It is a misconception that only women tend to suffer from depression because they are more emotional. This is not true. The National Institute of Mental Health cites data showing that depression in men occurs in 5% of cases and has devastating effects on their health. Members of the stronger sex are not really that strong, but rather vulnerable to depression and neurosis-like conditions. Cases of suicide against this background are several times more common among them than among women. In this article, the reader will learn how to identify the problem in time with a loved one and how he or she can be helped.
Peculiarities of the symptomatology of depression in men
Because of the existing stereotypes in our society and erroneous paradigms of men’s upbringing, it is believed that the representatives of the strong sex do not express their emotions and do not talk about their condition. Because of the fact that emotional experiences do not find an outlet (especially dangerous if it happens over a long period of time), men develop and develop psycho-emotional disorder.
If women in a depressive state are often tearful and show heightened sensitivity, the opposite is true of men. On the background of depressive disorder they become unsociable, silent and indifferent to everything. In some cases, this condition is accompanied by withdrawal and even aggression.
Often male depression may not have the usual signs of disorders of the emotional background, but be expressed by pain in the organs of the digestive tract, heart and head. Then we are talking about the so-called masked depression. Medical examination at this time does not show a pathological state of the internal organs.
Why does male depression develop
This disease rarely develops on the background of a favorable emotional state. Depression is a consequence of prolonged stress or psychological trauma. As a rule, it can be:
- Problematic situations at work;
- unstable financial situation;
- conflict situations in the family;
- lack of communication, support from friends;
- unstable position in society;
- departure to another country;
- death of a close person;
- constant use of alcohol;
- illnesses in children;
- business trips, service in the army, leading to separation from loved ones.
In this case, the intensity of the stressor is insignificant. Situations such as problems at work or disputes with parents, relatives are common. However, the duration of a difficult period or the personal importance of a particular event triggers the mechanism of depression development.
The effect of stress is stronger if a man is unable to express his emotions and experiences. This is characteristic of men from so-called patriarchal families. They are required to react accordingly, such as proper parenting, solving numerous problems, “firm” conversations with various authorities, etc.
A predisposing factor for the emergence of depression is the high level of responsibility for the family and the inability to share it. In this situation, a man can not fully relax at home, because it requires a high level of concentration.
Manifestations of depression in men
It is difficult to notice male depression due to the fact that representatives of the stronger sex are not inclined to express their emotions. However, you can suspect wrongdoing on such signs:
- Refusal of his favorite activity;
- Increased frequency of aggression;
- inattention to achievement;
- problems with sleep;
- early rise or on the contrary, difficulties with waking up;
- poor sleep;
- pronounced weakness;
- lack of desire to communicate;
- decreased sexual desire.
Sometimes you can hear from such men that they do not want to live or that they see no meaning in life. This is a dangerous symptom: if it appears, it is necessary to see a doctor immediately.
In some cases, these symptoms may occur:
- pains in the heart area (cardialgia);
- Pressure spikes;
- Disorders of the endocrine glands;
- loss of appetite;
- weight loss;
- digestive problems.
At the same time, there may be no characteristic symptoms of depression. Examination does not show the presence of problems with these organs.
If it is noticeable that the person’s behavior has changed, it makes sense to talk to him or her about it. A competent psychological approach is needed. Maybe he will talk about his problem. This will help to convince him to see a specialist.
The consequences of male depression
The most terrible consequence of this disease is suicide. Depression more often ends in suicide in men than in women, because it is rarely detected, and if detected, it is at a neglected stage. If a man is suspected to be depressed or to be talking about suicide, he must be persuaded that he needs to seek specialized help. It is necessary to convince the man that depression is a disease, just like gastritis, and that it needs to be treated.
Depression often causes him to lose his family and his job. Because the illness is associated with bouts of aggression, the spouse may decide that she no longer has any reason to live with such a person. Divorce will only worsen the situation, making the man feel worse and is undesirable to him.
Depression provokes inattention, absent-mindedness and sleepiness. All of this causes problems at work. The situation is aggravated hypodynamia, because of her man completely ceases to cope with their responsibilities and even go to work. Colleagues think that the man is lazy, but in fact he is developing depression. Feelings will improve if you start treatment.
How depression is diagnosed
Only a doctor or a clinical psychologist can suspect a person has depression and make an initial diagnosis. If he does not want to go to a psychotherapist or psychiatrist, it is important to persuade him to at least make an appointment with a clinical psychologist. If the psychologist discovers a problem, he will refer the patient to the right specialist.
In most cases, the man is not prescribed medication. Before doing so, the doctor will refer the patient for tests. They will help to identify possible causes of the disease and prescribe treatment. For diagnosis, they prescribe:
- general blood test;
- blood tests for ferritin, total iron-binding capacity, serum iron levels;
- Serum vitamin D levels;
- TTH, free T3 and T4 tests;
- sex hormone levels.
If the values deviate from the norm, the doctor looks for and treats a somatic disease. The depressive state will disappear when the underlying disease is treated. When the test values are normal, it means that the depressive state is caused by abnormalities in mental processes. The patient in this case should undergo a course of psychotherapy and, if necessary, take antidepressants.
How to help a man get out of depression
The treatment of depression in men is generally much harder than in women. The reasons for this are as follows.
- Late treatment of patients. Because of this, they go to the hospital in the advanced stages. They are also more likely to need medical support.
- Fear of taking antidepressants. Patients fear that they won’t be able to drive afterwards. They also mistakenly believe that they can recover from depression by exercising or controlling bad habits. However, this is not true: not all men, for example, can control alcohol consumption and smoking.
