According to Mental Health America, women are diagnosed with depression almost twice as often as men are. This causes many people to wonder if men get depression. The fact is, many men struggle daily with depression, but they are far less likely than women to ask for help. It’s important for friends and family members to be aware of the signs of depression in men so that they can get appropriate treatment before it’s too late.
Men: Depression Signs
With men, depression signs are more difficult to spot, since males tend to cover up their emotions. Plus, they’re not as likely as women to talk about their feelings, so common red flags like excessive sadness, crying or talk of suicide usually aren’t present in cases of men and depression. For men, depression signs typically include:
- Abuse of alcohol or other drugs
- Blaming others for their problems
- “Escaping” into work or other distraction
- Frequent thoughts of suicide
- Lack of interest in formerly enjoyable activities
- Lashing out at friends and family
- Needlessly risky behavior
- Sexual affairs
- Uncontrollable anger
- Violent behavior.
Men and Depression: Complications
Unfortunately, when men get depression, they are often unlikely to ask for help. Many males view depression as a weakness or something to be ignored, rather than an illness that needs treatment. They tend to suppress their emotions and signs of depression and insist that they are fine.
The danger here is that depression is a mental illness that doesn’t go away on its own. When men get depression, a delay in seeking treatment puts them at risk of a number of complications, including sexual problems and suicide. Men often act faster on suicidal thoughts and give fewer hints than women do. They also tend to choose more lethal ways of committing suicide â€” such as guns instead of sleeping pills, for example â€” increasing the chances that the suicide attempt will be successful.
Older men with depression are at a particularly high risk for suicide attempts, due to unhappiness resulting from:
- Death of friends or family members
Men, Depression Signs and Treatment
If you are noticing signs of depression, seek support from close friends or family, and make an appointment to talk with your doctor. In the meantime, seek out activities that you used to enjoy instead of depending on drugs or alcohol to feel better. Depression is an illness, but it’s treatable through therapy and/or antidepressant medication. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, call 911 or a suicide hotline immediately.
HealthyPlace.com Staff. (2009). Men with depression. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from the HealthyPlace website: http://www.healthyplace.com/depression/men/men-with-depression/menu-id-68/.
Mayo Clinic Staff. (2008). Male depression: Understanding the issues. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from the Mayo Clinic website: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/male-depression/MC00041.
Mental Health America Staff. (n.d.). Factsheet: Depression in women. Retrieved April 8, 2010, from the Mental Health America website: http://www.nmha.org/index.cfm?objectid=C7DF952E-1372-4D20-C8A3DDCD5459D07B.
Smith, M. (2009). Understanding depression: Signs, symptoms, causes and help. Retrieved April 7, 2010, from the HelpGuide website: http://helpguide.org/mental/depression_signs_types_diagnosis_treatment.htm.