Previously, conversations around depression focused more on women as the world considered it a female disease. However, depression in men is fast becoming an acceptable subject of medical and social discussion.
With more men opening up and understanding the dangers of depression, the culture of men sucking it up is changing. No more hiding behind “macho.”
Is the search for who suffers most necessary? Is depression more common in men or women?
Nonetheless, depression causes a tremendous amount of unhappiness that affects a man’s ability to work, socialize, sleep, and function properly.
Today, we’ll discuss the signs and symptoms of depression in men and how to get help if you’re feeling depressed.
What is Depression in Men?
Depression is a severe mental health condition that affects 1 in 8 men at some point in their lives. According to research, about 6.2% of men in the United States suffer from depression.
Although depression is more common in women, the number of men who die by suicide due to depression is four times that of women.
Despite the difference in the number affected and deaths, men and women may experience some common symptoms of depression.
However, understanding how male depression differs from female depression is crucial to spotting depression in men and helping them find solutions.
So, let’s talk about the signs and symptoms of male depression.
Signs of Depression in Men
The signs of depression in men differ according to the individual. Still, one thing is certain – due to cultural and societal conditioning, most men hide or deny their emotions and mask them with other harmful behaviors.
This conditioning and deflecting technique cause depression to reflect in the behaviors and attitudes of men toward their hobbies, work, relationships, and life, which most times cause medical professionals to overlook these pointers.
The most commonly overlooked behavioral signs of depression in men include the following:
- Anger, irritability, or loss of humor
- Drug misuse and abuse
- Engaging in risk-taking behavior, such as gambling or unsafe sex
- Excessive drinking
- Exhibiting more controlling behavior or abuse in relationships
- Inability to keep up with work or family responsibilities
- Physical pain
- Social isolation
- Suicidal attempts
- Working obsessively without taking proper breaks.
Some depression signs that men and women express similarly include the following:
- Feeling agitated, irritable, or tired
- Feeling sad, tearful, low, guilty, or dejected
- Having trouble concentrating
- Losing enjoyment in hobbies and fun activities
- Loss of appetite
- Too little or too much sleep
- Unexplained weight loss
Symptoms of Depression in Men
Depression affects men in several ways, including how they think, feel, and behave. These symptoms may be physical, mental, emotional, or a combination of all three.
Physical Symptoms of Depression in Men
While the common thought of depression in men is that it is only a mental disorder, it also has physical effects. In fact, the symptoms of depression for most men begin physically.
The typical physical symptoms of male depression include the following:
- Body pain
- Digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, and constipation
- Erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems
- Hormonal issues like low testosterone
- Racing heartbeat or heart palpitations
- Tightness of the chest
- Unintended weight loss or weight gain
Emotional Symptoms of Depression in Men
Although deep sadness accompanies depression, depression is more than the sad emotions a person may feel. Male depression may come with one or more of these emotional symptoms:
- Aggressive behavior
- Agitation and irritability
- Angry outbursts
- Emotional withdrawal from friends, family, and colleagues
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Lack of interest in family, community, hobbies, and work
- Reduced sexual libido
Mental Symptoms of Depression in Men
The mental symptoms of depression affect the way a man thinks, processes information, and functions mentally.
The common mental symptoms of depression in men include the following:
- Lack of ability to concentrate
- Memory problems and ability to remember events
- Negative thoughts
- Obsessive-compulsive thought patterns
- Sleeping issues, usually difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- Suicidal thoughts and attempts.
Anxiety Symptoms in Men
Depression and anxiety are two medical conditions that can function as a symptom or trigger of the other.
Anxiety in men commonly starts as a reaction to stressful environments, traumatic situations, and other medical conditions, including low testosterone, diabetes, or heart conditions.
This study shows that anxiety disorders affect over 14% of men in the U.S compared to 23% of women, largely because it is uncommon for men to report their conditions and seek medical or community support.
Like depression, men with anxiety can express symptoms both physically and emotionally.
