Men are less likely than women to report symptoms of depression—and often have different symptoms. Learn what depression looks like inj men and how you can get help.
For the past two or three weeks, you’ve had no energy for your family and no desire to go to work, even though you’ve always loved your job. Simple tasks seem to drain all your energy, but you have a hard time falling asleep despite being exhausted all the time. You find yourself getting angry and irritated for no reason, taking it out on your loved ones.
If these symptoms sound familiar, you may be dealing with depression. While women are more likely than men to be diagnosed with depression, the National Institute of Mental Health reports that men are less likely to recognize, acknowledge or seek help for their depression.
While women are more likely to report feelings of sadness, worthlessness, and guilt, symptoms of depression in men include:
- Changes in sleeping patterns, including insomnia or oversleeping
- Difficulty concentrating and making decisions
- Feelings of anger, irritability, and sadness
- Headaches, cramps, or digestive problems
- High-risk activities, including substance abuse and unsafe sexual behavior
- Inability to complete responsibilities at work or home
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyable activities
- Thoughts of death or suicide
Untreated depression can have serious health consequences. Men are more likely to die from suicide. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 80% of deaths by suicide in the United States are committed by men.
No one knows what causes depression, but several factors may be at play. Those with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop the condition, and high-stress situations (such as the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or relationship difficulties) can trigger depressive episodes. Depression is also affected by brain chemistry, hormones, and physical differences in brain structure. Most of the time, a combination of two or more of these circumstances causes depression.
If you are experiencing depression, know that help is available. Therapy with a licensed therapist, social worker, or psychologist can help you understand how to change your behavior to make depression symptoms less of a problem in your life. Your primary care provider can refer you to a qualified mental health practitioner and prescribe antidepressants if necessary. Antidepressants work with your body to mitigate the physical, hormonal, and chemical imbalances that cause depression.