Depression can affect anyone, regardless of their gender. Regrettably, only one in four men experiencing signs of depression and anxiety actually seek help from a mental health professional. Societal expectations can often prevent men from being open about their feelings or reaching out for support when they need it most. Recognizing these signs early, taking action to treat them, and helping a man experiencing symptoms of depression understand that he is not alone are sure ways to destigmatize the conversation around men’s health.
It’s true that depression is diagnosed in about twice as many women as men. But that may be at least in part because we are not as familiar with the warning signs in men. Or, men may not feel as comfortable sharing their concerns with a doctor. Whatever the reason, it’s important to understand how men experience depression so we can make sure they get the help they need.
What’s the same
Depression is a serious mood disorder that may affect one’s feelings, thoughts, and approach to daily life. There are several types of depression and many potential causes or triggers, including unaddressed trauma or major life events—even parenthood. One in ten dads will experience postpartum depression during their first year of fatherhood. Depression can affect anyone at any age.
Some common symptoms of depression may include:
- Prolonged feelings of sadness, hopelessness, guilt, pessimism, restlessness, or emptiness
- Extreme fatigue and/or changes in sleep patterns, like difficulty falling asleep or sleeping more than usual
- Body aches and pains, digestive problems, and headaches
- Difficulty concentrating, remembering details, and making decisions
- Changes in eating habits, like overeating or loss of appetite
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
While they may experience some of the symptoms noted above, the Mayo Clinic says men may also show signs that are not always associated with depression, including:
- Escapist behavior, such as spending a lot of time at work or on sports
- Problems with alcohol or drug use
- Controlling, violent, or abusive behavior
- Irritability or inappropriate anger
- Risky behavior, such as reckless driving
Asking for help
If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, please know you are not alone. Be open with your friends, family, and medical professionals about what you’re experiencing. At AdvantageCare Physicians (ACPNY), our behavioral health specialists are a part of your care team and work collaboratively with your primary care doctor to support your overall health.
In addition to the services offered by ACPNY, New York residents can also use NYC Well for free, confidential mental health support 24/7 from trained counselors.
- Call: 888-NYC-WELL (888-692-9355)
- Text: WELL to 65173
- Chat: nyc.gov/nycwell
In an emergency, the first concern is your health. Call 911 or get to an emergency room as soon as possible.
If you are thinking about hurting yourself, feeling depressed, or just need to talk to someone NOW, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TTY: 800-799-4889). They are available twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.