Men and depression
Statistically speaking, women tend to seek out therapy more than men for anxiety, depression, relationship challenges and more. Men are more likely to try to work things out on their own – that is, they may not talk about their problems openly with others. Often, men can interpret mental health issues as a sign of weakness and may avoid seeking help. Women and men process life events differently – neither way is wrong or bad – just different. But men do suffer from mental health disorders, such as depression and anxiety, just as women do.
According to the website Helpguide, there are some differences in how men and women experience depression, and, therefore, their symptoms are different. I thought the following table (from the above-mentioned website) was interesting with regard to some of the general differences between men and women, and symptoms of depression:
|Women tend to:||Men tend to:|
|Blame themselves||Blame others|
|Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless||Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated|
|Avoid conflicts at all costs||Create conflicts|
|Feel anxious and scared||Feel suspicious and guarded|
|Feel slowed down and nervous||Feel restless and agitated|
|Have trouble setting boundaries||Need to feel control at all costs|
|Find it easy to talk about self doubt and despair||Find it “weak” to admit self doubt or despair|
|Use food, friends, and “love” to self medicate||Use alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self medicate|
There are many reasons depression can occur – from marital or relationship issues to changing or quitting jobs. In managing depression symptoms, sometimes making small but significant changes in routine or lifestyle can really help.
Again, Helpguide reports that men who exercise regularly, eat balanced meals, get 7-9 hours of sleep per night, and find healthy ways to manage or reduce stressors do much better in managing symptoms than those who do not do these things. Additionally, I think that reduction or elimination of alcohol, taking medications only as prescribed, and avoiding all street or recreational drugs are very important components for mental health for all of us.
Lastly, it may be a good idea for anyone, male or female, to talk with their doctor about the possibility of being depressed. Medications and talk therapy can and do help. As always, if you feel you may have a mental health concern, please call your primary care physician.
Karen Williams, LIMHP is a Mental Health provider at CHI Health.