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Nancy Schimelpfening

Male Depression Often Overlooked by Doctors

By May 4, 2010

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Many men are suffering in silence with their depression because doctors are only trained to look for the condition in women, says UK mental health charity Mind.

The group further claims that if more were done to diagnose male depression, particularly in middle-aged men, many lives could be saved.

Mind says that despite the perception that women are more likely to experience depression, men are just as likely to suffer from the condition, and, in fact, are more likely to commit suicide.

According to Mind CEO Paul Farmer, "Statistics tell us that women are more likely to have depression than men. In reality men are just as likely to experience depression, but are far less likely to seek help, be diagnosed or receive treatment."

Why do fewer men get the help they need? According to Farmer, it's because doctors are trained to look for signs of depression that are more common in women, such as turning on themselves. Depressed men, however, are more likely to become aggressive and angry, says Farmer. In addition, they are less likely to ask for help because of stereotypes such as "real men don't cry."

"We are encouraging GPs to look out for some of the more male symptoms of depression - such as anger or agression," said Farmer, "and calling for the increased provision of mental health services tailored for men." Farmer believes that these stepped up efforts can keep men from slipping through the cracks and save many lives.

Comments
May 5, 2010 at 3:44 am
(1) Ali Jaffar Zaidi says:

I fully agree with the view that men are are not at all consideredto be suffering from depression. In Pakistan alone men are under going lot of hardships like earning of livelyhood, security, security of job, unemployment, joint family system, women less educated (Lac of compatibility) extreme weather and many other stress and strains in life.

I would suggest that a proper awareness program to be carried out for the doctors who specialize in depression therapy so that they also consider men that they also are pray to depression.

thank you
Jaffar

May 5, 2010 at 4:41 am
(2) Tim S says:

I do believe there is as much depression in males as opposed to females and agree that it shows and develops in different ways, such as through internallised anger. Part of the issue is not just that men see it as a ‘weakness’ but that a few ‘old school’ doctors don’t view depression in men as serious. I am male and I go out of my way to talk about depression in myself as much as possible, including going on the radio, to highlight that it can be a very ‘dangerous’ illness. I personally feel that the speeding up of society and the increased ‘multitasking’ expected within that world (including so called leisure activities) mean that men find it harder to adjust to life.

May 5, 2010 at 8:20 am
(3) cblint says:

I am so glad to see this article. Depression in men is widespread and pernicious. I know a 74 yr. old; he is moody, volatile, explodes at the drop of a hat, has sleep disorders, apnea, is impossible to live with. These men are very lonely b/c no one will have them. And the doctors are blind to it. There’s no one to turn to as a concerned friend or family member. The man will blame anyone but himself, will seek no help b/c “he does not have a problem”. Help!

May 5, 2010 at 8:39 am
(4) bruces says:

cblint,,, when men reach a certain age they have seen all there is to see and know all there is to know about life. At that point, they know that it is up to them to make a difference and no one can do it for them. Depression sets in, suicide is contemplated and some just trod along in a kind of oblivion hoping someone/something will put them out of their misery. Others continue to takes stabs at incomplete lives but it is never enough and then there is always tomorrow,,, “what am I going to do tomorrow?” It’s just the way it is… As for your volatile friend, f**k him, he knows the score.

May 5, 2010 at 9:20 am
(5) Arthur Griffin says:

It is heartless and dangerous to just dismiss someone such as a friend with depression, anger, etc. What if he/she shot you and your family: then to bad, so sad.

Art

May 5, 2010 at 9:49 am
(6) bruces says:

Arthur, we run the risk of getting shot or run over everyday by people we don’t know. Are we going to be “nice” to everybody just because they may have a gun. From cblint’s description, it didn’t sound like she was connected to the ole coot either by blood or friendship… just someone she “know”s.

May 5, 2010 at 11:04 am
(7) Sandra Greenwood says:

I don’t drive anymore and rely on my 28 year old son (we live together since neither one of us can afford to live on our own) and when we are out and about, have noticed his anger and agression. It has come to a point that it worries me when he is like that. He knows he has a depression problem and when he talks to the doctor about his problem, they will prescribe first one and then the other meds and my son has to stop them after several weeks since they effect him a very different way. He does not smoke now since we found out I have diabetis, and he will not take up smoking again. So what is a person to do?.

May 5, 2010 at 1:05 pm
(8) Arthur Griffin says:

Bruce, apparently we have much difference in philosophy. I think we should have a compassionate attitude toward everyone, and IF we get the opportunity to help someone, we do so.

The gun possibility was just reality; it happens quite a bit. It can be taken to picked on kids who feel helpless.

We just disagree,

Art

May 5, 2010 at 1:17 pm
(9) Jay says:

It is all very well for a doctor to be aware that there is depression but if the man refuses to take any medication and keeps on putting his family through this hardship: Who is to blame? This has happened to me and my husband refuses to take any prescribed medication , even the medication has a stigma attatched because of media reports of suicide etc. It is truly a dilema.

