Depression is a subject matter that we frequently cover because the mental illness takes a deadly severe toll on society. The World Health Organization (WHO) has determined that depressive disorders are the number one cause of disability worldwide. More than 300 million people – of all ages – suffer from depression.
While effective, evidence-based treatment exists, those afflicted by depression struggle to access care. Moreover, fewer than half of those affected in the world receive such therapies, according to the WHO. In some countries, fewer than 10 percent get the help they need.
For those able to reach out for assistance, managing the condition will be a life-long mission. Treatment doesn’t cure depression; it teaches people how to cope with their symptoms healthily. Leading a fulfilling and productive life post-treatment typically involves a combination of medication, ongoing talk therapy, and mutual support groups.
Co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorders can complicate depression recovery. As many as one in three adults who struggle with addiction also suffers from depression, the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry reports. Recovering from either condition hinges on treating both disorders simultaneously.
People living with depression will often use drugs and alcohol to cope with their symptoms. While alcohol and substance use may dull the symptoms initially, the practice only serves to worsen matters in the long run. The mental illness can be the impetus for developing a use disorder or, at the very least, a contributing factor.
One of the purposes of treatment is to help clients establish healthy techniques for responding to symptoms and thus minimizing their impact. Since scientists have yet to develop a panacea for depression, encouraging more people to seek care is vital.
Depression and Suicide Among Men: By The Numbers
Over six million men suffer from depression in the United States each year, according to Mental Health America. Women struggle with depression more than men, but they are also more likely to seek assistance. As of 2017, 17.3 million adults in the United States experienced a major depressive episode in the past year. Researchers estimate that 15 percent of adults will struggle with depression at some point in their lifetime. Those who do not receive treatment or let up on continued care are at significant risk of self-harm.
Women living with depressive disorders attempt suicide at higher rates than men, but the latter is more likely to succeed. Women attempt suicide more than twice as often as men, but males are four times as likely to die by suicide.
Male suicides have been on the rise over the last two decades; suicide is now the 7th leading cause of death among men.
Men and women living with depression and a use disorder are six times more likely to commit suicide, compared to people who don’t have a co-occurring disease. The link between depression and suicide is clear.
Depression Can Be Deadly
Mental illnesses like depression do not discriminate. A person’s skin color or socioeconomic standing has no impact on who will develop mental health disorders. In recent years, the nation has dealt with the loss of several notable people who struggled with depressive disorders, addiction, or both. While such deaths sent shockwaves of pain across the world and raise many questions in their wake, they are each a deadly reminder of mental illnesses’ seriousness.
The list of famous people who took their own lives following battles with mental illness and addiction is lengthy. Too long to recount in one post or give each case proper attention.
- David Foster Wallace (2008), American author (Infinite Jest), suffered from depression for more than 20 years.
- Robin Williams (2014), American comedian and actor, struggled with severe depression before his death.
- Chester Bennington (2017), American singer and songwriter (Linkin Park), had suffered from addiction and depression.
- David Berman (2019), American singer and songwriter (Silver Jews) and poet (Actual Air), committed suicide one week ago today after a protracted fight with depression.
David Berman, like David Foster Wallace before him, was known for his ability to write about the pain that accompanies depression. Both his songs and poetry touched countless people who had similar issues. As Sarah Larson writes:
Berman’s music seemed to alchemize pain; by the time it reached us, it had become beauty, wisdom, even humor...He had a gift for articulating profound loneliness in ways that felt deeply familiar, which in turn made you feel less alone.”
Mere days before going on tour to promote his first album in more than a decade, Purple Mountains, Berman took his life.
Depression Recovery Services for Men
You can’t change the feeling, but you can change the feeling about the feeling.” —David Berman
Berman’s fans were fully aware that David had dealt with addiction and depression over the years. However, such knowledge hardly prepared anyone for the troubling news. Hopefully, those who relate with Berman’s issues with mental illness will use this opportunity to seek help or to double down on their current efforts to manage symptoms. If you are unfamiliar with the late poet’s body of work, there is a plethora of material online.
Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you would like to begin the journey of recovery. Our Huntington Beach Mental Health Program for men offers evidence-based therapies and clinical treatments that can help you heal. Our team of dedicated, mental health professionals will help you identify specific recovery goals and achieve these goals while preparing for productive, independent living.