What Causes Depression in Men?
Men often learn from a young age that it’s important for them to be tough. They have to be able to take a hit without shrieking, chug a beer without stopping, and sideline their feelings without caring.
When men are taught to close themselves off from the world emotionally, depression can be hard to spot. It can be even harder to admit to yourself with full confidence that you have it.
Let’s break down what causes depression in men.
Common Signs of Depression in Men
It can be hard to know whether you’re depressed if you rarely acknowledge your most negative feelings. Constantly feeling despair, hopelessness, and sadness is a symptom of depression. Once you let yourself notice and share these feelings, you will be one step closer to getting treatment.
Here are some other symptoms to look out for in yourself or loved ones…
- Irritable behavior
- Intense anger or frustration; outbursts
- Displays of aggression
- Low self-esteem; feeling worthless
- Indifference about hobbies you used to love
- Thoughts of suicide
- Excessive alcohol or drug use
- Overworking yourself to distract
- Reckless behavior
- Unexplained pains like headaches, backaches, etc.
- Rapid weight loss or gain
- Trouble falling or staying asleep
- Change in appetite
- Lower sex drive
Causes of Male Depression
Many things can cause depression, from your biology to your childhood home. Let’s go over some of the main risks:
Significant changes and life experiences can onset depression.
If you felt connected to your place of work, getting fired or laid off can trigger depression as you adjust to new norms. Experiencing the death of a loved one can leave you feeling empty, lonely, and confused about how to carry on. Breaking up with someone who gave your life meaning and filled your days with conversation can cause depression.
Think back to when your symptoms started. What was going on in your life?
If you have a family history of depression, you’re more likely to develop it at some point.
Sometimes depression has no obvious cause—our brain simply develops unbalanced levels of the “happy” neurotransmitters: serotonin, dopamine, and/or norepinephrine. Antidepressants help to balance out these levels.
Certain medications can also cause these hormones to run out of whack.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is seasonal depression and typically starts at the end of the fall and lasts through the dark winter months. Cold weather, short days, and more illness means less social time with the ones you love.
Plus, research suggests that Vitamin D—which we get a generous amount of under the summer sun—has a strong correlation with feelings of depression.
Men and Depression: A Unique Experience
First, assume most numbers you know about the number of men who have depression to be slightly inaccurate. Depression is often underdiagnosed in men due to their feeling pressured to hide and mask their emotions around friends and family. Oftentimes, their depression is even misdiagnosed with something else.
The three most overlooked symptoms are unexplained physical pains, constant anger, and reckless choices. You might think you’re in pain because of a bad move in your workout or that you’re angry because you’re out with all the bad drivers today. You may think your recent choice to pick up skydiving is because you’re fun and free-wheeling, and not because you ran out of other ways to numb out.
Men with depression are more likely to show anger and aggression than women with depression. They are also more likely to cope with substances to avoid having distressing thoughts.
While women are more likely to be diagnosed with depression, men are likely to complete suicide. If you or a loved one have depressive thoughts, schedule an appointment with me today for adult therapy. There is no shame in living the life you want—both inside your head and out.