Symptoms of Depression in Men

Depression in men can look different. This can make depression harder to spot in men. Doctors may also be less likely to think depression is the cause of a man's health problems. Some men may not want to admit that they are depressed. They may think that having depression makes them weak or less manly.

The good news is depression is treatable. If you or someone you know has any of the symptoms below, seek medical help.

Men’s Symptoms

Men may with depression may act out by:

  • Using alcohol or drugs to get through each day
  • Use distractions to avoid or escape feelings such as working too much
  • Watching more TV than usual
  • Easily irritable or angry
  • Violence to himself or others
  • Arguing or “looking for trouble”
  • Acting hostile
  • Doing risky things
  • Having affairs or cheating

Usual Symptoms of Depression

Men may also have the usual symptoms of depression:

  • Not wanting to do things you enjoy, including sex
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Feeling very tired
  • Having trouble focusing or making decisions
  • Sleeping too much or too little
  • Not being able to sleep
  • Eating more or less than usual, or gaining or losing weight without trying
  • Feeling restless or irritable
  • Aches and pains or other physical problems that don’t get better with treatment
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

Some men may show more symptoms than others.

Suicide Prevention

Depression can lead to suicide if not treated. Men die by suicide more often than women, even though women make more suicide attempts. This could be because women seek help more than men do or that men often use guns. Suicidal thoughts are an emergency. Men may show the following signs:

  • Talk about wanting to die or commit suicide— always take these threats seriously.
  • Talk about feelings of hopelessness and giving up
  • Plan for death, such as giving away favorite things
  • Withdrawing from family and friends

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or call for medical help right away.

The Importance of Getting Help

Depression can be treated. Many mental health professionals have experience working with men who have depression. The first step toward getting better is asking for help.

RESOURCES:

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance
http://www.dbsalliance.org
International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression
http://www.ifred.org

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Canadian Psychiatric Association
http://www.cpa-apc.org
Canadian Psychological Association
http://www.cpa.ca

References:

Depression in men. Help Guide website. Available at: https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/depression-in-men.htm. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Five myths that prevent men from fighting depression. National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed January 21, 2021.
Major depressive disorder (MDD). EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
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Accessed January 21, 2021.
Men and depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/men-and-depression/index.shtml. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Suicide. Office on Women's Health website. Available at: https://www.womenshealth.gov/mens-health/top-health-concerns-for-men/suicide.html. Accessed January 21, 2021.
Last reviewed January 2021 by EBSCO Medical Review Board
Last Updated: 1/29/2021

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