For years, depression was seen as a “woman’s disease” and this stigma still exists, even though around six million men suffer from at least one incident of major depression every single year. Men don’t talk about it, and they usually won’t admit they are depressed even to themselves. This means they don’t seek treatment, and this can disrupt their lives to the point of destroying relationships and even impacting their ability to work.
While the symptoms of depression in men are similar to those in women, there are some differences. The most common signs are low self-esteem, no interest in what they once enjoyed, fatigue, changes is sleep patters or appetite (this can be eating too much or too little,) sexual problems, and even suicidal thoughts. In women, depression normally makes them sad and emotional but men tend to get aggressive, irritable, or even outright hostile. Even though it can destroy someone’s life, men will tend to talk about the emotional symptoms – such as being exhausted – long before they will talk about their emotional ones, such as continuing sadness or being overly aggressive. This comes from the belief that men have to be the strong ones, and many see depression as a weakness.
It is more difficult to tell when men are depressed. They don’t usually show the “typical” signs of depression, such as crying or sadness. They keep their feelings hidden, but become more aggressive. This makes it likely that men themselves will not know they have depression! In fact, if doctors include blaming, anger, alcohol or drug abuse, and lashing out then many more men might be diagnosed. It’s important to diagnose depression in men, because they are four times more likely to commit suicide, and since they prefer more lethal means such as guns, are much more likely to manage it. And many times, no one knew they were depressed.