All gender identities will experience depression but studies from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have shown that there is a divide between men and women. Women experience depression at a much higher rate. But many mental health professionals believe this is more a case of men being underrepresented in the data.
The main reason for the lack of male data can be because of a number of factors, the main one is the stigma around male mental health and old fashioned, ‘traditional’ thinking. The traditional role that men are supposed to be strong and this is strength is shown through a lack of sadness or not being connected to their emotions.
This societal expectation to ‘act manly’ now means that the signs and symptoms of depression if men can appear differently. As many men are raised to not talk about their feelings.
What Is Depression?
Depression can make you feel like your whole world has fallen apart. You might have trouble exercising, difficulty sleeping or eating properly; and even simple tasks seem impossible. Although the symptoms of depression can be difficult to diagnose because people experience sadness in different ways.
But when feelings like helplessness, hopelessness and worthlessness last for weeks or months at a time without a response from positives in your life it may be time to seek a depression diagnosis and related treatment. There are treatment options available that will help bring back some normality.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men
Although depression is a mental health problem, medically categorised as a mood disorder, depression can manifest in many physical signs and symptoms. Knowing these signs and symptoms are important when discussing depression in men. As men are more likely to visit the doctor if they notice physical effects from depression. But these ailments are symptoms of an emotional issue that needs treatment, and if ignored for too long can lead to additional complications like heart disease and diabetes.
Physical Signs and Symptoms
- Chest and other muscle tightness
- Digestive problems
- Erectile dysfunction and other sexual issues
- Headaches and migraines
- Low testosterone and other hormonal issues
- Heart palpitations
- Weight changes
Mental Signs and Symptoms
- Concentrate issues
- Memory problems
- OCD behaviours
- Racing thoughts
- Sleep issues
- Suicidal thoughts
Emotional Signs and Symptoms
- Emotional withdrawal from friends, family, and colleagues
- Lack of interest life
- Lack of libido
Behavioural Signs and Symptoms
- Difficulty meeting responsibilities
- Drug misuse
- Alcohol misuse
- Partaking in risky activities
- Social isolation
- Suicide attempts
How Is Depression Treated?
Before you can be treated for depression you will need to be professionally assessed and diagnosed. This process can be carried out by your GP. They will ask you a series of questions regarding your symptoms and how long you have been aware of them. They may also run blood and/or urine test to rule out any other conditions it may be; an underactive thyroid for example.
Once you have been diagnosed there are a number of treatment options you try. With depression treatment, it may take time to find the right treatment and balance of treatment, so it is important to not lose hope when trying different treatments and therapies.
The medications available for depression are known as, antidepressants. They work by adjusting chemical imbalances in your brain. There are many different types and brands of antidepressants and it can take time to find which medication works best for you. Your doctor or mental health worker will help guide this process along with recommendations and medical advice regarding your symptoms and any risk factors linked to antidepressants.
There are many types of therapy for depression but here we will cover the most popular and successful.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy – CBT is used to help you overcome problems by changing the way that you think and behave. The therapy is based on this idea of interconnected thoughts, feelings, physical sensations or actions which lead into one another in a vicious cycle. Negative thought patterns hold us back from living our lives fully because they make it harder for us not just to tolerate discomfort but also to experience pleasure.
Dialectical Behavioural Therapy – In DBT, people with depression are asked to accept and acknowledge their negative thoughts. This practice helps them cope better by learning how not to be so focused on only the bad things happening in life. Plus, understand that there will always be challenges no matter what you do or where you go. This type of behavioural therapy also includes mindfulness practices.
Interpersonal Therapy – Interpersonal therapy helps people learn new ways of relating to others. The therapist works on past and present social roles and interpersonal interactions that may have gone sour which have led to unhealthy mental pathways emotionally. All while focusing solely on your needs.
Self-help Techniques For Depression
If you believe you are struggling with depression but may not be ready to approach your GP there are a number of self-care techniques you could try.
Talk To Someone You Trust
One of the most important elements of managing depression is being honest about your emotions. So tell someone you trust how you are feeling, the old saying of, ‘a problem shared is a problem halved’, does hold some truth. Many also find that saying how they feel out loud can help organise, prioritise and handle thoughts that may have been plaguing you for some time.
Mindfulness can be an excellent way to combat depression. The practise of mindful meditation has been shown in some studies to help people who suffer from mental health issues like anxiety and major depressive disorder.
Consider Your Physical Health
Depression often makes it hard to look after yourself, but taking steps that are good for your physical health can make all the difference. The elements of your physical health you can focus on are:
- Your sleep routine
- Your diet
- Partake in physical activity
- Maintain good hygiene
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
Get Help Today
If you still need further support you can contact us regarding further advice and support or contact your local GP.