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Depression in Men

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PS103 Depression in Men. Tell me about it.


Depression is a very common disorder that affects both men and women. But depression in men has always been harder to spot and identify because men feel embarrassed to take about their emotions and feelings. Whereas women like to express their emotions and feelings with other people like psychologists to explain and to talk away their problems over with people to relieve their symptoms. Men believe that they mustn’t talk about their problems with their friends, relatives or to seek professional help. Men think they shouldn’t seek some support because for them they feel forced to believe that men must simply absorb and handle the situation on their own. For this reason and many others people think that depression affects more women than men, when in fact statistic reveal that they are likely the same but is actually underreported because men simply keep silent on the issue for fear of embarrassment. Depression is most common with college men because of the new challenges that they face and new responsibilities. Depression in men is not something they should ignore or to brush away as something that goes away by itself. Depression is something that requires professional and sometimes even medical help in extraordinary circumstances. Every day men commit suicide around the world because they think their depression cannot be treated and is something that cannot be overcome.

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The signs and symptoms of depression in men

There are many symptoms and signs of depression in men that are very different than that of what women display and is the reason why they are unnoticed. Some of these signs and symptoms include the following: risk-taking and antisocial behaviours such as aggression and violence related deaths, deliberate self-harm and suicide, sexual encounters, gambling, drink-driving, road rage and drug and alcohol abuse including binge drinking. Brownhill, Wilhelm, Barclay, & Schmied. (2005). These signs can be hard to identify with depression because people think that these behaviours are standard for men in general who are just trying to display manly characteristics. This is in complete contrast to women who often show outwards signs of depression and express it verbally and facially expressions like crying, emotionality, mood amplification (due to ruminating response), expressions of helplessness and passivity and increased food intake. Brownhill et al., (2005). It has always been a challenge for researches to accurately measure depression in men because of underreports about our depression.

Brownhill et al., (2005) explains the complexity of depression in and the desire to hide the symptoms:

 The expression of depression in men is more complex than depression defined (gender neutrally), by DSM-IV. Problems associated with measuring depression in men are related to hidden symptoms of depression, the wide-ranging repertoire of strategies that men employ to manage depressive symptoms and the arbitrary nature of the ‘big build’ (Fig. 1). The concepts illustrated by the ‘big build’ extend the ‘meaning’ of depression to include internal and external responses to emotional distress along the continuum of depressive experience. (p.926)

Kilmartin, C. (2005) explains the facts that although women are more likely to be diagnosed with major depression the fruits are more visible in men:

Although twice as many women as men are diagnosed with major depression, men commit suicide four times more often than women, abuse alcohol and other drugs at least twice as often, and commit 86% of all violent crimes. These social and personal problems may reflect underlying depressive symptoms that are undiagnosed and untreated. (p.95)

What are the causes of Depression in Men and why is it underdiagnosed?

There are many causes for depression in men that differ from women. The stress of the responsibilities include: supporting a family, having a modest income, marriage, the loss of a loved one and work-related problems that can impact the financial support of his family. Men can feel that they are under a lot of stress because of what society says men are supposed to do, characterized by drive for achievement and success and relationships between high restrictive emotionality scores and men’s psychological distress. (Oliffe, Galdas, Han & Kelly, 2012, p.77). High School Graduates often find life changing very rapidly and suddenly realise that they have to be more independent on themselves and not have to rely on their parent’s income and support. The new challenges that college men often experience together with their new life has been explained by Oliffe et al. (2012) to include:

Isolation from family and friends, financial strain, and work and study pressures, all of which can fuel negative emotions and feelings of ‘being out of control’.  For some men the stressors inherent to college life can trigger depression or exacerbate existing depressive symptoms. (p.76)

Depression in men is also believed by many psychologists to be underdiagnosed because men themselves respond to depression differently than women do. These include coping, perceived causes, treatment response, comorbidity, etiology, hormonal and neurochemical factors, and a host of other potential differences. Addis, M. E. (2008). Society itself, particular the Western nations through mainstream media and the school system try to convince men and this is supported by Addis (2008):

How they should think, feel and behave Western masculine norms include emphases on anti-femininity, competitiveness, homophobia, emotional stoicism, self-reliance, physical toughness, financial success, and power over women. These norms are assumed in turn to shape how men respond to problems such as depression.

How and where men can treat their Depression

A lot of men think that their depression cannot be treated and that there isn’t any way to receive professional help. Men also think that there are no treatments that are suitable to them while being less than a man. In this journal article McCusker, M, G. & Galupo, M, P. (2011) state:

Efficacious and unique treatments for men who experience depressive symptoms are needed as shown by the finding that men who experience depression and seek psychological help are viewed as significantly more feminine than men who do not seek psychological help for depression.

Men have very broad options to choose how to cure their depression. There are many advertisements aimed at addressing their problems. For example there was a recruitment advertisement that said: “Have you ever been treated for depression? Are you willing to participate in a research project studying men’s experience with depression? Chuick, Greenfeld, Greenberg, Shepard, Cochran, & Haley (2009). Some men have reported positive results have come from seeking psychological help. For example one person stated: Effective symptom reduction was also related to feeling as if they could safely express their feelings when they became overwhelmed and feeling normal by recognizing others facing similar struggles. Chuik et al., (2009). There are others who have sought have quick short-term remedies and these include: substance abuse, infidelity, avoidance, and focusing excessively on work and even playing video games. {} Chuik et al., (2009). But the treatments that have proven to be most beneficial in eliminating depression for good as opposed to just weakening it have been the Long term remedies. Chuik et al., (2009) say that these include:



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