The physical symptoms of anxiety in men include the following:
- Dizziness and vertigo
- Excessive sweating
- Muscle tension
- Panic attacks
- Pounding or racing heart
- Restlessness or agitation
- Shortness of breath or choking sensations.
Also, the emotional symptoms of anxiety in men include:
- Avoidance of issues
- Being overly paranoid about danger
- Fear of losing control
- Feelings of dread
- Frequent worry about what could go wrong
- Irritability or edginess
- Negative and catastrophic thinking
- Problems with concentrating
As the medical world calls for more mental awareness and reaffirms that anxiety and depression are mental disorders, advocates encourage men not to shy away from seeking support early.
Does Depression Affect the Male Sex Drive?
Yes, depression in men affects every aspect of their lives, including their sex drive. Research shows that sexual dysfunction is a common symptom of depression.
Depression affects our libido because of our biology; usually, the brain secretes chemicals called neurotransmitters, which communicate with the brain and the sexual organs to increase blood flow to the sexual organs.
However, when a man is depressed, the chemicals that cause sexual desire are out of balance. As a result, the sex drive is low or absent.
Causes of Depression in Men
While there’s no single cause of male depression, the conditions below are factors that can combine to cause depression in men:
- Gene: Men with a family history of depression are likelier to suffer from anxiety and depression disorder.
- Loneliness: Loneliness can increase the chances of depression in men.
- Stressful situations: Financial problems, loss of a loved one, workplace stress, lifestyle changes, or divorce can trigger depression in men.
- Medical conditions: Male depression can occur when faced with health challenges such as severe diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinson’s disease.
How to Treat Depression in Men
Depression in men is a severe yet treatable mental condition. Also, men can manage the symptoms by making lifestyle changes.
Treatment of depression is mainly with medication, talk therapy, or a combination of both.
You can treat depression with antidepressants, but they take a few weeks to take effect and might also have some side effects.
Antidepressants reduce symptoms such as sleeping disorders, loss of appetite, and concentration problems.
Also, some people suffering from anxiety and depression disorders have found cannabis helpful with little to no side effects.
Psychotherapy or Talk Therapy
Although most men find it difficult to talk about their anxiety and depression, talk therapy effectively treats depression.
Specific types of talk therapy are available, and after diagnosis, your medical professional or therapist may suggest one or more of the following:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy
- Interpersonal therapy
- Problem-solving therapy
- Psychodynamic therapy.
However, your therapist may combine psychotherapy and medication for more severe cases of depression.
How to Manage Depression
Making specific lifestyle changes can help men manage the symptoms of depression as they seek help.
Other methods of self-help depression management include the following:
- Socialize: Spending time talking with a friend or family about your feelings can help reduce overwhelming emotions.
- Exercise: Increasing your level of physical activity, including walking, can help fight mild to moderate depression. It is also a treatment plan for those suffering from severe depression.
- Setting small and realistic goals: Breaking up large tasks or goals into small ones reduces the stress that can trigger depression.
- Decision Making: Holding off on important decisions until you feel better or are ready is a suitable method of reducing triggers.
- Maintaining a routine: Keeping a healthy habit, such as exercising, eating, and sleeping at the same time daily, can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
- Avoiding or reducing alcohol consumption: Although it may seem like a great idea, you can’t drink away your depression. Reducing your alcohol intake can help improve your mood and emotions. The recommended amount of alcohol to maintain a healthy lifestyle, by the CDC, is two drinks daily.
Men and Depression: Craft Medical is Here to Help You
Men are less likely to talk about their emotions and are more prone to suicidal thoughts when depressed.
However, recent indications are promising, and the more we talk about men’s mental health, the better our chances of identifying the problem and providing the necessary help.
Feeling overwhelmed or need someone to talk to? It’s okay to be open – it’s not embarrassing! Craft Medical is here to help in your fight against depression.
At Craft Medical, we listen to help men take charge and improve their wellness and health. Our team of medical professionals maintains your privacy and ensures your health is paramount.
Click the button below to become a member and get better right from home.