Male depression

Is it just fatigue or is there more to it? Its impact on man’s daily life

Although it can affect both men and women, depression has different ways of manifesting itself. When it occurs in men, it may be hidden behind unhealthy behavior, in some cases erratic and eventually bringing difficulties in coping.

For a number of reasons, male depression often goes undiagnosed and can have devastating consequences when left untreated. Although it usually improves with treatment, male depression is an issue that is often overlooked or ignored altogether. Despite being a scourge that affects people of all genders, men are more hesitant to talk about their feelings and emotions, so many choose to ignore the signs and do not even contemplate seeking help.

The Reality of Male Depression

Male depression is a mental illness that affects millions of men around the world. It is often characterized by continuous feelings of sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in daily activities and alterations in appetite or sleep cycle. Although depression manifests itself in different ways in both men and women, the symptoms are equally debilitating and intrusive and can significantly interfere with daily activities.

However, despite the prevalence of male depression, many men avoid talking about their feelings, overlooking a number of physical symptoms as well, minimizing their impact on their daily lives and obstructing the possibility of seeking treatment. This happens in part to the social stigmas that surround everything related to male mental health, since most of the time it is perceived as a sign of weakness or lack of masculinity. As a result, many men prefer to keep quiet about what is happening to them and suppress emotions and feelings, sometimes using unhealthy coping strategies. In many cases, this leads them to excesses in work, sports, vices, among others.

Some not-so-visible signs of male depression

  • Extreme fatigue
  • Irritability
  • Sadness, hopelessness or emptiness
  • Excessive sleep or insomnia
  • Recurrent headaches
  • Substance abuse
  • Escape behaviors such as overloading themselves with work, sports or any activity that keeps them busy most of the time.
  • Not enjoying activities they usually enjoy
  • Estrangement from partner, family or friends

How relationships are affected

Male depression has a very significant impact on relationships. If one partner is affected by depression, it can negatively affect communication, intimacy and the emotional stability of the relationship. Here are some of the possible impacts that male depression can have on a relationship:

  • Poor Communication: As mentioned earlier men suffering from depression may experience difficulty expressing their feelings and needs to their partners, which can contribute to misunderstandings and conflict in the relationship.
  • Emotional Distancing: Some men sometimes decide to withdraw emotionally from their partners either unconsciously or simply looking for an escape. Avoiding physical and mainly emotional contact, creating a barrier in the relationship.
  • How does it affect privacy? Due to that depression probably involves a number of factors beyond the visible, it is possible that sexual desire is affected as brain chemistry and hormones are thought to be significantly altered compared to those men who are not depressed.
  • Men’s ability to engage in intimate activities with their partners is also impaired, which can lead to tensions and resentment in the relationship.
  • Increased Stress: Partners of men suffering from this condition may experience elevated stress levels and in turn are prone to anxiety as they try to provide support and understanding while dealing with their own worries and responsibilities.

It is said that depression in men only affects them after the age of 40.

There are many myths and beliefs surrounding this topic, which often instead of providing help or support, generate confusion to people who are interested in it. In this case, as previously mentioned, male depression can occur at any age and should not be confused with age-related hormonal changes or with some other undiagnosed mental problem. Therefore, it is very important to know how to identify the signs in order to reach an accurate diagnosis and from there, a treatment that can contribute to the improvement of the man and in turn improve his quality of life. It is crucial to break the taboo surrounding male depression and encourage an open and compassionate dialogue about mental health. When we talk openly about depression, men may feel more empowered and confident to seek help and receive the support they need to recover. We can start progressively but always keeping in mind that understanding, communication and support are key in the road to recovery.

What can we do to help a man with depression?

Here are some ideas on how you can begin the recovery process for you, a family member or partner who is going through this process:

  • Education and Awareness: By promoting education and awareness about male depression we can help eradicate the stigmas and prejudices associated with male mental health.
  • Support and Empathy: Providing a supportive and empathetic environment can encourage men to share their experiences and seek treatment without fear of judgment or social stigma.
  • Access to Resources: By ensuring that men have access to mental health resources and services we would be assured that they receive the treatment and support necessary for that purpose.
  • Encourage communication: The more we talk about and make visible this issue the more open and honest communication will be in couple relationships therefore, this could help to give the right approach to the challenges associated with male depression and strengthen the emotional connection between partners.

We must remember that it is very important to recognize and address the reality of male depression and its impacts on the daily lives of both the man and his partner. By breaking the taboo surrounding men’s mental health and fostering an open and compassionate dialogue, we can help men receive the support and care they need to recover and live healthier, happier lives.

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