Fighting mental health stigma is an uphill battle for everybody, but men’s experiences with depression and other Mental Health Disorders can be especially tough. Societal expectations about masculinity—for example, the idea that men should be stoic and avoid showing weakness—make it challenging to discuss men’s struggles with mental health. As a result, men often face different challenges regarding depression. Learning some surprising facts about men and depression helps you better understand your experiences with mental health and the importance of seeking professional help.
Men Experience Different Depression Symptoms
Depression shows itself in countless different ways. While popular media depicts depression as overwhelming sadness, individuals with depression can also feel intensely angry, hopeless, or emotionally numb.
For men, aggressive emotions and behaviors—such as anger and irritability—are more common depression symptoms than feelings of sadness or hopelessness. Having a short temper, getting into arguments, and being overly critical of yourself and others are all common symptoms of depression in men.
Men Are More Likely To Turn to Substance Abuse
Abusing drugs or alcohol as a way of dealing with depression is an unfortunately common behavior among men. Studies show that, while women are equally likely to partake in substance abuse with or without depression, men with depression are far more likely to misuse drugs or alcohol than men without depression. This behavior can lead to an Addiction Disorder that exacerbates the symptoms and challenges of depression.
Men might face an increased likelihood of substance abuse due to the social stigma that deters them from seeking mental health and support. Without professional treatment, men attempt to self-medicate with harmful substances and addictive behaviors.
Suicide Attempts Are More Often Fatal for Men
Severe cases of depression can lead to attempted suicide. Statistically, women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to die from suicide. However, another surprising fact about men and depression is that only about 50 percent of the men who attempt suicide have depression. Keep in mind that depression is underreported and underdiagnosed in men, so some men who attempt suicide might experience depression even though they haven’t seen a Licensed Clinical Psychologist or received any formal Mental Health diagnosis.
Common Causes of Depression Vary by Gender
Depression has many causes. You might be susceptible to depression because of genetics, various personality aspects, traumatic experiences during childhood, or current life experiences. Anyone can experience depression for any number of reasons. However, when it comes to life experiences, the causes of men’s and women’s depression can differ.
There is a strong association between unemployment and depression among men. While women can also experience depression after losing a job, it tends to affect men more—likely due to society’s expectations for men to provide for themselves and their families.
Men often experience depression differently than women, but that doesn’t mean you have to experience your depression alone. Despite mental health stigmas that say otherwise, finding professional treatment for your Mental Health Disorder is the only way to overcome and heal from your depression.
As an experienced depression psychologist, Dr. Blair and her team help men address the source of their depression, navigate symptoms, and achieve clinical objectives for a healthier and more productive life. Learn more about our available treatments and treatments at Blair Wellness Group today.