In men, depression can be a serious yet treatable condition. According to statistics, around six million men suffer from depression each year. Included in these sobering statistics is the fact that men suffering from depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. This is what makes it so important for any man to seek help with depression before feelings of hopelessness become feelings of suicide.
Symptoms of depression in men include:
- Physical pain, such as backache, frequent headaches or sexual dysfunction
- Frequent and persistent anger or even violence
- Risky behavior and substance abuse
- Changes in appetite that result in weight losses or gains unrelated to dieting
- Restlessness or difficulty with sleep
- Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, or making decisions
- Thoughts of death or suicide or attempts at suicide
Depression in men often gets overlooked. This is because many men find it difficult to express their feelings. Men tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often come along with depression, such as physical pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems.
The treatment of depression begins with an honest discussion about what is going on in your mind and body. Once correctly diagnosed, there is a lot that can be done to successfully treat and manage male depression and prevent it from taking over your life. A qualified professional counselor, psychologist or physician provides treatment. Often times, medication is used in conjunction with counseling.
At the Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, we work with men of all ages to help treat depressive symptoms and focus on a return to previous levels of effective functioning. The treatment of depression focuses on helping an individual develop healthy thinking patterns and beliefs about himself, others, and the world that lead to the alleviation and help prevent the relapse of depression. As treatment progresses, we see energy levels normalize and a return to usual activities with stable mood, more realistic expectations and goal-directed behavior.
It is important to not try to tough out depression on your own. It takes courage to seek help—whether from a loved one or a professional. In our experience at the Center for Collaborative Counseling and Psychiatry, many men struggling with depression respond well to self-help steps such as reaching out for social support, exercising, switching to a healthy diet, and making other lifestyle changes. These self-help steps can have a powerful effect on how you think and feel, helping you to overcome the symptoms of depression and regain your enjoyment of life.
If you think you may have signs or symptoms of depression, speak with a doctor or a licensed mental health professional. If you know someone who may be depressed, be supportive, listen carefully, and encourage treatment. Never ignore thoughts or mentions of suicide. In such a case, the Suicide Prevention Lifeline is an important resource to turn to for help: 1-800-273-TALK (8255).