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What are some basic facts about depression in men?

Answer by:
WebMD Expert


 

From childhood, men are taught to be in control of our feelings. And until recently, it looked like we were. That’s because until recently, men were diagnosed with depression only about one-tenth as often as women. But new research suggests that what we're really good at is hiding our feelings. Depression in men may always have been far more common than we knew.

Depression touches every race, income level, and age. Each year, at least 7% of men in the U.S. suffer from depression. That's 6 million men. The actual number might be much higher because identifying depression in men is difficult.

Here are some basic facts about depression you should know. You are at risk for depression if you:

  • Have had a prior episode of depression
  • Have family members with depression
  • Abuse alcohol or illicit drugs
  • Have a history of trauma
  • Are at a low-income level

Depression is also more common if you have other illnesses, such as:

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • HIV
  • Stroke

Treating depression can sometimes improve these conditions.

The most serious consequence of depression in men is suicide. Men account for a staggering 80% of suicides in the U.S. And although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are three to four times more likely than women to actually commit suicide.