Depression in men is prevalent in 12.5% of men, that means 1 in 8 men will have depression.
Depression in men may be more common among the older man, but it is not part of the aging process. Just because one is getting older does not mean that he will suffer from depression. Depression can happen at any point in a man’s life, and many do not realize they have it, hence the delay in getting the appropriate treatment. Recognizing depression symptoms, therefore, is crucial to receiving the right diagnosis and care as early as possible.
So what exactly are the symptoms to watch out for?
Fatigue Experts say men who are depressed are likely to experience fatigue, an observation shared by Dr. Josh Klapow, Ph.D., a clinical psychologist at the University of Alabama. Depressed individuals may show signs of inactivity or a slowing down in the way they move, and sometimes, even in the way they speak. And because there is this slowing down, the ability to focus and process information may also be impaired to a certain point. Often they can easily get distracted or lose focus. And making decisions may prove to be difficult.
Sleep problems are also indicators of depression in men. Are you sleeping too little? Do you find yourself wide awake at night, counting sheep (and losing count after getting to a thousand) when everybody else is off to dreamland? Or do you find yourself waking up every two hours or so? Depressed individuals may also tend to sleep too much but still feel tired or exhausted. Either way, that can tell you are feeling depressed.
Irritability, On the other hand, men who are depressed often find themselves constantly thinking of negative thoughts which leave them often irritable or cranky. This can lead to anxiety which is a common symptom of depression in men. The reason, according to another researcher is that men find it easier to talk about being anxious than about being sad. It appears that men find it easier to deal with their worries and fears than with their feelings of sadness.
Anger/Hostility In some cases, depression can manifest in hostility, or anger, this is used as a defense mechanism, a way of showing power in the midst of weakness. The withdrawn depressed man will often show hostility when he is pressured to mingle with society.
Stress is another sign of depression in men. Men often report stress rather than depression; this is due to stress being more socially acceptable than depression.
Physical/Digestive problems, often the depressed man suffers from constipation, diarrhea, headaches and back pain
Alcohol and drugs Often men will use these to mask their depression rather than seek help. Research has shown that men with addiction problems are more likely to experience major depression, often they depend on alcohol to begin their day.
Suicidal thoughts are warning signals of depression, too. Although suicide attempts are more common in women, men are more likely to die from suicide because of the use of weapons that are far more deadly. Interestingly, older men have a higher risk of committing suicide.
Sexual dysfunction, this can be a sign of depression and this, of course, will make him more depressed. But it should be taken into consideration that sexual dysfunction can also be the result of medication, and other conditions: it is best to seek assistance for this.
As from the above, there are many symptoms of depression, having only one or two does not prove depression, but recognizing the signs can give an explanation of what is wrong and then seek help.
Depression is reversible, another expert, Dr. Norman Sussman,, a psychiatrist at New York University Medical Center, says depression is “a form of reversible brain failure”, and likens the situation to a computer’s central processing unit that crashes down when something’s not right.
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Grad Cert. C.H. (MH), B.Soc.SC. (Hons) Masters P.H.C.