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Depression in Men


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.

How is depression in men treated?

More than 80% of people with depression -- both men and women -- can be treated successfully with antidepressant medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. If you are uncertain about whom to call for help with depression, check out the following list from the National Institute of Mental Health:

  • Community mental health centers
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Family doctors
  • Family service/social agencies
  • Health maintenance organizations
  • Hospital psychiatry departments and outpatient clinics
  • Local medical or psychiatric societies
  • Mental health specialists such as psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, or mental health counselors
  • Private clinics and facilities
  • State hospital outpatient clinics
  • University or medical school affiliated programs
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Joseph Goldberg, MD on May 11, 2014
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