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Depression Health Center

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Depression in Men

What are the consequences of untreated depression in men?

Depression in men can have devastating consequences. The CDC reports that men in the U.S. are about four times more likely than women to commit suicide. A staggering 75% to 80% of all people who commit suicide in the U.S. are men. Though more women attempt suicide, more men complete the act of actually ending their lives. This may be due to the fact that men tend to use more lethal and violent methods of committing suicide, for example using a gun rather than taking an overdose of pills.

Why is depression in men so hard to accept?

Understanding how men in our society are brought up to behave is particularly important in identifying and treating their depression. Depression in men often can be traced to cultural expectations. Men are supposed to be successful. They should rein in their emotions. They must be in control. These cultural expectations can mask some of the true symptoms of depression. Instead, men may express aggression and anger -- seen as more acceptable "tough guy" behavior.

Is a stigma attached to depression in men?

Yes. And men generally have a hard time dealing with the stigma of depression. They are more likely to deal with their symptoms by drinking alcohol, abusing drugs, or pursuing other risky behavior. Many men avoid talking about depressed feelings to friends or family.

Is depression common in elderly men?

Although depression is not a normal part of aging, senior men may have medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, or other stressors that may contribute to depression. For example, there may be excessive losses (such as friends, physical health, spouses, income, meaningful work). Retirement is difficult for many men because they end up with no routine or set schedule to follow. These changes may increase the stress they feel, and a loss of self-esteem may contribute to depression. In addition, the death of family and friends, the onset of other health problems, and some medications can contribute to depression in men.

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