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

How depression affects men differently from women.

Sad young man looking through the window Marjan Apostolovic | Shutterstock 

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 2023, depression affects more than 280 million 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. However, the effect of feeling depressed among 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: How People With Depression Tend To Speak Differently

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, a decrease in pleasure in once-pleasurable activities, and feelings of worthlessness. As previously stated, depression may appear differently in men and women. When it comes to women and how depression presents itself, women are more likely to:

  • Blame themselves
  • Feel sad and worthless
  • Use food or "love" to self-medicate
  • Feel slowed down and anxious

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. 


Here are 9 signs of depression in men, and why guys show they're depressed so differently:

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 regarding depression.

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3. Irritability

Rather than feeling down and out, men typically show their depression with 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 compensate 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. Dysfunction in the bedroom

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.

RELATED: What I Learned About Suicide Contagion When My Friend Killed Himself

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 tend to blame themselves. 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:

  • Lack of social support
  • Loneliness
  • History of substance abuse
  • Childhood trauma or abuse
  • Isolation

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 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 or somebody that you know is experiencing a mental health crisis, there is a way to get help. Call SAMHSA’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) or text "HELLO" to 741741 to be connected with the Crisis Text Line.


RELATED: 7 Surprising Things That Make Your Depression Even Worse

Brittney Lindstrom is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor. She writes about relationships, psychology, and personality topics.