Depression symptoms in men

November 12, 2012

Depression symptoms in men

Depression is a serious medical condition that can affect men and women of all ages. It is not always easy to recognise and often goes undiagnosed and untreated. Depression symptoms in men in particular can be missed, as men are less likely to admit to having feelings of depression. It is not uncommon though for depression symptoms in men to occur with approximately 7 percent of men in the United Sates thought to be suffering from it. As is often the case with illnesses, depression can occur in many forms with the three most common ones being major depressive disorder, dysthymic disorder and bipolar disorder.

Symptoms of depression in men

The symptoms can vary greatly not only depending on the type of depression but also from person to person. Some of the most common depression symptoms in men include:

  • A constant feeling of sadness or emptiness

  • Feelings of pessimism or hopelessness

  • Feeling of guilt or worthlessness

  • A loss of interest in pleasurable hobbies or activities including sex

  • Fatigue or lack of energy

  • Difficulty in concentrating or making decisions

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Increase or decrease in appetite and a loss or gain of weight

  • Thoughts of suicide or death

  • Irritability

  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches or digestive disorders

Depression symptoms in men are often the same as in women but may admit to different symptoms and deal with them differently. For example it has been suggested that men are more likely to admit to feeling irritable, fatigue and a loss of interest in hobbies than they are to having feelings of sadness, guilt and worthlessness. It has also been reported than men are more likely to admit to having or have had an alcohol or substance abuse problem. However there is some debate as to whether this is a reaction and coping mechanism to the symptoms or as a side lying condition. Whatever the outcome, alcohol and substance abuse can make it even harder to diagnose depression symptoms in men, as it tends to act as a mask.

Coping with symptoms of depression

Depression symptoms in men also seem to come out in violent bursts, as it appears that men become angry or frustrated with their symptoms causing them in some cases to lash out. Some men cope by busying themselves with work in order to hide their symptoms from family and friends. Other men start to behave erratically, taking risks and putting themselves in dangerous situations. Despite more suicide attempts by women in the United States, four times more men die through suicide than women. These statistics support the theory that men are less likely to report symptoms and seek treatment, which could prove to be life saving.

More research needs to be done into recognising depression symptoms in men and teaching men how to deal with it. If you are someone you know is suffering from symptoms of depression, seek help from your doctor or a mental health professional. There are a variety of treatments available, which are very effective with over 80 percent of patients experiencing significant improvement.

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