who notices the emotional, behavioral, or physical changes that we have discussed in this article may be experiencing depression. If this is the case, it is essential to see a doctor.

The doctor can help diagnose a person’s depression and give them the right treatment to feel better.

Treatment:

There are several ways to treat depression. Everyone responds to treatment differently, but a doctor can advise a person on which treatment may best suit their needs. Treatment options include: medication, talk therapy and (or) cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Consequences of untreated depression:

Leaving depression untreated can harm a person’s well-being. Depression is a risk factor for suicide. Therefore, it is vital that a person with depression receives help as soon as possible.

With the current realities and the huge impact it is having on many businesses, families and individuals, it’s time we look beyond the now and see the struggles people especially men are experiencing and help them cope so we all can enjoy a healthier population in the future.

What is your story on depression? Please share with us in the comment section.

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