Gender plays a major role in the diagnosis and effects of Mental Health Disorders. Societal gender roles create gender-specific risk factors and stigmas that affect people differently. Understanding the differences in gendered mental health experiences is essential to establishing effective treatment plans.
Statistically speaking, men are more likely to face specific Mental Health Disorders such as Alcohol Addiction or other forms of Substance Abuse. Learn more about which Mental Health Disorders are more common in men—as well as the unique risk factors—with this overview.
The Diagnosis Problem With Male Mental Health Disorders
Receiving an accurate diagnosis can be a major issue for men experiencing a Mental Health Disorder. Societal norms and gendered expectations often lead men to believe they can’t or shouldn’t seek help when dealing with a Mental Health Condition. Men face pressure to be strong and stoic and avoid vulnerability or what might be perceived as weakness. The result is a hesitation or fear of sharing thoughts and feelings, including in a clinical setting.
Because of this, men are more likely to continue living with an undiagnosed or misdiagnosed Mental Health Disorder. This makes it hard to determine exactly how various disorders affect the male population. Moreover, men often don’t receive accurate information about the ways Mental Health Disorders affect them specifically. These issues create extra obstacles for men seeking professional mental health treatment.
An expert Psychologist can offer personalized treatment plans to address the general and gender-specific challenges men with Mental Health Disorders face. That’s why it’s important for men to seek help from a Licensed Clinical Psychologist who understands these Mental Health Disorders that are more common in men.
Addiction Disorders are among the most common Mental Health Conditions adults face. Addiction Disorders often go hand in hand with Depression or Anxiety Disorders. This creates comorbid conditions that exacerbate each other and worsen symptoms.
There are several types of addictions, including alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, gaming, and social media. Men are more likely to develop Addiction Disorders with drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, prescription medications, sex, gambling, porn, social media, shopping sprees, and traveling.
Drug, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse Disorders
People with Drug, Alcohol, and Substance Abuse Conditions repeatedly engage in drug use despite its risk to physical health, mental health, professional opportunities, and personal relationships. Individuals with Drug Addiction experience intense physical cravings for the drug, painful withdrawal symptoms, increased anxiety and stress, and feelings of loneliness or isolation due to their behavior under the influence of the drug.
As with any Addiction Disorder, anyone can develop a Drug Addiction. However, men are more likely to abuse substances like marijuana, hallucinogens, or prescription drugs.
One potential reason for this is that men are more likely to attempt to solve their mental health issues on their own. This can lead them to adopt dangerous behaviors, like misusing drugs, in a destructive attempt to cope with mental health symptoms. Without professional help, both the substance abuse and the Mental Health Conditions will worsen, creating a harmful downward spiral.
Alcohol Addiction also tends to be more common in men. Men are more likely to binge drink and have higher rates of alcohol-related deaths or hospitalizations. Similar to drug abuse, Alcohol Addiction in men often stems from the urge to deal with mental health symptoms on their own rather than with the help of a Licensed Clinical Psychologist.
Another complication revolving around alcohol abuse is that heavy drinking is normalized for and often expected of men. Young men, in particular, face pressure to drink in social settings. From fitting in at college parties to connecting with colleagues over a round of drinks after work, alcohol is a prevalent part of many men’s lives.
Because alcohol is so common, it’s difficult for men to identify when regular drinking has become an Alcohol Addiction. Even after seeking help, the expectation for men to drink makes sobriety difficult.
Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder
Another mental disorder that is more common among men is Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Many people think of ADHD as a disorder that affects children, but it can have a lasting impact on adult life. Adults with ADHD struggle with concentration, impulsivity, executive functioning, and hyperactivity. These issues present unique challenges in one’s career, relationships, finances, and other crucial aspects of adult life.
Among children, boys are more likely to receive a diagnosis and treatment for ADHD. For adults, however, ADHD is commonly underdiagnosed or misdiagnosed. ADHD symptoms are harder to identify in adults and vary more from person to person. However, a Psychologist can identify the symptoms of adult ADHD and work with you to understand them.
ADHD and Insecure Attachment
Impulsivity issues associated with ADHD can stem from an insecure attachment caused by childhood neglect. Boys who don’t experience a secure relationship with a caregiver during infancy and instead suffer from neglect throughout childhood and adolescence have an increased risk for attentional, cognitive, and behavioral disorders such as ADHD.
Neglect and insecure attachment also increase the risk of poor impulse control, low self-esteem, and severe anxiety. These factors present daily challenges, lower quality of living, and can mask other Mental Health Disorders such as depression, further skewing data about men’s mental health.
Depression and Suicide
Depression Disorders are some of the most common Mental Health Disorders in the world. Women are more likely to develop depression; however, men are more likely to die from suicide as a result of depression.
There are a few potential reasons for this. One is that the symptoms most men with depression experience differ from typical depression symptoms. This leads to underdiagnosis and prevents many men from getting the professional mental health treatment they need. Another explanation is that men who attempt suicide are more likely to use more deadly methods, such as firearms.
Individuals with Bipolar Disorder experience intense fluctuations in mood and energy levels. Mania, or an extreme high, is a feeling of elation, high activity, or irritability. Extreme lows, or depression, include sadness, indifference, listlessness, and hopelessness.
Bipolar Disorder is equally common across genders. However, like many of the Mental Health Disorders men face, it is often undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in males. Additionally, many Bipolar Disorder symptoms, such as overconfidence or recklessness during manic phases and social withdrawal during depressive phases, are mistaken for ordinary “masculine” behavior.
Understanding the unique ways that Mental Health Disorders affect men is the key to offering comprehensive and effective mental health treatment. At Blair Wellness Group, Dr. Blair offers tailored treatment plans that incorporate an extensive knowledge of gender-specific symptoms, risk factors, and challenges. If you’re seeking a psychologist in Irvine, California, find the help you need at Blair Wellness Group today.