Men and women sometimes show different signs of depression. Men tend to mask their emotions, while women express them more freely. It leads to men going undiagnosed but knowing what to watch for can help you recognize someone who is depressed.
Men sometimes develop unhealthy coping methods when experiencing depression. These coping techniques are often the most telling signs that they feel depressed.
There can be irreparable consequences if depression goes undiagnosed. Learning the signs to look for in men can help ensure they receive the help they need.
NOTE: Men aren’t the only ones who show signs, and you can read about depression in women in a separate article. However, this article discusses depression in men, helping you identify the differing indications.
Twelve Signs of Depression in Men
Not all men will exhibit these signs, and they might only show a few. Everyone is different, but this list is a beneficial place to start considering whether someone might be depressed.
1 – Trouble Sleeping
Having trouble sleeping is one of the most obvious signs of depression. Studies show a strong correlation between the two, with nearly 75% of depressed subjects experiencing insomnia.
2 – Frequent Headaches
Being depressed can trigger frequent headaches or migraines. Experts confirm this, with studies showing the correlation.
3 – Back Pain
Depression increases the risk of lower back pain, making it a sign you shouldn’t ignore. It’s not always associated with aches and pains, but studies show the correlation.
This sign often gets dismissed because it can indicate other issues. However, it’s an essential aspect to consider.
4 – Low Self-esteem
A depressed man might feel like he isn’t essential or valuable. Sometimes he’ll even think his loved ones would be better off without him. Constantly feeling this way about who he is can indicate that he’s experiencing mental health issues.
5 – Alcohol or Drug Use
Men are more likely than women to turn to alcohol or drugs to cope with depression. They might feel like they must use substances to get through their day. However, these substances often worsen the negative symptoms instead of helping.
6 – Spending Less Time with Friends and Family
A man who used to love spending time with his friends and family might stop seeing them. His visits and communications will decrease, showing that something is bothering him. Depression often leads to isolation, and you shouldn’t ignore this sign.
7 – Decreased Performance at Work
When a man doesn’t do as well at work as he used to, it’s a red flag. Continued issues indicate that he might be depressed and could use some support.
The man might experience decreased functioning, more absences, or lower productivity. He might also struggle with holding a job and seems to jump around looking for the best fit.
8 – Indecisiveness
It can be hard to make decisions when someone is experiencing mental health problems. They might struggle to decide on major aspects of their life, like their career or where they’ll live. It can also show in minor details, including being unable to choose where to eat or what to wear.
9 – Changed Appetite
Someone with depression might experience an appetite change. The person might eat more or less than usual. Either way, it hints at underlying problems.
10 – Forgetting Things
Being depressed can make a man forget things or experience brain fog. Studies show that they often exhibit poor memory and impaired recollection of events. Other research shows that depression can raise cortisol levels, shrinking or weakening parts of the brain associated with memory.
11 – Decreased Sexual Desire or Performance
When a man loses interest in sex or experiences decreased performance, it could indicate depression. Studies show they might not want to engage in sexual acts as often as before.
12 – Irritability or Anger
A sign of depression in men is unexplained or unwarranted irritability or anger. They might become aggressive or lash out at those around them. Women sometimes do this, too, but it’s more common in men.
Understanding Depression in Men
As a mood disorder, depression can affect someone’s thoughts, feelings, behavior, and body. While it is more common in women, men also experience it. Men are more likely than women to die by suicide, making it essential to recognize the signs.
Depression in men often goes undiagnosed because they don’t discuss it as often or seek treatment from professionals. However, the American Psychological Association shows that at least nine percent of men in the United States experience symptoms daily. More than 30% of men experience it at least once in their lifetime.
While not discussing their feelings is one reason men don’t receive a diagnosis, they’re also more likely to be misdiagnosed. Since they don’t always communicate their feelings, their doctor might only have the physical symptoms to go by. It can lead to miscommunication and an inaccurate diagnosis.
Sometimes mental health conditions aren’t diagnosed because people look for sadness or emotional behavior. However, those signs aren’t always the main symptoms, causing people to overlook the other indicators.
What to do if You’re Depressed
You can’t ignore it if you suspect you or someone you know is depressed. Some of the things you can do include the following:
Reach Out to a Trusted Loved One
Talking about your feelings isn’t always easy, but it can help you. Your loved ones want what’s best for you, and they’ll be there if you want to talk or need company. You might have to push yourself to reach out, but you’ll be glad you did.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
CBT is a type of psychotherapy that helps you modify your thought patterns. As you change your thoughts, you’ll experience improved mood and behavior, helping ease your symptoms. The therapist will offer direction and guidance to help you overcome negative thoughts and symptoms.
Physical activity releases endorphins that can boost your mood. Exercise can also help take your mind off depression, allowing you to see the positive aspects of your life.
Develop and Stick to a Daily Routine
Having a routine can make each day a little easier to handle. You’ll know what to expect, easing some of the symptoms. It can also help you cope with unexpected changes, create healthy habits, and improve relationships.
Break Tasks Down
When you’re depressed, your tasks might seem daunting. Sometimes you won’t want to start them because you feel like you’ll never finish them.
Breaking your tasks down into more manageable experiences can help you make progress. Once you see your progress, it’ll encourage you to keep going and make you feel better.
Practice Mindfulness Meditation
Meditation can change how you think, helping you release negative thoughts and replace them with positivity. You don’t push away negative thoughts during meditation. Instead, you recognize and acknowledge them without judging or criticizing yourself.
The negative thoughts will cross your awareness, but meditation teaches you to let them go. It helps you realize that bad things don’t always happen because there are other possibilities.
Meditation can also help you learn to stay present rather than becoming lost in your thoughts. You’ll recognize depressive symptoms before they consume your mind, allowing you to find a beneficial way.
Studies show that yoga can help ease depressive symptoms. You don’t have to be an expert or spend hours doing the exercise to experience the benefits.
More research is needed as the results can vary, although most patients showed improvement. Some potential factors that affect the results include the following:
- different yoga styles
- duration of the yoga session
- the environment you do it in
Try Deep Breathing
Deep breathing can help reduce depressive symptoms. The best breathing exercises for the condition are rhythm-based and can help you reach a restful, meditative state. The rhythm often involves slow, calm breaths that you alternate with fast, stimulating ones.
Get Plenty of Sleep
Sleep is essential to managing your mental health. When you don’t get enough rest, you’re more likely to experience depressive symptoms. For those who already have symptoms, lack of sleep can worsen them.
Make an Appointment with a Professional
Your doctor or a mental health professional can diagnose depression and give you resources to help. They’ll have suggestions and healthy coping methods can help you get through.
Reach Out to Emergency Services
Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts or actions. It’s essential to get immediate help if this situation occurs. You can call 911 or contact a suicide hotline. You can also use a free Lifeline Chat to speak with someone if you don’t want to talk on the phone.
Final Thoughts on Signs of Depression in Men to Never Ignore
Depression can be hard to recognize, especially if someone doesn’t show their emotions well. The signs differ for men and women, further confusing the situation. Knowing the signs to watch for can help you or someone you know seeks help.
Increased awareness can make a difference and empower men to seek a diagnosis and treatment options. Treating depression is essential, or the condition could worsen. A man’s overall well-being can improve with treatment, helping him live a happy, fulfilling life.