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We’ve all heard it before – the word depression, but do we really know what it means and

how it affects men? Depression is so much more complicated than just being sad and men handle

it differently than women.

Clinical depression is considered an illness that affects the entire body. Researchers with

Mental Health America state that depression disrupts your mood, thoughts, body and behavior,

and it can last for years. While the symptoms are similar in men and women, women are diagnosed

with depression at higher rates than men, but men seek help for their depression less often than


The National Institute on Mental Health (NIMH) sites three reasons men may experience

depression. One, a family history of depression could make men more likely to experience the

disorder. Two, a stressful environment caused by death, a difficult relationship, problems at work,

or other life stressors could trigger depression. Three, medical illnesses like diabetes, heart

disease, cancer and others can also trigger depression. Additionally, medications taken to treat

these diseases can also have side effects that cause or worsen depression.

The NIMH also notes that men and women exhibit similar symptoms for depression, and

often symptoms can be masked as physical issues such as constant headaches, digestive

problems, a tight chest or a racing heart. Men are more likely to have these issues checked than

the emotional symptoms of depression, which include: anger, aggression, feelings of sadness and

hopelessness, overeating or undereating, suicidal thoughts, and withdrawing from family and

friends. Researchers state one of the reasons men choose not to seek help is because of the

stigma associated with depression. Some men believe it is a sign of weakness to discuss their

feelings and emotions while others believe real men are tough and should be able to handle the

stress presented in their lives.

If you believe a man you love is battling with depression here are some tips you can use

to help. Listen carefully and be patient. If he mentions suicide call a therapist or doctor

immediately. Encourage him to eat a healthy diet and exercise, both can help to trigger

hormones in his body to lift his mood, and encourage him to see his regular doctor and a

therapist, even if he says no, a little encouragement never hurts.


Depression in Men  was originally published on