Male Depression: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Male Depression

Male depression is a serious problem, mainly because many of its cases are left untreated. Severe depression occurs in approximately 10-17% of men throughout their lives, but only a few seek medical help. Most often this happens because men hide their depression. Most likely, you will not notice the classic signs of depression. Instead, they express their sadness in the form of anger, irritability, or reckless behavior. This article discusses the symptoms and causes of this disorder, the differences between male and female depression, and how to help someone you love.

What is depression?

Depression is a mental disorder in which a person has a sad mood, physical disorders, as well as problems with the organization of thinking. Yes, depression is really a disease, which is not related to a person’s desire to attract attention or cause pity. This disorder affects about 20% of the global population.
Many people think that depression is a female disease. This myth appeared because men are not inclined to talk about their state of mind and expose their problems: it is considered indecent behavior, a manifestation of weakness, spinelessness, lack of courage.

“It’s very exhausting to play a role and pretend that everything is ok,” says writer Steve Lappen of men’s depression.

Women, unlike men, share their problems and rarely hide their bad mood. Therefore, signs of female depression are much more obvious than signs of male depression. But this does not mean at all that the latter are less likely to suffer from this ailment – you only need to know the signs of its manifestation.

Symptoms of male depression

Symptoms of male depression may be similar to symptoms of female depression. Any of the signs indicate depression only if it is observed for more than two weeks. Otherwise, it is most likely just temporary deterioration in mood.

  1. A sad, anxious mood. This is the main symptom. It is often difficult to notice, as men tend to hide their anxieties. Sean Colten, an athlete, talks about his depression, that he lost interest in the future because he seemed to have “no future”;
  2. Feeling tired. It does not leave a man for a minute during depression. Even a dream does not help. For example, policeman Rene Ruballo says that he didn’t care if he slept for one hour or eight – he still didn’t feel rested;
  3. Aggression. A man loses the ability to rejoice and becomes more irritable from this. He subconsciously tries to find the guilty person and frustrates his relatives;
  4. Irritability. Clinging to others, a man tries to raise self-esteem and prove to himself that he is a complete human being. In other words, he shows himself that others are even worse than him;
  5. Concentration problems. It comes from gloomy thoughts. It’s impossible to think about anything else;
  6. Indecision. It is a direct consequence of the previous paragraph. A person remembers his duties but for unclear reasons does not fulfill them. However, it is not only about responsibilities: any active action is performed with difficulty. Rene Ruballo says that “sometimes he didn’t even want to get out of bed”;
  7. Pain in various parts of the body. Yes, despite the fact that depression is a mental state, it can affect the physical state. Usually, men are not inclined to associate pain with mood, therefore they do not understand where it comes from;
    Lack of erection. When you feel like a loser, you hardly want to have sex;
  8. Thoughts of suicide. The state of depression does not bring a man pleasure, and no one likes life without pleasure. It seems to the patient that life will always be like that, which makes him think about suicide;
  9. Abuse. Depressed men often try to get lost with the help of alcohol, drugs, cards, casinos or promiscuous sexual intercourse. Some in this way try to regain interest in life, others try to abstract from it. According to Sergeant Patrick Mackathorne, during the depression he drank alcohol to “turn into a creature who doesn’t care”;
  10. The tendency to risk. This is a transitional stage from abuse to suicide. A person is no longer holding on to life but is still trying to regain interest in it. Bill Nyrum’s lawyer said that during the depression, he didn’t care whether he would live, “and therefore he was going to do whatever he wanted, and when he wanted it.” For example, he inadvertently crossed the road and drove a car.
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What is the difference between male and female depression?

Symptoms of depression are different in men and women. Women are more prone to emotional manifestations (crying, sadness), while men show physical symptoms. Below we provide a comparison of depression signs in men and women, showing that the same feeling can be expressed in different ways.

Women Men
Blame themselves Blame others
Feel sadness, apathy and insignificance Feel anger, irritation and pompous ego
Excited and scared Feel suspicion and restrain thoughts, they are vigilant
Avoid conflicts Create conflicts
Act slowly and are nervous Feel restless and excited
Have problems with setting boundaries Feel the need to observe control.
Easily talk about their doubts Consider their doubts a sign of weakness
Eat a lot, call friends, love to get rid of depression Drink alcohol, watch TV, go to sports competitions, have sex to relieve depression

Watching these different symptoms gives us a clearer understanding of the difference between depression in men and women. In addition, men also have some of the common symptoms such as a sad or depressed mood, a sense of hopelessness, guilt, loss of interest or pleasure from a hobby, decreased energy, difficulty concentrating and problems with remembering and making decisions, changes in appetite or weight, impatience irritability or persistent physical symptom.

Causes of male depression

One reason cannot lead to depression. They always work in a complex. Each particular man is subject to their action to varying degrees so that some complexes can cause depression in one person, while the other will not notice them.

  • Problems at work, at school or university;
  • Difficulties in personal life;
  • Breaking contacts with a loved one (possibly caused by his or her death);
  • Collapsed dreams or hopes;
  • Financial difficulties;
  • Relocation (paradoxically, it can save a man from depression);
  • Retirement;
  • Impotence.
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How to overcome male depression?

