Depression can happen to anyone, but the symptoms vary in men and women. In addition, men are often less willing to talk about depression, which may help explain why depression in men often goes undiagnosed. In men, depression can cause different symptoms as well.
For instance, men who are depressed often exhibit anger and aggressiveness whereas depressed women are less likely to show these symptoms. Men who are depressed also often suffer from reduced sexual desire, performance, and even erectile dysfunction.
Here are 4 reasons why depression in men usually doesn’t get noticed.
1. Men Sometimes Don’t Recognize Depression for What it is
The common perception about depression is that feeling sad is the main symptom. However, for many men suffering from depression, a feeling of sadness isn’t always the main symptom.
Instead, men with depression often experience physical symptoms such as digestive problems and headaches. Irritability, tiredness, and chronic pain may also indicate depression.
Men who are depressed may sometimes feel isolated. At times, they would feel a need to seek distraction so that they can avoid having to deal with their feelings or even their relationships. This can also lead to destructive behaviors such as engaging in risky activities.
Taken individually, these symptoms of depression in men are often mistaken for something else. However, when these symptoms occur together, then that’s an indication that you may be suffering from depression.
2. Men Often Downplay Their Symptoms
Men often don’t think much about the symptoms that they’re experiencing. It could be because they don’t recognize that the symptoms are already affecting them. It could also be because admitting to one’s self or to anybody else that they have depression is something that they don’t want to do or have difficulty doing.
Unfortunately, ignoring or suppressing the symptoms of depression can only lead to a worsening of the condition. Depression can lead to additional medical, psychological, and behavioral problems if it’s left untreated for a long time.
3. Men are Often Reluctant to Discuss Depression
There are a lot of men who live by the code that strong men do not need any kind of help. Not showing any vulnerability or weakness is also a part of that code. Unfortunately, when it comes to depression, not talking about it may do more harm than help.
If you’ve trained yourself to control your emotions or if you feel that expressing one’s emotions isn’t manly, then you’ll definitely find it difficult to reach out for help when you’re depressed. Although some people may have found success in battling depression alone, it’s always better to have people who can help you deal with depression.
4. Men Sometimes Resist Mental Health Treatments
There are actually many reasons why a depressed man may refuse treatment or even avoid getting a diagnosis. The stigma of depression or any other mental illness can intimidate people and hinder them from seeking mental health treatment.
There are also times when men don’t seek medical advice because they’re afraid that their suspicions about depression would get validated. There are also those who have gained enough courage to get diagnosed, but they refuse to follow their treatment.
Coping With Depression
If you suspect that you have depression but you’re not ready yet to have it formally declared by a doctor, you may find yourself looking for ways to cope with depression.
Many men turn to alcohol and substance abuse as a way to distract themselves from the negative emotions they are feeling. Alcohol and drugs may provide a temporary relief, but they will actually cause things to worsen in the long-term.
Engage in physical activities.
Regular exercise is actually recommended to people with mild depression. Physical activities, especially those done in groups, can help reduce the symptoms of depression.
Delay important decisions.
When you’re depressed, it will affect your concentration as well as your ability to make wise decisions. Severe depression can even impair your cognitive functions. If there’s an important decision that you need to make, try to delay making the decision until after you’ve discussed it with people who know you well.
Tackle only what you can.
Most people who are depressed suffer from difficulties at work. If there are any tasks at work that you need to complete, break them up into smaller ones. This can help you tackle your tasks more efficiently, and you can avoid feeling overwhelmed. It also helps to prioritize your tasks.
Set simple goals.
When you’re depressed, you may easily feel overwhelmed by anything and everything around you. Even simple tasks can be daunting when you don’t feel like moving or thinking. By setting simple goals that are realistic, you may find it easier to accomplish your tasks.
Spend time with people.
Feelings of isolation are common in men who are depressed. Try to spend more time with people so that you don’t feel too isolated. Talking with a family member or a friend about what you’re going through can also help. When you seek out emotional support, you will find it easier to open up about what you’re feeling.
Learn to manage stress.
For people with depression, stress is an extra burden. Try to learn new stress management techniques such as mindfulness or meditation. These will help you center yourself and lessen your psychological burden.
Pay attention to your health.
Oftentimes, depressed people let go of their health as they engage in unhealthy behavior for distraction.You may lose interest in your own physical fitness and nutrition when you’re depressed. Healthy eating, along with regular exercise, can actually significantly improve your mental health.
Follow a sleep schedule.
People who are depressed often suffer from poor sleeping patterns. Insomnia and poor sleep quality can contribute to depression and cause your symptoms to worsen. Adhering to a sleep schedule may be able to help you sleep better at night.
Try a new hobby.
You may find it difficult to muster some interest in what’s going on around you, but if you spend time learning a new hobby, your interest in life may reawaken. Try something artistic like painting or drawing. Even if you can’t express your emotions in words, you can use art to convey what you’re really feeling.