Depression in Men: How Is It Different?
When some of us think of depression, we may think that women experience it more than men. Some health professionals say this is because women experience hormonal changes during menstruation, pregnancy, childbirth, and menopause, which may both contribute to depression and complicate its treatment. But, are men really less likely than women to get depressed, or are they just less likely to acknowledge it?
Depression in MenAlthough depression is the same disorder in both genders, men do experience different symptoms and act on it in a different way. For example, women may be more likely to have anxiety in association with their depression, while men are more likely to exhibit signs of substance abuse or conduct disorder. Some evidence indicates that depression may be even more dangerous for men than for women. Men are more likely than women to commit suicide, although women are more likely to attempt suicide. To make matters worse, many men may shy away from talking about their feelings, asking for help, and seeking treatment for depression. Perhaps one of the reasons male depression may go undiagnosed is that men fear the repercussions of admitting they have a mental illness. They may be concerned that their coworkers, friends, and family would feel differently about them if they admitted they needed help for depression. Also, they may fear that their job security, promotion potential, and health benefits would be negatively affected if their coworkers or boss found out they were depressed.
Symptoms of DepressionAlthough men and women share several common symptoms of depression, there are other, less obvious ones that may be more common in men. Depression in men may cause:
- Persistent feeling of sadness or emptiness
- Loss of interest in relationships
- Decreased interest in hobbies
- Excessive time spent at work
- Sleep problems
- Physical problems with no apparent cause, such as digestive disorders, headaches, or non-specific pain