Signs of Depression in Men | Mental Health Awareness Month

signs of depression in men

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For men, especially, it is critically important to understand how mental health can impact your life. Recognizing the signs of depression in men, which can be very different from those in women, can mean the difference to your health and well-being.

Not a Sign of Weakness

One of the most important aspects of mental health to understand is that having depression and seeking treatment for the condition is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes courage to reach out and get help when you are experiencing the signs of depression. Stigma can keep you from making the effort to see your symptoms for what they truly are and in light of how they are impacting your life.

A Leading Cause of Death

Depression and suicide are ranked among the leading causes of death in men. Six million men in the US are affected by the mental health condition every year. Men die by suicide at a rate four times higher than women. Men often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression. Consequently, they are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women and are two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Signs and Symptoms in Men

Depression affects a large number of men, but they are typically less likely to recognize or seek treatment for their depression. They usually do not want to talk about it at all. Their symptoms may manifest in very different ways from symptoms that women may experience. While women may appear sad, men often seem angry, aggressive, or irritable. In fact, the signs of depression in men are often mistaken for other issues, another reason the mental health condition usually goes untreated.

Other common signs of depression in men, which might “mask” the condition itself, include:

  • Feeling “on edge,” anxious, or restless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance or engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Loss of interest in work or in activities that were once enjoyable
  • An inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Changes in eating habits such as overeating or not eating
  • Physical pains, including headaches and digestive issues
  • Withdrawing from friends or family members
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • An increased use and misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

While women who are experiencing depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to complete the act and die by suicide as they tend to use more lethal methods in their attempts.

Risk Factors

One of the most common mental disorders in the US, depression is caused by a combination of risk factors that can include:

  • Environmental stress such as financial issues, major life changes, problems at work, loss of a loved one, or a difficult relationship. In fact, any significantly stressful situation they encounter in their daily lives may trigger the mental health condition in men.
  • Genetic factors for those men who have a family history of depression.
  • Serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. While the illness itself may cause depression, medications taken for the condition may also involve side effects that cause or worsen depression in men.

Real Men Do Ask for Help

Ignoring depression won’t make the symptoms go away. The mental health condition could lead to other serious issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Trying to battle it on your own is never a good plan. You need someone who understands what you are going through and who can offer the treatment options you need to be healthier, mentally and physically. In fact, you will be making a smart decision by reaching out for help when you recognize the signs of depression.

Help for Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.