When you think of depression, you may assume that everyone experiences it the same way. However, the symptoms of depression in men are often different than in women.
If you fail to recognize symptoms of depression in men, it may go untreated. In fact, the unique struggles of men have severe consequences. According to the American Psychological Association, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
This is why it is so crucial to understand how depressed men may act differently. Here are some of the most common symptoms of depression in men.
1. Anger and Aggressiveness
Depression in men often manifests in hostility. When men feel that something is wrong with their emotions, they may become angry in an attempt to feel capable or strong.
A lot of men think that depression means they are vulnerable or weak. Therefore, they may get mad or have outbursts of aggression in order to compensate. Friends, families, and even medical professionals may not always realize these mood swings and actions are symptoms of depression.
2. Problems with Sex
Men who are depressed may experience various issues regarding sexual desire and performance. Depression may result in a lower sex drive or even erectile dysfunction (ED).
Antidepressants may affect sexual functioning as well. Medications can cause ED, lower testosterone, and delayed ejaculation. Sometimes, men may simply lose interest in sexual activities. Performance issues and an unhealthy sex life may make men feel even worse about themselves and exacerbate depression issues.
3. Reckless Behavior
When men don’t know how to deal with symptoms of depression, they may act out in risky ways. Men may engage in high-risk activities such as:
- Driving fast
- Getting into fights
- Drinking and driving
- Pulling dangerous pranks
Men may partake in activities that endanger themselves and others in an attempt to deal with their emotions.
4. Substance Abuse
When men don’t understand their depression or feel comfortable getting help, they may turn to alcohol or drugs. These addictive substances may provide a temporary feeling of pleasure, but they only make things worse in the long run. Alcohol and drug addictions may worsen depression and cause a variety of other health issues.
Depressed men view everything negatively and this can take a toll on their relationships with family and friends. Depression causes men to lose interest in pleasurable activities, such as hanging out with friends or visiting family members.
Men often withdraw themselves because they are unable to feel true happiness and may feel embarrassed about what they’re experiencing. Instead of accepting help and getting support, depressed men may push their loved ones away.
6. Problems at Work
Depression may affect every area of a man’s life, including his professional aspirations. A depressed male may experience the following:
- Loss of interest in his job
- Difficulty focusing on tasks
- Anxiety about going to work or losing his job
A man who has depression may struggle to meet daily responsibilities and accomplish goals, which may make the depression even worse.
7. Physical Health Issues
Sometimes men experience more than just emotional symptoms. Depression can show itself in physical ways too. Some physical symptoms of depression in men include:
- Back pain
What some men may brush off as other medical issues may actually be signs of a mental disorder.
8. Changes in Eating Habits
When men go through depression, their appetite and eating habits may change drastically. Depressed men may overeat or have no desire to eat whatsoever.
9. Sleeping Problems
Depression can affect a man’s ability to sleep properly. Some men with depression may oversleep while others may have a hard time falling asleep at all.
Men may experience a heightened sense of stress when they’re depressed. Even if they don’t have more stress, some men may complain about stress because they think it’s more socially acceptable than discussing depression. Prolonged stress may also contribute to depression.
11. Fatigue and Exhaustion
Some guys who experience depression will be tired almost all the time. This may be associated with a lack of sleep or simply occur for seemingly no reason. Fatigue may also occur alongside slowed thought processes and physical movement.
While this is not an exhaustive list, these are some symptoms of depression to look for in men. If you or someone you know is exhibiting any of these symptoms, getting professional help is essential for proper treatment and recovery.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dan Gellman is the Director of High Focus Centers, a provider of outpatient substance abuse and psychiatric treatment programs in New Jersey. He has worked in various settings within the mental health and addiction treatment industry for over 10 years, having held roles at a large substance abuse treatment organization, a prominent psychiatric hospital, and top outpatient programs throughout the eastern United States. His area of expertise is working with patients, families, and professionals to help give insight into their behavioral health challenges and help them navigate the treatment landscape across the country.