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Men often come across as strong and in control of their emotions. But, when depression hits them, they often deny it or try to cover it up. In this article, we will write about the causes, symptoms and treatment of depression in men.
Depression affects men and women differently. It has been found that the ratio of men seeking treatment for mental illnesses is double compared to women. According to WHO, about 322 million people globally are living with depression of which 56 million are in India.
The National Mental Health Survey of India found that men between the age group of 30-49 years were most affected with mental health disorders. And the prevalence of mental morbidity is higher in men (13.9 per cent) than in women (7.5 per cent).
What Is Male Depression?
Depression in men can be treated and contrary to the misconception, it's not a sign of emotional weakness or failing masculinity. Male depression changes how you think, feel and function in your daily life as it interferes with work productivity and impacts your relationship.
Men often tend to overlook depression as many of them find it difficult to express their feelings. Instead, they focus on physical symptoms that accompany male depression which are headache, back pain, difficulty in sleeping and sexual problems. This is the reason why male depression is commonly not recognised.
Unfortunately, men are more likely to commit suicide than women so, it is imperative that they seek help before suicidal thoughts come to their mind.
Signs And Symptoms Of Depression In Men
1. Erectile dysfunction - Poor performance in bed is strongly linked to depression. Loss of desire and sexual dysfunction are symptoms that men don't report about.
2. Fatigue - According to a clinical psychologist from the University of Alabama, men are more likely to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression than women.
3. Sleep problems - Sleeping too much or too little are some of the symptoms of depression in men.
4. Stomach pain or back pain - According to focus groups conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health, men don't realise that chronic pain and digestive disorders are linked to depression.
5. Irritability - Instead of showing sadness, men show signs of irritability because they are constantly having negative thoughts.
6. Loses concentration - Psychomotor retardation reduces a man's ability to process information, this impairs focus and concentration.
7. Anger- Some men indicate depression by being angry or aggressive.
8. Anxiety - It is said that men are more likely to suffer from anxiety disorders compared to women.
Other signs and symptoms are suicidal thoughts, escapist behaviour, alcohol or drug abuse, risky behaviour and violent or abusive behaviour.
How To Know If You Are Depressed?
1. Experience feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
2. Loss of interest in activities, and socializing with friends.
3. More irritable and short-tempered than usual.
4. Consumption of excessive alcohol.
5. Cannot control your negative thoughts and start feeling restless.
6. Sleep and appetite have changed.
How Is Depression In Men Treated?
1. Lifestyle changes - Changing your lifestyle by doing moderate exercises, improving your eating habits and following a strict sleep routine can help in alleviating depression symptoms.
2. Medication - A psychiatrist can assist in giving medications. Usually, serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor (SNRI) and serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) medications are effective in treating depression. Consult your doctor before taking these medicines.
3. Psychotherapy - It is also known as talk therapy and can assist in treating depression by talking through your responses and triggers with a licensed mental health professional. The different types of psychotherapy effective in treating depression are cognitive behavioural therapy, interpersonal talk therapy, and problem-solving therapy.
How To Support A Man With Depression?
According To the National Institute of Mental Health, here's what you should do.
- Engage him in conversation and listen carefully to what he is saying.
- Do not ignore statements about suicide and offer hope.
- Take him for walks and engage him in activities.
- Monitor his use of medications and alcohol.
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