Is Depression Different for Men? What Are the Signs of Depression in Men?
My father is a stoic man who rarely talks about his feelings. My mother passed away a couple of years ago, and I'm worried that he may be depressed. I was treated for depression about 10 years ago, so I know what depression looks like in women. Is depression different for men? If so, what are the signs of depression in men?
Depression is a serious medical condition that negatively affects virtually all areas of a person's life. It can affect anyone, regardless of age, ethnic background, socioeconomic status, or gender. However, men have a lower risk for developing depression than women. In fact, women are two times more likely to experience an episode of depression and four times more likely to experience repeated depression than men.
It is difficult to know for certain if depression is truly less common in men or if the condition goes unrecognized more often in men. Men may be less likely to recognize signs of depression and to seek help if they feel depressed. This is due, in part, to societal expectations, which may cause some men to believe expressing emotions or feeling depressed is a sign of weakness.
Furthermore, many males may not realize that "physical" symptoms -- including headaches, chronic pain, and digestive disorders like constipation and diarrhea -- can be associated with depression.
In general, the signs of depression are the same for men and women. That is, the common symptoms can affect either gender. However, men may experience depression differently than women.
Studies have shown that men are more likely to report changes in activity (such as feeling restless or slowed down), feelings of worthlessness, and problems concentrating than women. And they are less likely to report appetite and sleep changes.
Suicide attempts and deaths by suicide also differ between men and women. While women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to successfully complete a suicide attempt. Older men have the highest risk for suicide completion. Please seek immediate medical attention if you or someone you love is feeling depressed, or has thoughts of suicide or self-harm.