When someone is asked to visualize an individual with depression, they may imagine a withdrawn person sadly and quietly sitting away from others or curled up sleepless in a bed. Both images are silent and sad. But the characteristics of depression are not always so quiet. For men, many times the signs and symptoms of depression are, in fact, very loud. Oftentimes, women may come forward, seeking help for their depression, while men try to ignore their depression or deal with it themselves. Not only are men not informing their doctors of their depression symptoms, but they are exhibiting angry, hostile, reckless behavior that is not thought of normally as depression symptoms. Often, men with depression are undiagnosed and untreated because of these un-stereotypical depression symptoms. By recognizing the specific symptoms that men exhibit, friends and family can find help for their loved one.
That visual of a quiet individual, shut away from the rest of the world, may be accurate for some men, but for others, they respond to depression with anger. While many women show sadness during depression, most men hide this emotion. Most people would not assume a man has depression when he lashes out in anger, becomes violent or abusive. He, in fact, becomes a bad guy rather than a guy who truly needs help. Some men also become more reckless and take greater risks. They may try to find excitement in an illicit relationship or in dangerous activities.
Women tend to be more introspective about their actions and emotions than men. Women often contemplate their feelings and are more likely to seek treatment. When some men begin to feel depression symptoms, they may not think much of them. They don’t want to talk about them, while women are more likely to talk about their sadness. Unfortunately, some men use alcohol or other substances to “shrug off” their symptoms. This can lead to addiction and complicate the already existing depression. Headaches, fatigue, chronic pain, life dissatisfaction, irritability, and even digestive problems can all be symptoms of depression in men. Knowing these warning signs can help a man recognize that he may have a growing mental illness that cannot be “shrugged off.”
Playing It Tough
While depression may cause some men to act more aggressively, others may merely play it tough. They recognize they have a problem, but think they can work through it on their own. Doctors suggest that rather than trying to play it tough, men help themselves by seeking help from professionals and using coping strategies. Setting attainable goals can help men focus on accomplishment. Enjoying favorite activities with friends can help both mentally and physically. Most importantly, acknowledging the depression and accepting help can help alleviate the symptoms that are disrupting life.