Men make the worst patients from an analytical standpoint. They typically won’t see the doctor unless they are feeling physical pain and are not willing to discuss their emotions. That is what makes it so hard to diagnose depression in men. Men and women both experience depression, but the symptoms for both are widely different. So much could be written off as being stubborn or attributed to male pride. But depression is a serious condition and should be treated as soon as possible to avoid more serious consequences in the future. Men are less likely to realize when they are experiencing depression than women.
About 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from depression every year, according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH). Researchers suspect that this number is higher but do not have the statistics to prove their theory because men often do not reach out for help the way women do. The symptoms of depression are often easier to spot in women making it easier and faster to treat them. Men are more secretive and don’t like to talk about their feelings. Instead, they bury themselves in work or other activities to keep their minds busy.
The Problem of Men and Depression
Even though depression is more common in women, there are still a large number of men affected by it. Women are more likely to suffer mild to moderate depression, while men are more likely to experience major depression. Depression in men is harder to diagnose because the symptoms they experience are different from the symptoms normally associated with depression: feeling sad, empty, or lacking any interest in activities.
Many of the symptoms associated with male depression could be related to other issues as well. There is no age level for depression; it can affect men from 18 to 65. Many of these symptoms can be mistaken for other mental health issues and overlooked. That is why it is so important to seek medical help promptly. Untreated depression can lead to more serious problems including financial problems, relationship problems, addiction to drugs or alcohol, and suicide. Become familiar with these not-so-common symptoms of male depression:
Symptoms of Male Depression
- Working longer hours or spending more time away from home
- Sleeps too much or can’t sleep at all
- Lack of energy or no interest in social activities
- Headaches, digestive problems, and stomach pain
- Increased drug or alcohol use
- Exhibits violent or abusive behavior
- Angry or irritable most of the time
- Driving too fast or driving recklessly
Why Is It Harder for Men To Realize When They Need Help?
Men, in general, have a harder time recognizing when something is beyond their control. They may develop coping strategies to cover up their feelings and may dismiss it as something that is just “ a part of life.” They often put off going to a doctor because they think that what they are feeling will pass and that they have to be tough and handle things as the man of the house. What they don’t realize is that physical problems don’t go away without treatment, neither do mental health issues like depression. They often do not seek medical help until the pain becomes unbearable because that is what men do. But they don’t have to suffer in silence. There is no shame in admitting that you have a problem that you can’t solve on your own.
The Toll Depression Takes on Men
Because men are more likely to hide their symptoms they are at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease. Depression and stress from daily obligations are well-known risk factors for heart attack and stroke. Stomach issues such as indigestion and ulcers from stress and anxiety are a common ailment. Much of their desire to keep their problem a secret is the fear of others finding out like friends, co-workers, or their employer. The idea that talking about their feelings is a sign of weakness keeps many from seeking help.
Depression is more than just feelings of sadness. Things in life come and go and feelings are the same way. You may get sad sometimes but it often doesn’t last long or cause physical pain. Sadness or prolonged anger or irritability is something that should not be dismissed. You may not want to admit to yourself or to anyone else that you’re depressed because you don’t realize how much it affects you and the people around you.
Do you feel that something needs to change? Are you ready to start feeling like yourself again? Call us today at 772-266-5320. We can help you end the cycle of anger and feeling empty. Your health and happiness are important.