Depression And Men

Men and an underserved population for mental healthcare.

Men are an underserved population for mental healthcare.

Chances are you know someone who is depressed.  Chances are also that you know someone who has it and isn’t talking about it and, chances are they’re not getting help.  With all the stereotypes and misinformation that surrounds mental illness, depression, and caricatures of people seeing Mickey Mouse and all the Looney Toons in “crazy house,” it’s no wonder that so many people don’t get the help they really need. 

We’d like to spend some time today talking about an underserved population that rarely get’s talked about or even acknowledged when it comes to mental health: men.  Traditionally men have been portrayed in the media as the tough, John Wayne, superhero who has it all together and don’t need any help.  Sound familiar? 

Depression in Men vs. Women 

Chances are you will experience it at some point in your life if you haven’t already.  Depression spans all ages, races, ethnicities, and socioeconomic backgrounds.  About one out of every four women will experience depression within their lifetime and one out of every eight men.  That means if you know 10 men, chances are that two or more of them will have experienced at least one depressive episode in their lifetime.  Although women are more likely to experience depression, that doesn’t mean we should ignore what it looks like in men.  

There are a few differences between men and women who experience depression.  Often, men have a tendency to either try to “tough it out” or cover it up with drugs or alcohol.  Unfortunately, men who do not seek treatment are four times as likely to commit suicide than women who forgo treatment.  About 75% of people who commit suicide each year are men.  Depression is serious and it deserves to be brought out into the light so that we can get past the shame that’s so apparent throughout our society.  

Physical Signs And Symptoms For Men

Fatigue, under or oversleeping, erectile dysfunction, and other physical symptoms such as stomach and back pain can be traced back to moderate and severe depression.  Depression is a medical condition, and not just “something in your head.”  Men can experience other symptoms such as irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiety, over or under-eating, and feeling stressed.  Other common symptoms of depression include loss of stimulation in hobbies and activities, low self esteem, and struggling with close relationships. 

Getting a “mental health” checkup should be just as important as getting a physical checkup for your body.  It’s also important to see trained professionals for a comprehensive evaluation rather than just looking on WebMD.  Having your general practitioner ask you some pointed mental health questions can be a good start.  Depending on their training and background, that might not be enough to catch something early on.  Remember, with mental health, just like with your physical health, the earlier you catch something, the easier it is to resolve.  

Seeing a professional can also help assess how life pressures and stressors figure into the picture along with family history, environmental factors, medication, and co-occurring conditions.  These can all be important in forming a cohesive diagnostic treatment plan.  Also, remember that if you’d rather avoid taking medication, that’s something you can bring up with your doctor.  There are a variety of treatment plans and methods out there, and while some plans may include medication as part of the solution, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be taking medication for the rest of your life.  It’s possible, with some forms of depression, that if you’re willing to put in the time and energy you can get the same results without medication as you would get through using medication.  

The PTI is here for you and we have your back.  Why not have a team of dedicated professionals who want to see you get better and achieve your optimal state of physical, mental, and emotional health?  We’re here to see you get better and to be treated with respect, honor, and dignity.  We’re here for results that are effective and efficient.  We’d love to be on your team and we’re standing by.  If you have more questions about mental health or would like to schedule a screening or evaluation, please give us a call or email today.