Depression affects men, women and children, but often the warning signs and symptoms can be vastly different. Each group responds to stressors uniquely, so we can’t always use the same yardstick to measure each group the in the same way. When it comes to men, it is sometimes harder to seek help – both for the men themselves and the women in their lives who may be unsure how to proceed. Let’s face it – men are not usually as verbal with their friends or partners about their feelings as women and children can be, and this can cause some issues in delaying a diagnosis. Men also don’t always seek help as willingly from doctors or professionals as others may, and this can put them at greater risk for the complications that can go along with depression.
It’s important to work closely with a doctor or trusted mental health professional if you feel like you may be suffering from depression or are merely seeking more information. Some of the things below may indicate signs of depression as they pertain to men. (Note: these signs can also affect women or children. Please seek professional help if you believe you may be depressed. Help is available, and the sooner treatment is sought, the faster you can be on your way to feeling better!)
Signs of depression in men can include:
• Loss of sexual interest or inability to participate in sexual activity.
• Extreme fatigue unrelated to any change in habits.
• Insomnia or marked decrease in the ability to stay asleep.
• Increase in alcohol consumption or the beginning of alcohol consumption where none was used before. This can be an important one to look out for, as adding alcohol or drug abuse into the mix will can quickly exacerbate the situation and make it more difficult to deal with.
• Apathy or general loss of interest. Some men will lose all interest in those activities and hobbies which they previously found enjoyable.
Everyone can have an off day now and again (even a “down” week can be normal during stressful times,) but if you or your partner start noticing a number of changes which are affecting the quality of life or the quality of life for those around you, it’s time to talk to a professional.