The Signs Of Depression In Men (And Why Guys Show They're Depressed So Differently)

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Men's Depression And How It Presents Itself Differently Than Women

Depression is a common yet severe mental disorder that affects many worldwide. Depression can have severe symptoms such as disordered thinking and feeling and the inability to perform and/or complete daily activities. These warning signs of depression may appear different in men than in women. 

As of February 2017, depression affects more than 300,000 of all ages worldwide. Additionally, depression is considered the leading cause of disability around the world. It has been reported that depression affects more women than men as well. It has been reported that 12 percent of men and 20 percent of women suffer from depression.

It seems as if depression, in general, is underreported, particularly in men. But the effect of feeling depressed upon men is less commonly discussed. Why is that? Is there more shame around men and depression? Or is it that we aren't trained to watch for the signs of depression in men? 

RELATED: 6 Awful Things You Should Never Say To Someone Who Is Depressed (And What To Say Instead)

While there is a gap between the genders, the prevalence of depression in men is still pretty high and warrants discussion.

Generally speaking, some symptoms of depression are hopelessness, helplessness, feelings of guilt, decrease in pleasure in activities that were once pleasurable and feelings of worthlessness.

As previously stated, depression may appear differently in regards to men and women. When it comes to women and how depression presents itself, women are more likely to:

Depression in men seems to have a different presentation, which could be partly attributed to the typical gender roles and norms. One typical gender norm or rule is that men are supposed to suppress their feelings or not show their feelings. It is also a preconceived notion that men want to feel strong and in control of their emotions.

The way depression presents itself in men differs from person-to-person but there are some general trends. Some of the signs and symptoms of depression in men are:

  1. Fatigue: Men are more likely than women to report fatigue as a symptom of depression.
  2. Sleeping too much or too little: Men are more likely to report sleeping difficulties with their doctors in regards to depression.
  3. Irritability: Rather than feeling down and out, men typically show their depression should irritability and rage.
  4. Anger and/or Hostility: This is more common in men as they realize something is wrong with them and feel the need to display signs of strength and compensates for it by displaying anger.
  5. Stress: Men typically report higher levels of stress when they are depressed. The reason for this is that being stressed seems to be more socially acceptable as opposed to anger or volatility.
  6. Substance Abuse: Drugs and alcohol or other behavioral addictions are reported to be more of a sign in males than females in terms of depression.
  7. Sexual Dysfunction: Performance, or lack thereof, makes this symptom less likely to be reported to doctors although reported more by men than women.
  8. Indecisiveness: Men tend to become overwhelmed by making even the simplest decisions of daily life.
  9. Suicidal Ideations: While women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed and 4 times more likely to die if they do attempt suicide.

Men also tend to blame others for their depression as opposed to women who have a tendency to blame themselves. 

RELATED: There Are Two Different Types of Depression (And How They Each Sneak Up On You

What are some tips for men in battling their depression?

  • Reach out to loved ones in your circle.
  • Participate in activities even when you don’t feel like it.
  • Join a support group for those suffering from depression similar to you.
  • Meet new people with similar interests and hobbies as you.
  • Call or get in touch with an old friend of yours that you haven’t talked to in a while.
  • Invite some friends and/or family over to watch a game (football, baseball).
  • Be a good listener. You may not want to talk about your thoughts and feelings but sometimes listening to others helps you indirectly.
  • Eat a balanced and healthy diet as it can increase your energy, even in the slightest bit and you will begin to feel its effects.

It's also good to be on the lookout for the things that trigger you into feeling depressed, such as:

There are depression hotlines and resources available to all who suffer from depression — including separate (or combined, whichever feels most natural to you) resources for both men and women. It’s important to keep this discussion of male depression at the forefront in order to raise more awareness for them.

If you suffer from depression, you are not alone. There are so many of us out there who suffer from depression, as well as a lot of help in the form of support groups, online chats and support, private therapists, clergy, and even family and friends — and we are here if you need a hand.

If you are feeling severely depressed or suicidal, please contact your local authorities. Anyone suffering from depression and suicidal ideations, please contact the Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Reach out for help. Lastly, please know your life is worth it and if you can’t believe that at the time, please know I care about your life.

RELATED: 5 Surprising Causes Of Depression (And How To Survive Them)

Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor.