Recognizing the Subtle Signs of Depression in Men

Men and women experience depression differently, but it’s important to understand the subtle signs of depression in men. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are four times more likely to succeed.

Women, Men and Depression: the Differences

Depression in men may have a genetic component, or it may be the result of stress or loss of a loved one. In most cases, depression in men is due to a combination of factors.

When women are depressed, they tend to focus on those depressed feelings, including guilt, sadness and feelings of worthlessness.

Men tend to distract themselves or deny their depression, often by turning to other outlets such as work, sports, TV or risky behavior.

Men internalize their depression more than women. As a result, it often shows up as anger, irritability or lashing out at others

Types of Depression

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH), there are three primary types of depression:

Major depression is so severe that interferes with sleeping, eating, working and enjoyment of everyday life. It may occur once in a lifetime, or an individual may experience several episodes.

Dysthymic disorder is less severe than major depression but may last two years or longer.

Minor depression is similar to dysthymic depression, but the symptoms are less severe and don’t last as long.

Symptoms of Depression in Men

If you’re concerned that a man in your life may be depressed, look for the following signs and symptoms:

  • Exhaustion or lack of motivation
  • Difficulty solving problems, concentrating or making decisions
  • Loss of enjoyment in family, work, hobbies, or other activities typically found enjoyable
  • Loss of interest in sex
  • Insomnia or sleeping too much
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Feelings of uselessness or weakness
  • Isolation from friends and family
  • Increase in use of drugs or alcohol (self-medicating feelings of depression)
  • Getting drunk more often or drinking alone
  • Digestive problems or aches and pains with no medical explanation
  • Changes in appetite
  • Weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty meeting daily responsibilities

Treatment for Depression in Men

Many men are hesitant to acknowledge they are depressed, but with treatment, most can get better and return to fulfilling lives with family, friends and work.

Drug and alcohol treatment or rehab may be the first order of business when depression has triggered reliance on drugs or alcohol. Various forms of counseling can help men learn new ways of thinking and behaving in a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere.

Before beginning treatment, it’s always a good idea to have a checkup to be sure health problems or various medications aren’t causing feelings of depression.

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