Who, Me Depressed? No Way ...

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and PreventionPharmaceutical Industry

Real men don't need help, right? Think again.

Depression occurs in both men and women. And, while the rate of depression in men is less than for women, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, over 6 million men suffer from depression each year.

Depression in men is often traced to cultural expectations. In an effort to express more acceptable "tough guy" behavior, the symptoms that men experience can be different than those that women experience. Symptoms including anger, aggression, irritability, and feeling discouraged are more common in men than symptoms of hopelessness or helplessness.

Typical symptoms associated with depression may not be obvious in men, which can make it more difficult to identify. Some men may work more, gamble, or use alcohol to avoid their feelings. Those who are married might even begin to suddenly talk about divorce or separation.

Unfortunately, men are not as likely as women to admit to having depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 80 percent of people with depression, both men and women, can be treated successfully with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. However, even if a man does admit to having depression, he is less likely to seek treatment.

According to the CDC, women attempt suicide more often than men, but the rate of completed suicide in men is 4 times that of women. Suicide rates peak in mid life and again later in life. In fact, men age 85 and older have the highest suicide rate.

Men want and need to be strong for their families; they don't want to appear weak or vulnerable. Retired and unemployed men have a higher chance of developing depression; and, if they are the primary breadwinners, they can feel pressure to continue to provide for their dependents.

Depression in men can be treated a number of ways, including medication, therapy or a combination of the two. If you suspect a friend or loved one may be depressed, urge them to seek a professional evaluation.

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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