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Published on June 11, 2019

Men and Depression

Research used to suggest that depression was more common in women than men, but more recent studies show that men and women are about equally as likely to have depression. For many reasons men are just more likely to go undiagnosed and untreated for their mental health.

While many men and women with depression experience similar types of symptoms, women are more likely to seek help for symptoms like hopelessness and sadness. Due to societal expectations of men to “suck it up” and not express sadness, they often feel less comfortable to talk about their feelings. Because of this, men tend to experience irritability or anger as signs of depression, and aren’t as likely to seek help for symptoms that affect their emotions.

In fact, it’s common for men to seek help from their general practitioner for the physical symptoms of depression, like aches and pains, gastrointestinal problems or sleeping issues, rather than go to a mental health professional. This typically delays or prevents them from getting the proper mental health diagnosis.

Understand Range of Symptoms

It’s crucial that everyone understand the range of depression symptoms because untreated depression is one of the biggest risk factors for suicide. Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more likely to die by suicide.

In fact, more than 75 percent of suicide victims in the U.S. are male.

Men also are three times more likely to suffer from substance abuse problems, which often develop when other mental health disorders go untreated, and an individual self-medicates with alcohol or other drugs.

What are lesser known symptoms of depression to keep an eye out for?

  • Anger, aggressive behavior, or irritability
  • Feeling anxious
  • Loss of interest in things once enjoyed
  • Isolating from family and friends
  • Physical pains, headaches, or digestive problems
  • Fatigue, sleeping too much, or having trouble sleeping
  • Overeating or not having much of an appetite
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Difficulty focusing
  • Feeling hopeless or empty
  • Engaging in risky behaviors
  • Relying on alcohol or drugs

If you or someone in your life is showing some of these symptoms, take our anonymous online mental health screening. While it’s not a diagnostic test, it will give you insight into whether it might be the right time to seek help.

If you’re concerned about yourself or someone else who may in a crisis, call 911. If you or the person you are concerned about is actively suicidal and in danger of self-harm, take them to the nearest emergency room.

Bryan Medical Center West Campus has a 24/7 mental health emergency room where you can determine if hospitalization is needed. The National Suicide Helpline is 1-800-273-8255.

To learn more about Bryan Medical Center’s continuum of mental health services go to www.bryanhealth.org/mentalhealth

dave miers

About Dr. Dave Miers

Dave Miers, PhD, is the counseling and program development manager for mental health services at Bryan Medical Center in Lincoln, Neb.

He helped establish the Nebraska State Suicide Prevention Coalition in 1999 and chaired/co-chaired this Coalition until 2017. He currently serves on the Board of Directors. Dr. Miers is a member of the leadership group for the Lincoln/Lancaster County Suicide Prevention Coalition. Dr. Miers has published research and co-authored a chapter in the Routledge International Handbook of Clinical Suicide Research focusing on family survivors of a child suicide. Dr. Miers helped develop the Lincoln Lancaster Local Outreach to Suicide Survivors (LOSS) team in Lincoln, Neb. He also helped develop other LOSS teams in Nebraska and is active with LOSS team development on a national level.

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