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Top 5 Signs of Depression in Men

Updated on July 2, 2013
Over 5 million men in the U.S. will suffer from depression this year.
Over 5 million men in the U.S. will suffer from depression this year. | Source

Do You Know the Symptoms of Depression in Men?

Depression among men and women is a terrible condition that can show up in a variety of ways and affect people differently. Clinical depression is known to cause people to lose interest in things they once found pleasurable and become extremely sad. While clinical depression exhibits similar symptoms in both men and women, men may exhibit a different set of symptoms.

This year, over five million men in the U.S. will experience depression. That means there is a good chance one or more of the men in your life may exhibit these symptoms and possibly even develop clinical depression.


Depression is Very Real and May Affect a Man in Your Life

What will you do about it?

There are some folks out there who don't really think depression is a real problem. Let me just tell you from my own personal experience and the experiences of some close male friends - depression is very real, extremely powerful and can be highly debilitating to people - to the men you care about - fathers, uncles, grandfathers, brothers, cousins, husbands, boyfriends and friends.

Clinical depression in its most severe form is a formidable force that negatively affects the lives of people surrounding the depressed person and, if left untreated, may ultimately destroy everything it touches. Depression is a serious problem and if you don't know much about it, let me encourage you to educate yourself on this important issue.

So, here are the five most common symptoms to look for in determining if the man you love may be depressed.



Sign #1: More Irritable

As strange as it may sound, men may not typically feel "down" when depressed. Here's how it typically works: a man may be feeling pressure or stress from another source - could be his job, finances or family troubles. In any case, he may begin to develop negative thoughts or feelings about what is going on in his life.

In some men, this may manifest as sadness, in others it shows up as irritability. Both may indicate that something is going on in a man's life over which he has little or no control. When these feelings become continual, it's a good sign he may be depressed. A man under extreme pressure with little control is likely to become very easily angered or even hostile.



Sign #2: Can't Seem to Concentrate

When a man becomes worn out, tired or stressed over work, family or other types of ongoing issues, he may experience what is called psychomotor retardation. This simply means his normal abilities to easily and quickly process information, solve problems or assess situations may be hindered.

Concentration becomes difficult and that only adds to the other symptoms like stress, irritability, stress and anxiety.

Depression fills a person's mind with invasive, negative thoughts. Continual attention on those thoughts makes concentrating on anything very difficult. Anyone who cannot concentrate or focus on the day-to-day tasks of a job, family or any other situation is very likely to become easily overwhelmed.

Those feelings of being overwhelmed impair the ability to work or function in everyday life.



Sign #3: Substance Abuse

Probably one of the more apparent and obvious signs that a man may be inching toward depression is an increase or sudden escalation of substance abuse. Alcohol, prescription drugs, illegal drugs - even food can be an indicator that something is not right.

Studies have shown that alcoholics are twice as likely to suffer from depression than those who do not have a drinking problem.

These mind-altering substances appear to most men as a ready fix for any problem they do not wish to face. This is one area where many men are very different from women. Men are much more likely to mask undesirable or uncomfortable feelings by using drugs or alcohol rather than seek professional or medical help.



Sign #4: Extreme Stress or Anxiety

The symptoms of extreme stress in a man's life may mistakenly be perceived as being simple stress rather than more serious depression. The thing about stress is that most men are more likely to report being under too much stress or stressed out - but not depressed.

Apparently for some men, it's more socially acceptable to report suffering from stress than to be depressed. Probably because there is a social stigma of perceived weakness still associated with depression.

Experts report that men who feel depressed may report that they feel stressed. It's also known that stress, especially extreme, prolonged stress under especially difficult circumstances can indeed be a major cause of clinical depression.

Men who do not recognize the symptoms of depression, and report it instead as stress or some other condition may be depriving themselves of much needed help.



Sign #5: Inability to Make a Decision

Depression does many different things to different people. Men seem to be particularly vulnerable to becoming easily overwhelmed by an ongoing difficult situation or worsening problems.

Some people have a natural inability to make a decision and if this is your man, you probably shouldn't be too concerned if he's indecisive.

If your man has never had difficulty in making decisions and suddenly becomes unable to make even simple decisions - like paying bills - then you may have a problem. Like stress and anxiety, depression tend to slow down the processes that help a man make even the simplest decisions.

Extreme fatigue, long-term sleep deprivation, sleeping more than usual, stomachaches or chronic back aches are also known signs that a man may be heading for depression or worse - he may already be clinically depressed.

You should keep an eye out for these types of symptoms if they appear in the lives of the men close to you.


Here's What You May Not Know About Men and Depression

Depression for men is different because men are hard-wired differently. Men prefer to be in control of everything around them. When any of this control is lost, it can affect men on a very emotionally visceral and foundational level. Combine this with the desire to seek help to be perceived as self-weakness or failure and the combination can be extremely destructive or deadly to themselves - and to those around them.

Women close to men exhibiting these symptoms of depression need to be acutely aware of this fact. Men handle and manifest the symptoms of depression very differently than women. Men who are suffering from depression may also respond erratically or act very differently than women with depression.

Look for any of these signs and if you do see them, especially if you see more than two or three manifesting at the same time, I urge you to get help for this person as soon as possible. Depreession is a serious condition which can cause many self-destructive behaviors or possibly suicide.

Of course, if the man you love is having thoughts of suicide or disappearing, then you should seek help immediately.


Take the "Men and Depression" Poll

WHat are some of the major symptoms of depression you have noticed in the man or men in your life?

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Helpful resources about men and depression from Amazon...


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    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Texas

      Good tip, thanks for stopping by.

    • EZ Swim Fitness profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      4 years ago from Southern Wisconsin

      Very informative. Thank you! Voted up! BTW, exercise is a great prescription for depression.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      4 years ago from Texas

      Chatkath - Thanks for stopping by and taking time to read my article. And thanks for the Vote Up!

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Good job. You address an under reported issue that definitely needs attention. Thank you for sharing. Rated up

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      peachpurple - Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to read this and leave a comment. M

    • peachpurple profile image


      5 years ago from Home Sweet Home

      thanks for listing out the symptoms. These are the signs that i often see in my brother temper and my hubby too.

    • MKayo profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago from Texas

      W1totalk - Thanks for stopping by and reading this - hope you learned something new and can share with someone you love. Best, M

    • W1totalk profile image


      5 years ago

      These are all signs I will watch out for. Thank you.


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