ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

How to Identify Depression in Men - Causes and Cures

Updated on September 9, 2014

Does the man in your life suffer from depression?A guide on how to help him cope...

"Men are from Mars, women are from Venus." So goes the age-old maxim and title of John Gray’s ever popular relationship handbook. The idiom holds true for one of the most debilitating yet common and curable diseases in modern day society; depression.

Extensive research has revealed that both sexes are likely to suffer from depression at some point in their lives, yet more women are diagnosed and treated for the disease. Also the attempted suicide rate was found to be slightly higher for women. However, the suicide completion rate of men was significantly higher than that of their female counterparts. One of the most profound differences with depression between the sexes is that women tend to communicate their emotions more often and effectively than men. Sadly, societal norms dictate that a man needs to be in control and strong with all of his emotions intact all of the time. A man would then be less likely to admit he has an emotional problem, thinking he would be deemed as weak, inadequate or unmanly. Therefore a depressed woman is more likely to be diagnosed and treated for depression because women talk about their feelings.

Depression in men tends to manifest in fatigue, anger, frustration, insomnia, aggression, irritability, social withdrawal, erectile dysfunction, loss of appetite and weight and the lack of concentration. They are more likely to go the doctor and complain about the physical aches and pains associated with depression than their emotional state, thus creating a misdiagnosis. Men are also more likely to self- treat themselves by delving compulsively into their work; reckless behavior and many turn to alcohol and drugs as a self medicating mechanism. It’s also been reported that men suffer a higher death rate due to heart disease after experiencing prolonged and untreated states of depression; so identifying, communicating the problem and resolving the issue is crucial.

Causes of depression in men

  • Separation and divorce: Globally, men who are either separated or divorced from their partners are in the highest suicide risk group due to depression. They often have to deal with stress related to not seeing their children, moving and financial difficulties. The loneliness and isolation also increases depression.
  • Pregnancy and fatherhood: New fathers often feel depressed if their partner is suffering from post-natal blues. Men may feel rejected by their partners as new moms often shower all their love and attention on their new arrivals.
  • Impotence: Depression and erectile dysfunction in men are inextricably linked. A man may feel sexually inadequate due to impotence and this could lead to depression or the use of anti-depressants and certain medications could in turn lead to erectile dysfunction.
  • Gay men and depression: Depression caused by stress, especially in homosexual adolescents who have yet to ‘come out’ with their sexual preferences.
  • Unemployment and Retirement: Since the exodus of time, man was thought to be the breadwinner. Most men would feel depressed at the thought of having to think of their partner as the breadwinner. Psychologically, a man attaches his identity and sense of self worth to his career. When that is taken away from him, he may become overwhelmed by that loss of identity. His job might also have given him status. When men retire they may miss their income, their colleagues and all the social interaction. They may also become disoriented and miss the structure of their day. Having to adjust creates anxiety.
  • Stress and anxiety: Prolonged stress and anxiety if not dealt with could lead to depression.
  • Andropause: The male ‘version’ of menopause or midlife crisis, could cause depression in men.
  • Inherited tendencies: Research has revealed that bipolar disorder (manic depression) tends to be somewhat inherited in families.
  • Physical conditions: Heart attack, dementia, stroke, cancer, Parkinson’s disease and hormonal imbalances can also lead to depression.
  • Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder – ADHD sufferers tend to suffer from periodic patterns of depression.
  • Death: The trauma suffered due to the loss of a loved one could lead to depression.
  • Old age: The aged are prone to depression due to illness and loneliness.
  • Low self esteem: This could lead to depression, i.e. an overweight man could become depressed due to poor body image.

Natural healers:

  • Communication and effective diagnosis: Encourage him to express his emotions to a professional and obtain a proper physical and mental diagnosis. Go for counseling, psychotherapy or join a support group together. Your GP should be your first port of call, whereby he or she could make referrals.
  • Help him to adopt a positive and healthy mental attitude. Depression is usually more common in pessimists.
  • Encourage regular exercise: Research has revealed that daily 30 minute sessions of exercise can improve mood as much as anti-depressants. It releases feel ‘happy’ hormones or endorphins. Exercise is also good for vitality and weight loss and men suffering from low self esteem due to obesity could benefit. A good form of exercise for elderly men is Tai Chi.
  • Create awareness around him avoiding stressful situations: If possible help him to reduce his stress at work by evaluating the reasons for him being overly competitive. Does he have an underlying need to control and win in every situation? If so, try to understand where it is coming from and help him deal with it.
  • St.John’s Wort: This could be used to combat less severe depression but should not be administered to those with bipolar disorder, liver and kidney disease.
  • Omega – 3 fatty acids: Depressed individuals have low dietary intakes of this.
  • Research on how to improve natural feel good hormones: Serotonin improves mood, GABA creates calm and improves relaxation, and Dopamine and noradrenaline are mood elevators.
  • Adaptogens (herbs that alleviate stress) that could be used to combat depression are ginseng, reishi mushrooms, liquorice and rhodiola according to the SA journal of natural medicine.
  • His diet: Encourage him to reduce his intake of sweets, avoid caffeine, drugs and alcohol, and increase your intake of Folic Acid, vitamin B6 and magnesium, as stress depletes magnesium.
  • And last but certainly not least, encourage him to become his very own spiritual guru. Help him find his true calling, his soul mates, and a connection with his higher power.

Copyright Melanie Fourie 2011

Using exercise to combat depression


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)