Male depression is often overlooked and under-discussed. The reasons for this are varied. First, this mood disorder is more common in women. In addition, men are less likely to seek a diagnosis for what they’re feeling. Women are about twice as likely to struggle with a depressive disorder. But four times as many men die each year by suicide. Thus, this oversight can be a dangerous trend. Reminder: One of the major risk factors for suicide is depression.
It is essential that we better understand how depression manifests differently in men and women. This kind of awareness can improve and save lives.
A Little About Depression
Depression is a diagnosable disorder marked by long periods of intense sadness. It can be caused by chemical changes in the brain. Also, depression is often triggered by major, unhappy changes in your life, e.g.
- Illness or injury
- Grief and mourning
- Loss of a job
- Divorce or separation
Of course, everyone will experience a low mood when something bad occurs. With depression, it’s more than a brief reaction. Left unaddressed, depression can impair your ability to function on a daily basis. Seeking professional help is essential.
5 Common Signs of Male Depression
1. General Signs Experienced by Both Sexes
Hallmarks of depression include:
- No longer enjoying activities that once brought pleasure
- Sleep disturbances (too much or too little)
- Feeling agitated and exhausted
- Sudden changes in weight or appetite
- Most of all, feelings of sadness, worthlessness, guilt, and shame
2. Mental Signs
The mental effects of depression on men can change how they think, make decisions, and behave. Signs to look for:
- Thoughts are racing, often in obsessive-compulsive patterns
- Decreased ability to concentrate, including memory issues
- Thoughts about death, dying, and suicide
3. Physical Signs
It’s not unusual that the first obvious signs for men from depression are physical. This can cause confusion. Since depression is usually seen as a mental health condition, some men may not connect it to symptoms like:
- Heart palpitations, racing heart rate
- Body aches, pain, and tension — especially headaches and chest tightness
- Weight changes (usually weight loss)
- A wide range of digestive issues from constipation to diarrhea and more
- Sexual problems, low libido, erectile dysfunction, and low testosterone
4. Emotional Signs
Of course, the emotion that is front and center of any discussion of depression is sadness. However, you must be on the lookout for the appearance of other emotions like:
- Outbursts of anger, aggression, and agitation
- As mentioned above, loss of interest in sex, flirting, etc.
- General restlessness
5. Behavioral Signs
All of the categories above have the potential to change a man’s behavior. Therefore, even if a male in your life resists talking about feelings, they may reveal much about their inner turmoil through changes in their behavior, e.g.
- Risky behaviors like drinking, drug use, unprotected sex, gambling, etc.
- Difficulty keeping up day to day responsibilities at work and home
- Withdrawal and social isolation
The isolation and withdrawal could mean pulling away emotionally from people (friends, family members, co-workers, etc.). It may also cause a man to engage less in his prior hobbies, clubs, groups, and so on.
Needless to say, the most telling and dangerous depression-related behavior is suicide attempts. Again, men are four times as likely as women to die by suicide.
You may know a man or be a man who is not the type to open up about his feelings. Either way, therapy can become a safe space. It’s where you can explore and address what’s going on in your life. Read more about depression therapy and reach out today. It may be one of the most important phone calls you ever make.