If you are not ready to talk about it, there are many practical things that you can do and no one will know about it:

Proper sleep

A good night’s sleep is a basic need. Perhaps you could try these strategies: go to bed early; make your room as dark as possible; turn off the TVs; computers and game consoles in the bedroom; avoid or reduce smoking, coffee, cola, energy drinks and alcohol, especially before bedtime; if you are worried about something, get up and write it down, try to figure it out the next day; do physical exercises every day, but not before bedtime; do things that can help you relax, such as taking a warm shower, yoga, meditation, muscle relaxation, or breathing practices.

Refuse alcohol and drugs

Alcohol is a depressant. Anxiety can be aggravated by frequent drinking alcohol (even beer) and can contribute to depression. Alcohol can interact with some medications that you take for depression or anxiety and make their effects stronger and exacerbate side effects, so it is recommended to reduce alcohol consumption, or better, stop it altogether.

Healthy nutrition

Eating healthy helps your body work well and helps you feel good. This is because brain function depends on what you eat. Your brain needs a constant flow of energy in order to work normally, concentrate and focus, as well as strengthen its emotions. To increase your energy and feel good, try to eat: a lot of vegetables and fruits; cereal products, mainly whole grains, and those that naturally contain fiber; dairy products – mainly low fat; some legumes such as chickpeas and lentils; proteins, such as nuts, seeds or eggs; poultry, fish and other seafood, or red meat (with fat removed). Eating in a quiet place is extremely beneficial and it can cheer you up.

Physical activity

It has been proven that physical activity is one of the most effective ways to help yourself with depression. Unfortunately, if you are depressed or anxious, activity can be difficult. In the end, positive reactions will return. Physical activity promotes the production of “good” hormones. You are distracted, leave the house, communicate, set new goals, create a new life, achieve something and feel satisfied. Physical activity does not mean a mandatory visit to the gym. This can be a trip to the shops or mowing the lawns.


Psychotherapy or “conversation therapy” is a general term that refers to the treatment of depression by speaking through triggers and answers with a mental health professional. There are various types of psychotherapy that can be effective in treating male depression.

  1. Cognitive-behavioral therapy: this short-term therapy allows you to replace negative and unproductive thinking patterns with more realistic and useful ones. This treatment focuses on taking concrete steps to manage and reduce symptoms;
  2. Interpersonal “conversational” therapy: this targeted therapy is aimed at solving interpersonal problems and symptomatic recovery;
  3. Problem therapy: this treatment helps people learn the tools to effectively manage the negative effects of stressful life events.

Psychotherapy can help people with depression:

  • Deal with the crisis;
  • Identify and replace negative beliefs;
  • Explore relationships and experiences and create positive relationships;
  • Find adaptive solutions to problems;
  • Identify problems that contribute to depression;
  • Set realistic goals;
  • Develop stress tolerance.
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Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, serotonin reuptake inhibitor and norepinephrine inhibitor drugs are effective treatments for depression. Other possible drugs include atypical antidepressants, tricyclic antidepressants, and monoamine oxidase inhibitors.

Different people have different reactions to drugs. It is important to work closely with a psychiatrist and report any side effects. This is especially important for men because side effects can include sexual dysfunction. In this case, the doctor prescribes other drugs. Never stop taking antidepressants without consulting your doctor. Discontinuation of treatment may suddenly cause withdrawal symptoms and cause a sudden worsening of depressive symptoms. Severe cases of depression may require hospitalization. Inpatient psychiatric care helps patients stay safe until their condition improves, especially in the case of suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts.

Depression in men: things you should not do

  • In no case should you penetrate his mind. If you see that a person is locked in himself, do not disturb him. This way you only make the situation worse. When it becomes a little easier for him, he will share his feelings with you;
  • Do not try to cheer him up, call for a walk, go to the cinema, cafe, visit and so on. Now a person is closed, and strangers, on the contrary, will interfere with him. Give the man time to comprehend everything himself;
  • No need to manipulate and scold. You should not appeal to his masculinity and say the words like «you are a man, be strong and» so on. We are all human and may experience weakness;
  • In no case should you threaten your man. Do not scare him with your departure, divorce, and so on;
  • Blaming a person in this state is also not good. This way you just lower his self-esteem. Do not criticize him for the low financial situation of the family, strange behavior and detachment from the world. Your claims will not change anything. He does not have a desire to act.

Depression in men: how to behave correctly?

  • First, you need to treat your man with understanding. No one is safe from failure. Men are also not iron and the fact that they show their emotions means that they also have them. Everyone has moments of weakness;
  • Give him time to be alone and, in rare cases, go crazy. Respect his personal boundaries. Wait for the period when he himself wants to share his experiences with you. When the tension passes, your usual beloved spouse will return to you;
  • As soon as he makes it clear that he needs your support, show it. Surround him with love and care. Show that in any case he remains strong and unique for you and together you will go to hell and back. Time will pass and your man will find a way out of the crisis.

If you or someone you know is suffering from depression, seek medical or psychological help immediately.

Category: Healthcare | Tags: anti-depressant, depression, depression treatment, depressive disorder, Men’s Health


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