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Depression in Men

How can I prevent depression?

There is no known medicine, supplement, or herb that prevents a first episode of depression.

After one episode of depression, most people will experience recurrences. But you can prevent or reduce these relapses by:

  • Taking antidepressant medicines consistently as prescribed. Taking medicine for six months to a year after an initial bout of depression prevents depression from coming back.
  • Learning and practicing cognitive therapy techniques. Done properly, these techniques may work as well as antidepressant medicines for some forms of depression to help prevent recurrences.
  • Getting regular exercise and sleep.
  • Avoiding alcohol and drug use, which can cause or worsen depression and make medication treatments for depression work less effectively.

What are the treatments for depression?

There are effective treatments for depression. In fact, more than 80% of men respond to treatment for depression. Your primary care doctor or a psychiatrist can create a treatment plan for you. That plan for treating depression may include:

  • Antidepressants. The medicines most often used for depression treatment today are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs). These antidepressants increase the levels of specific chemicals in the brain.
  • Talk therapy. Many kinds of psychotherapy or talk therapy are effective in treating depression. Cognitive therapy, also called cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and "insight-oriented psychotherapy" are frequently used.

What else do I need to know about depression in men?

It's hard to shake the old ideas about depression in men: "Real men don't cry," and "men sure as hell have to always be in control of their feelings." But it's time to add this new idea to the list: Depression is a medical illness that's biologically different from everyday sadness, and it can afflict both men and women.

You wouldn't ignore pneumonia or heart disease or diabetes. If you think you might have a clinical depression, be a real man and take care of yourself. Ask for help, and get treated. You deserve to feel better -- and with treatment, there is every reason to believe you soon will.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on September 19, 2014
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