May 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm
(10) Paul H. says:

I agree with this article and most of the comments, as well. I think it’s really important for men to be willing to talk about their depression to anyone, as long as they feel comfortable and safe.
In regard to statements like “real men don’t cry” – I beg to differ. In fact, I believe it takes a very strong man to cry in front of others, or to otherwise show tender emotion. I definitely know that depression can manifest itself in the form of anger and aggression. It happens to me all the time.

Best wishes everyone.
Paul H.

May 5, 2010 at 2:19 pm
(11) Lori says:

Thank you for bring this overlooked concern about males’ mental health to the forum. Sad, but true is that these men with depression seek self-medication via alcohol, drugs and/or ponography.

May 5, 2010 at 4:53 pm
(12) bruces says:

Lori,

Very true. I suppose they should be running marathons instead or finding meaning in their work, home and/or families.

May 5, 2010 at 7:00 pm
(13) Deb says:

I’m so glad to see more about male depression. My husband suffers from depression, for aleast the past 7 years. He’s so negative, mad at the world, everyone’s out to screw him over. He’s definately NOT the man I married almost 25 yrs. ago. He will NOT get help, says he doesn’t need it. But he really needs help in the worst way. But won’t admit that he has a problem. And if I say anything to him if causes a fight.

May 6, 2010 at 10:46 pm
(14) Jamie says:

I was blessed to have a doctor who immediately diagnosed me with major depression almost 15 years ago. What a relief. Years after I started letting people know about my illness and many other men friends of mine admitted the same. Talk about it and forget about the stigma. Nobody thinks less of you, in fact it ticks me off that most people just forget after you become well for a while. Sometimes we take ourselves too seriously.

May 11, 2010 at 8:28 am
(15) adeyera says:

I agree with you.I think this is an area that need urgent attention.Keep up the good work.

June 18, 2010 at 3:21 pm
(16) John says:

Men are 4 times more likely to commit suicide than women, may I suggest men are 4 times more likely to get depression than women? NOT JUST as much as women but 4 TIMES.

Scientists and sociologist said women are MORE likely to get depression than men, then they are WRONG by a factor of five to EIGHT. WRONG by a factor of five to EIGHT.

July 27, 2010 at 9:52 am
(17) James says:

Totally agree and relate to the article above, and to be honest, who cares if men or women get depression more or not, it’s a fact that doctors only seem to look for it in women and there is the problem.

I’m a manic depressive, I know it, my family and friends know it (they have lived through the episodes with me), doctors (I have asked for help 3 times now) just tell me I’m being silly and that I seem such a nice gentleman, I am not the sort that needs to worry about depression. No wonder men sometimes do silly things, I’ve thought of sitting there and running a sharp-implement down my arm (not veins, don’t panic yourselves now) while sitting there just so perhaps it’ll make them see that no, I’m not in for a polite little chin-wag, I really am that serious about needing someone to take me seriously. Though however tempted and close I may be to doing that, I don’t think i could, as I worry the implication on those I love may be too much, but it’s increasingly difficult to be taken seriously and therefore increasingly frustrating and damaging.

More awareness would be a fantastic thing.

April 29, 2012 at 1:26 pm
(18) S.R. says:

Men who do not deal with their depression, will hurt and wound their loved ones.

Depression in men is a serious problem, and most men are suffering without acknowledging it.

The key to healing from depression and its severe pain is to come out of denial and FACE IT.

It is to acknowledge that you are NOT alone, and that you are dealing with a severe disharmony within.

Freedom from depression is possible, but only with courage.

Men who suffer from depression without acknowledging it, impose their pain on the people they love the most (and this is a big reason why human suffering is passed on from generation to generation).

It takes courage to come out of denial.

Here are three LIFE CHANGING books that helped me come out of a severe depression (which lasted 15 years), which was to the larger extent due to my father’s unacknowledged and suppressed depression and the emotional wounding I experienced as a result of living with him:

I Don’t Want to Talk About It: Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression (by Terrence Real)

The Revolutionary Trauma Release Process: Transcend Your Toughest Times (by Dr. David Berceli)

The Presence Process: A Journey into Present Moment Awareness (Michael Brown)

A lot of the discord and violence in our society is due to the chain of violence (whether physical, emotional, or both), being passed on from generation to generation, especially father to son, in the form of suppressed depression.

The courageous are those men who face the demon of depression, and through inner strength and external support, slay the beast.

The truth shall make us free.

- S.R.

P.S. Pharmaceuticals only cover the symptoms and don’t allow a man to truly heal. See the three books above for real insight into depression and how to deal with it.

November 18, 2013 at 7:12 am
(19) Mouse says:

If men can’t be bothered, or think it is a sign of weakness to go for medical assistance when they are depressed, then I do not see that it is the fault of the doctors. Men, generally, are only too willing to seek medical aid or/and whine when they have influenza or a sprained ankle, it is the mans view of things that needs to change.

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