Because of the combination of these factors, the treatment of depression is much heavier. However, psychiatrists have developed basic principles for alleviating depression and getting the fastest possible results. It is important to follow all of the doctor’s recommendations. Usually he will advise:
- Learn to give yourself at least small gifts;
- Develop a daily routine;
- Do not neglect physical activity;
- take vitamin D supplements;
- give up bad habits;
- establish a sleep schedule;
- give up stimulating drinks, including coffee;
- Perform breathing exercises.
Additional methods of treatment are chosen by the doctor, based on the peculiarities of the human body and the specific situation. Antidepressants are prescribed gradually: the dosage in each case is selected individually. During 2 to 3 weeks, the patient gets used to the drug, from which its effect is not noticeable. It is during this time that side effects of treatment may be observed. This is considered the norm. Once this stage of treatment has passed, the patient’s well-being will improve considerably and he will feel much better than before taking the medication.
The chances of recovery in the man will increase many times over, if the cure will be assisted by family and friends. They should support him in every way. It is useful to prepare a delicious meal together, together to do something interesting. The most important thing in this situation – never judge the person, do not treat his problem disparagingly. Help get rid of the trouble a comprehensive approach and acceptance of the problem. Depression in men is dangerous because it is diagnosed at a later stage. Therefore, its symptoms are more pronounced. The danger is exacerbated by the fact that the likelihood of suicide increases significantly. Therefore, a man with clear signs of depression should never be left alone with his problem. But the help should be offered gently and unobtrusively, otherwise he will stop contact with you. A comprehensive approach, patience and treatment will help get out of a difficult situation
The author of the article
Mikhail Ivanovich Skvira.
Graduated from the UE HomSMU, specializing in “medical business. Clinical psychologist, master’s degree in psychology, from 2016 to 2018 the leading specialist in the State Health Care Institution “GOKPB” to work with alcohol dependence by the method “Edelweiss”, the author of articles and publications. Awarded a commendation for many years of fruitful work in the health care system. Work experience: 18 years.
Depression in men symptoms – study carefully
Depression is the most common psychological condition that people face as a problem. It is a very human way of reacting to difficulties or lingering intrapersonal conflict. It is mostly women who suffer from depression, but that does not mean that men are not affected. It’s just that men are six times less likely to be depressed than women. It has been suggested that this difference may be due to women’s greater emotionality, their dependence on men, and their self-restraint for the sake of their children. They cannot express themselves as freely as men. The serious difference in the statistics of depression between men and women suggests that men simply do not seek help from a therapist or psychologist, but “fight” depression on their own. The differences between depression and other negative experiences such as frustration, helplessness, sadness and longing are described in a number of other texts on the Commonwealth site. Symptoms and ways to diagnose the degree of depression are described. Read more about how men experience depression and how to cope with it.
Depression suffer mainly women. But this does not mean that men are not subject to this scourge, but the stronger sex is the condition is 2 times less common. And the difference may be due to the greater detectability of depression in women, who are more likely to seek help and make contact with a psychotherapist. Men, however, prefer to cope with their problems independently.
Why do men hide their depression?
Central to our culture is the idea of masculinity – active, powerful and fun, partly brutal. And a man who is depressed risks revealing himself to be a man who gives in to his feelings. This does not fit the cultural stereotype at all.
That is why male depression is often disguised as something else. For example, it happens that under the binge life, a penchant for risk and gambling hides a deep sense of sadness and hopelessness. And sometimes depression can hide behind physical illness. In medicine, this is called psychosomatic. Thus, according to experts, 50% of men who come with complaints of shortness of breath, migraines, pain in the heart and stomach, suffer from a hidden form of depression.
Peculiarities of male depression
Both men and women experience almost the same symptoms of depression, but there are certain features of behavior on the part of the stronger sex.
The main difference is in the manifestation of aggression. No matter how bad it was for a woman, most likely, she will try by all means to extinguish the conflict that suddenly occurred, and will take all the responsibility for what is happening on her own. Men, on the other hand, do not value good relationships with others in this state and tend to inflate the conflict. During this period, many of them become especially angry, irritable, and suspicious. Sometimes it even comes to physical violence.
The course of depression itself also differs in many ways. Often the emergence of symptoms due to the secrecy of men can seem rather abrupt and unreasonable.
The depressed emotional state comes to the fore and becomes the cause of many other problems:
- Decreased or absent potency. Psychotherapists believe that 60 to 80% of sexual disorders are caused by psychological problems. A man who is depressed, immersed in his worries, he does not care about intimate relationships. Many people are very afraid of this, because in the male community such a failure is ridiculed. From this falls self-esteem and depression is exacerbated.
- Addiction to alcohol or drugs. Trying to escape reality, many men in depression begin to abuse alcohol. In contacts they become more sociable, complexes are removed, self-esteem increases, there is harmony with himself, there is a large number of ideas, optimism is noted. But this is the way to the abyss.
Treating depression in men
Considering himself strong, and depression – nonsense, a man is sure to cope with it alone, not even suspecting that recovery may need medication therapy. After all, often this condition may be the result of a lack of a certain substance in the body – serotonin. Sometimes to make up for it is enough to follow a certain diet. But often, especially with severe forms of depression, special medications – antidepressants – are necessary.
Treatment of depression in men also involves psychotherapy. Specialist helps the patient to discover and survive such difficult and dangerous feelings such as sadness, frustration and powerlessness. As a result, the man becomes more whole as a person and independent.
We advise to contact us as early as possible, at the first signs of illness. Then the problem can be solved more quickly and painlessly. Make an appointment with us by phone.