Depression is a common mood disorder that is mainly characterized by feelings of sadness, mood changes, a lack of interest in things you once enjoyed, and the list goes on. And while more common in women, depression also affects men; according to the American Psychology Association, 9 percent of men in the US experience depression. Unfortunately, only one out of four men seek professional help.
There are various reasons why men fail to reach out for help, and therefore tend to be misdiagnosed for depression; for instance, the condition is thought to be prevalent in women and less likely in men. Furthermore, men usually mask emotions and therefore report physical symptoms like lack of appetite and trouble sleeping. This explains why men experience more severe symptoms such as drug abuse and suicide.
Common Symptoms of Depression in Men
Depression can have emotional, physical, and behavioral effects on affected individuals. Some common symptoms include:
Physical changes, e.g., tiredness, lack of sleep, weight loss, and headaches
Causes of depression
There are no specific causes for depression. However, there are multiple risk factors that can lead to the condition:
Certain events and life changes can trigger stress in men, leading to depression. For example, losing a job or loved one is often accompanied by feelings of sadness and hopelessness. The stress that results can worsen and, over time, cause depression. Whatever the environmental stressor, seeking help from family and friends or a professional can help address the problem before it develops into depression.
Research shows that men who come from families with a history of depression (first-degree relatives such as parents or siblings) are more likely to experience it than those who don't. However, it is not definitive that you will have depression; it only means you are more susceptible to it than anyone else. Being able to recognize the symptoms is vital in ensuring you seek treatment before the condition develops into overblown depression.
Other medical conditions
Health conditions can also be a major cause of depression; specifically, being diagnosed with serious, life-changing conditions, say cancer, can dispose one to mental and psychological problems and consequently lead to depression. Also, men who have a history of other medical conditions can develop depression. Seeking treatment, including therapy and medication, can help deal with the condition.
Certain medications can cause depression, although the relationship between these medications and depression can be complicated. Some medications reported causing depression include oral contraceptives and other hormonal drugs, oral acne medication, cardiovascular medication, certain antiviral medication, corticosteroids, and more. Your doctor can help address any apparent symptoms of depression that result from medication.
Traumatic life events
A boy who experiences traumatic events (for example, sexual abuse and violence) at a young age is likely to develop depression as an adult. Typically, it can lead to careless behaviors like drug abuse as the victim tries to reconcile the events, which can exacerbate depression in older age. Here, early recognition of the problem is important in addressing the issue proactively to prevent the development of bigger problems down the road.
There are several treatment options for dealing with depression. Depending on the severity of the condition, a doctor can prescribe the ideal treatment for you.
Moreover, tests can be conducted to determine if the symptoms are not a result of an underlying condition. Treatment can include medication, talk therapy, and cognitive therapy.
You can deal with depression using medication alongside other coping strategies, for example, exercise; meditation, mindfulness, and yoga; avoiding alcohol and drugs; talking to friends and family, and breaking down tasks. With determination and consistency, you can be sure to get over depression and lead a normal and productive life.
At Butler Hospital, we understand that good health is a requisite for a meaningful life, a reason we provide quality services with the sole goal of making you whole again. Contact us for personalized services to guide you toward treatment and relief.
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