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Depression in Men

Why should I care about depression in men?

From childhood, men are taught to be in control of their feelings. And until recently, it looked like they 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 they're really good at is hiding their feelings. Depression in men may always have been far more common than we knew.

Depression touches every race, income level, and age. Identifying depression in men can sometimes be difficult.

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Five years ago, after ending a long-term relationship, Anita became seriously depressed. It benched the once-physically active writer, who asked that her last name be withheld to protect her privacy. She stopped running and began gaining weight and falling out of shape. It was not the first time she had been depressed, and traditional therapy had not helped her as much as she had hoped. This time, she sought out someone different. She found Jane Baxter, PhD, a therapist who was able to get her moving...

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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
  • Are at a low-income level

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

  • Cancer
  • Diabetes
  • Heart disease
  • HIV
  • Stroke

Treating depression can sometimes improve these conditions.

Depression is a serious but treatable medical condition -- a brain disease -- that can strike anyone. In America, more than 6 million men have depression each year. If left untreated, it can result in personal, family, and financial problems. The most serious consequence of depression in men is suicide. Men are four times more likely than women to commit suicide.

What is depression?

Clinical depression is much more than just feeling down. It is a serious disruption of a person’s regular way of thinking, feeling, and acting.

In general, symptoms of depression include

  • Loss of energy
  • Problems sleeping and concentrating
  • Sadness and loss of interest in pleasurable activities
  • Thoughts about death or suicide

These symptoms of depression can last for weeks or months at a time.

Because women are diagnosed with depression 10 times more often than men, these symptoms of depression are really "their" common symptoms. It is common for men to have them also, but the signs of depression in men may be different. Instead of appearing sad, men often can become irritable or aggressive, drink too much, or act recklessly.

Men often don't recognize or admit they're depressed, and they are less likely than women to seek help for depression. Also, because the signs of depression in men can look different than they do in women, doctors may not diagnosis it as often. For these reasons, depression in men may often go unidentified and untreated.

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