Depression in men often goes undiagnosed because the symptoms are different than the classic symptoms we associate with depression. Because the symptoms of male depression are not well-known, family members, physicians and mental health professionals often fail to recognize it. Complicating the issue is the fact that many men are reluctant to acknowledge issues and can be resistant to treatment. However, male depression can have devastating consequences:
- 80% of all suicides in the U.S. are men.
- The male suicide rate at midlife is three times higher.
- For men over 65, the suicide rate is seven times higher.
- While women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide.
Both men and women get depression. But men experience depression very differently. The following grid outlines some of the differences.
Differences Between Male and Female Depression
|Women with depression:
||Men with depression:
- Blame themselves
- Feel sad, apathetic and worthless
- Feel anxious and scared
- Avoid conflicts at all costs
- Always try to be “nice”
- Withdraw when feeling hurt
- Have trouble with self-respect
- Feel they were born to fail
- Feel lethargic
- Can be a chronic procrastinator
- Sleep too much
- Have trouble setting boundaries
- Feel guilty for what they do
- Feel uncomfortable receiving praise
- Find it easy to talk about weaknesses and doubts
- Have strong fear of success
- Need to "blend in" to feel safe
- Use food, friends and "love" to self-medicate
- Believe problems could be solved only if they could be a better spouse, co-worker, parent, friend
- Constantly wonder, "Am I lovable enough?"
- Feel others are to blame
- Feel angry, irritable and ego-inflated
- Feel suspicious and guarded
- Create conflicts
- May act overtly or covertly hostile
- Attack when feeling hurt
- Demand respect from others
- Feel the world set them up to fail
- Feel restless and agitated
- Can be a compulsive time-keeper
- Sleep too little
- Must be in control at all costs
- Feel ashamed for who they are
- Feel frustrated if not praised enough
- Feel terrified to talk about weaknesses and doubts
- Have strong fear of failure
- Need to be "top dog" to feel safe
- Use alcohol, TV, sports and sex to self-medicate
- Believe problems could be solved only if their spouse, co-worker, parent, friend would treat them better
- Constantly wonder, "Am I being loved enough?"
Many men do not recognize, acknowledge or seek help for their depression, but depression is a real and treatable illness. With the right treatment, most men with depression can get better and re-gain their interest in work, family and hobbies. For more information or to schedule an appointment, contact BJC EAP.