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Signs of Depression in Men

Updated on March 2, 2011

Signs of Depression in Men

While most literature and self-help information regarding depression is targeted towards women, men are not immune to this debilitating condition. In fact, men experience depression in a way very similar to women but it's the way it manifests outwardly that is very different. From a very young age, many (not all, but most) boys are raised with expectations from those around them. Expectations for what to wear, what music they should be enjoying, books they should be reading and how they express themselves. While women who are depressed will generally seek a venue to discuss their feelings, men seldom will. Unfortunately, like holding a proverbial balloon underwater, emotions must surface in some way eventually. According to the Centers for Disease Control, men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Men also choose more lethal methods of attempting to commit suicide. If you are a friend, coworker, spouse, family member of a man who may be showing signs of depression, you may be the only hope of identifying an unspoken problem that can be lethal.

Increases in aggressive behavior, anger, even rage

Because men have a tendency (again, generalizing here for the sake of the topic) to seek solace inwardly, stress can be building an inferno inside. Eventually, the fire comes out and, depending on how deep it lies and how long it has been suppressed, it can be downright dangerous. A man struggling with depression may become uncharacteristically angry at minor things, engage in more aggressive behavior like picking random fights or lash out in rage. Again, if this occurs, it's a symptom only if he hasn't exhibited this kind of behavior previously.

Substance abuse, substance use

Substances like alcohol, nicotine and prescription medications are often used to self-medicate in an effort to treat the psychological pain inside. If a man suddenly goes on frequent benders, starts smoking or appears to be under the influence of a drug. This can occur somewhat gradually, as tolerance builds and the need for the substance increases, but if you know the person you can easily identify unusual reliance on substances. This is of particular concern for individuals who are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse. It's easy to fall back into bad habits, especially when the future doesn't appear to offer a solution.

Engaging in high-risk behaviors

A man who is depressed may become less concerned with consequences and more prone to seek high-risk behaviors. This includes risky sexual activity as well as compulsive gambling, and high-risk physical activities. It's one thing to take up a new sport but taking up motocross racing suddenly and expressing verbally or nonverbally a lack of concern for one's life are HUGE red flags! When an individual is depressed, they also have a tendency to seek these behaviors out because they require extra stimulation in order to function at a basic level. Look for the rush, then the crash and burn as a man uses all his adrenaline stores in a sport and sleeps 12 hours afterward.

Workaholism or an all-consuming interest in a hobby

Men are masters of burial. Of emotions, that is It's easier to immerse oneself into work or a hobby that provides a much needed distraction that can be justified. Ignoring any other or most other responsibilities in order to work or engage in an activity all the time is a clear indication that he might be running away without running away. These activities also tend to be performed alone, because isolating oneself is a way to escape criticism. If you have a man in your life who is drowning in his work or activity and doesn't express interest in anything else, you may have a problem that needs professional intervention.


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    • tedcampbell2792 profile image

      tedcampbell2792 6 years ago from NY

      Hi Angela!

      Women are absolutely prone to the same kind of depression. Who wouldn't if they are under stress from working too much or too hard? Have you tried Omega-3's? I can't do the fish oil version, it kills my stomach! Thanks for commenting!

    • AngelaKaelin profile image

      AngelaKaelin 6 years ago from New York

      Interesting! I'm not a man, but I think I fall into that workaholic category. I have to work! If I'm not working on something I don't feel good. I've been like this for a couple of years, at least... or, at least, it has been worse in the past couple of years. I never really knew what the term "workaholic" meant before this. Work is like a drug! I've done a little research on depression for the alt. health market and in some cases of depression, Omega 3 fatty acids have been shown to provide very good results for people - good for fat loss, too! Good job!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 6 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      A very sensible and useful hub. Marked up and useful

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Very helpful hub. I had it a lot when I was a young man. God Bless You.