Though they don’t often discuss it or seek treatment as women do, many men suffer from depression. The reasons for suffering in silence are often linked to societal expectations of how a man should feel and behave.
Society has conditioned men to believe that emotions are a sign of weakness. The truth is that millions of men struggle with depression and may be squelching the symptoms in an attempt to be what’s expected of them.
Men and women share some common symptoms with depression, but men also have other symptoms that women don’t often experience. Men who are dealing with depression may suddenly begin to work longer hours than usual as a way of trying to escape the feelings.
Rather than deal with the depression, men may also begin to spend more time blanking out by watching television or playing video games. They’ll check out of the family dynamics.
A man with depression is twice as likely to become involved in an extramarital affair as he seeks some way to deal with overwhelming feelings. A man who’s experiencing depression may go through personality changes.
They can become extremely irritated over things that never bothered them before. They may lash out at loved ones with verbal abuse. In some cases, men with depression may act out by physically striking those closest to them.
Overusing alcohol or engaging in illicit drug use can also be warning signs of depression. For men, the symptoms of depression can manifest in the form of health problems. If the depression isn’t treated, it can lead to thoughts of suicide or actually committing suicide.
The difference between men and women who experience depression is that 20% of women will commit suicide, but that percentage is four times higher for men. The telltale signs of depression for a man are feelings of anxiety, erectile dysfunction, not wanting to get out of bed to face the day, stress, fatigue, headaches, and stomach upset.
Most men with depression won’t let loved ones or friends know what they’re going through and won’t seek professional counseling sessions to help them handle the depression.
Sometimes the reason is an embarrassment, and other times it’s because they don’t want anyone to know for fear they’ll be labeled. They’d rather try and push through it when what’s needed the most is a strong support system in family, friends, and professional assistance. Getting help for depression can be found by talking to your doctor about it or seeing a mental health specialist who understands how to treat depression.
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