• Depression manifests uniquely in men, with symptoms like withdrawal from loved ones and activities they once enjoyed.
  • Men may exhibit agitation or anger instead of expressing sadness, making depression in men harder to recognize.
  • Effective depression treatment options, including counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes, are available for men.
  • Societal norms often cause men to conceal their emotions, contributing to underdiagnosed depression in men.
  • Recognizing and addressing depression in men can improve their chances of recovery and overall well-being.

Depression manifests uniquely in men, with certain symptoms being more prevalent. Men often withdraw from loved ones and activities they once enjoyed when they’re struggling with depression. 

Additionally, they may exhibit agitation or anger instead of expressing sadness or vulnerability, making it challenging to recognize and address their emotional distress. However, effective depression treatment options, including counseling, medication, and lifestyle changes, are available for men (and everyone else, too), offering relief and hope for long-term recovery.

Learn more about the symptoms of depression in men and how it can be treated and better understood.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Men?

The presentation of symptoms among men often diverges from that of other genders. This disparity stems from distinct socialization patterns ingrained in men, which often prioritize stoicism and emotional restraint. 

Consequently, men may find it challenging to recognize and express their emotions authentically, relying instead on a limited emotional vocabulary. The symptoms of depression in men, while sharing commonalities with other genders, exhibit notable variations:

  • Difficulty managing irritability or anger
  • Escalating substance consumption
  • Engagement in risky behaviors
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
  • Adoption of avoidance mechanisms
  • Heightened frequency of physical ailments, such as stomachaches and headaches

Acknowledging these distinctions may seem trivial, but it’s actually quite important, as tailored approaches to addressing mental health concerns can improve a client’s chances of recovery.

Do More Men Suffer from Depression Than Women? 

Men do not seem to suffer from depression more than women. A 2021 study found that women are more likely to have depression, but this may also be due to men’s mental health issues remaining under-diagnosed.

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How Come We Don’t Talk About Depression as Men? 

Numerous factors contribute to why men may hesitate or refrain from discussing their depression, with societal norms playing a significant role. Men are often socialized to conceal their emotions, contrasting with the expectation for women to engage in emotional labor within relationships. 

Whether instilled within families or prevalent in their communities, this stigma fosters apprehension about seeking help, fueled by concerns of facing outdated stereotypes and potential judgment.

How Does a Man Act When He Is Depressed? 

The manifestation of depression in men varies based on individual personality traits. Some may persist in their usual routines, masking their inner turmoil while others may seek solace in socializing, often accompanied by increased alcohol consumption. Alternatively, they may retreat into isolation, immersing themselves in solitary hobbies to the exclusion of once-enjoyed activities.

Others may struggle to muster the energy for daily tasks, leading to neglect of household chores and personal hygiene. It’s crucial to recognize that, although men may not openly discuss suicidal ideation as frequently as women, they tend to opt for more lethal methods.

If you or a loved one is experiencing a mental health crisis, contact 988 or another crisis resource listed here.*

Therefore, it’s essential to be vigilant for signs of distress that may differ from those typically exhibited by women, despite this aspect extending beyond the scope of this discussion.

What Are the Top Reasons for Male Depression? 

The leading causes of depression in men are not entirely understood. However, many well-established contributors to depression are not gender-specific and can include:

  • Chemical imbalance: Some men may be genetically predisposed to depression due to underlying neurochemical imbalances.
  • Struggles with societal norms: Men, often viewing themselves as providers, may experience profound distress when unable to meet societal expectations, fostering feelings of inadequacy.
  • Life stressors: Challenges such as caregiving responsibilities, job loss, financial strain, and relational difficulties can contribute to depressive symptoms.
  • Loss of a loved one: The death of a family member or close friend can trigger or exacerbate depressive episodes.
  • Unresolved trauma: Past traumatic experiences, if left unaddressed, can significantly impact mental well-being.
  • Lack of social support: Isolation or a shortage of supportive relationships may exacerbate feelings of loneliness and despair.
  • Substance abuse: Men may turn to substances like alcohol, marijuana, or cocaine as a means of self-medication, temporarily alleviating depressive symptoms but ultimately intensifying underlying issues when the effects wear off.

It’s essential to recognize the complex interplay of these factors in male depression and to address them comprehensively in treatment approaches.

What Are the Signs of Poor Mental Health in Men? 

As previously mentioned, men tend to exhibit unique manifestations of distress compared to the general population. Signs a man may be struggling with depression include, but are not limited to:

  • Verbal and physical aggression, as well as emotional aggression such as belittling, shaming, and abandonment.
  • Low or lower-than-normal frustration tolerance, resulting in increased irritability or anger.
  • Excessive drinking or smoking habits as coping mechanisms.
  • Disturbed sleep patterns, either excessive sleeping or insufficient rest.
  • Difficulty in completing tasks, indicative of decreased motivation or concentration.
  • Overindulgence is a preferred hobby to the exclusion of other activities, even those previously enjoyed.

Seeking Help for Depression in Men

Men with depression can often benefit from counseling or psychiatric services to help them better manage and minimize the painful effects of depression. Thriveworks can support depressed men with:

  • Personalized therapy approach: Tailored therapy sessions to address individual challenges and their impact on mental health.
  • Skill building: Equipping men with coping mechanisms and strategies to manage symptoms and navigate daily stressors effectively.
  • Root cause identification: Identifying underlying causes of depression to promote understanding and facilitate targeted interventions.
  • Exploration of social pressures: Discussing societal expectations and their influence on men’s mental well-being, fostering awareness and resilience.
  • Client-centered care: Ensuring a supportive therapeutic environment where men feel understood, validated, and empowered to pursue personal growth.

Depression in men may go undetected in silence, but those suffering from its effects may benefit greatly from the support of a mental health professional. If you or someone you know is struggling, or seems to be showing signs of depression, schedule a session today.