Depression in Men
For centuries, being a man could easily be seen as the utmost advantage: better pay, more respect, and decision power, to name a few. If we contemplate the struggles of modern minority groups worldwide, we can see how women were pretty much the first. Despite the ongoing struggle women have had to endure for the equal rights they deserve, being a man also has its drawbacks. When it comes to emotional health, for example, men often face an uphill battle.
Men’s mental health challenges start early in life.
As boys, men are taught to be tough. We teach our young ones to be strong, fight back, and “suck it up.” Kids take these lessons to heart and run with them, often inadvertently policing each other. Before we know it, adolescent males are chastising and mocking their friends to express the most basic emotions.
Despite how evolved our circles or contexts might be, these gender-centered expectations are sticky. They persist well into our adult lives and can become so ingrained that they’re even hard to spot.
Men’s issues tend to hide in plain sight.
When guys experience mental health issues -whether it be anxiety, codependence, insecurities, etc.- they often present in ways that one might not expect. Anger, issues around sex, and even substance abuse tend to flare up when a man is experiencing emotional problems.
How do depression symptoms show up for men?
Symptoms of depression in men also frequently manifest in unique ways to how women experience them. While women are quicker to identify their own sadness or lethargy, men are more likely to demonstrate anger, irritability, and even aggression. Men are more immediate to withdraw from friends and family. Women may resort to their social connections as a source of support, at least initially.
Physical symptoms often reflect mental health issues. This is especially prevalent in men, who are more likely to visit a medical doctor for sleeplessness, loss of energy, or a lowered sex drive. They often don’t realize that these are actually signs of depression. Fatigue is another prominent symptom experienced by a lot of men struggling with depression.
Substance abuse as a coping mechanism is a dangerous pattern which men tend to engage in more readily than women when dealing with depression. Moreover, while women attempt suicide more often, suicidal men often do so through more lethal means. Sadly, due to this particular difference, men are actually more likely to die by suicide. In fact, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that four times as many men complete suicide than women.