Signs of Depression in Men: Practical Ways to Manage Symptoms of Depression
Men experience depression differently than women. As men and women's brains have a lot of similarities, there are also some differences as well. As a result, the signs of depression in men can look slightly different.
Men also have a tendency to hold in how they are feeling emotionally. Where women are more verbal and share how they feel, men tend to bottle it up. Guess which is more effective in dealing with depression?
Depression in men can range from a minor nuisance to debilitating in its effects. And the longer and more we bottle up depression, the more intense the impact can be.
When we have a responsibility to provide for ourselves, our family, or others, depression in men can impact our ability to do so. Much of a man's identity is often tied to his ability to provide. This is hard wired into men from our early hunter/gatherer ancestors.
We also want to compete and be successful in our business and career achievements. Whether we are satisfied at our current level and just want to do the best we can or we have our sites aimed at career advancement, depression can throw a wrench into these goals.
And when our ability to provide, to compete, and to succeed is thwarted by depression, this brings with it feelings of self-disappointment and shame which further reinforces the depression in men.
Signs of Depression in Men
Men exhibit very similar signs of depression as women do. Some of those symptoms according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), symptoms of depression in general include:
Persistent sad, anxious, or empty mood
Feelings of hopelessness or pessimism
Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness
Loss of Interest in hobbies or activities
Decrease in energy, fatigue, or sluggish
Difficulty concentrating, remember, or making decisions
Loss of interest in work, family, or pleasurable activities
Feeling very tired and not being able to sleep OR sleeping too much
Overeating OR not wanting to eat at all
Thoughts of suicide OR suicide attempts
Physical aches, pains, cramps, digestive problems, or headaches
But men also show different signs of depression than women do. Most men may not be aware of these signs as most men don't talk to other men about their depressed mood.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) signs of depression in men may include:
Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
Feeling anxious, restless, or on Edge
Problems with Sexual Desire and Performance
Not being able to concentrate or remember details
Inability to meet responsibilities of work, caring for family, or other important activities
Engaging in high-risk activities
A need for alcohol or drugs
Withdrawing from family or friends or becoming isolated
As mentioned above, there is a range of how men experience depression. It could be a minor annoyance or it can seriously interfere with a man's ability to perform daily duties, responsibilities, and obligations.
If you are finding that you can identify with a few or many of the signs above and it is interfering with your happiness, hope, and ability to function at the levels that you would prefer, seeing a counselor who specializes in men's counseling can help.
In the meantime, there are ways to manage depression in men.
5 Ways to Manage Depression in Men
There are a wide variety of ways to help men cope or manage with their depression. Depression does not have to be the thing that prevents you from being happy, competing, providing, and excelling in life.
Below are some of the ways that research has shown can be helpful for
managing depression in men:
Keep Yourself Busy
One way to help cope with depression in men is to keep yourself busy. Depression tends to thrive and grow during periods of down time. Rest and relaxation are important to help a man recharge.
Yet being able to keep yourself busy will help distract your thoughts from the dark, gloomy thoughts of depression.
Reward Yourself with Something Enjoyable
It's important to be able to have something to look forward to each week. At the end of each week, plan on something small that you can look forward to.
It can be eating at your favorite fast-food restaurant. Every Friday is What a Burger Friday for me. I look forward to ending the week with my Sweet and Spicy Bacon Burger.
It could also be getting a massage, playing golf with friends, spending time outdoors or a number of other activities. The important thing is that it is something you can look forward to and brings you happiness.
Hang Out with People Who Are Positive
When a man is experiencing depression, the depression creates a cycle of negative thinking. It can be difficult to change our frame of reference when we are stuck in our own head.
Being able to be with people who are positive can help. At first, it may seem annoying to be around these happy people when we don't feel that way inside.
But happiness can be contagious. As time goes by while spending time with positive friends or family, often your mood will start to improve.
Use Humor to Reframe My Thoughts and My Feelings
Our thoughts can think some fairly interesting thoughts when we are depressed. Some thoughts aren't humorous such as if you are having suicidal thoughts. If this is the case, please seek help from a family member, friend, or call 911. Your life is worth saving.
Other thoughts may not be as dark and depression hates humor. Humor has the tendency to improve our mood and when we can reframe some of our thoughts or experiences in humorous ways, this can help take the weight out of heavy thoughts.
Notice My Thoughts and Try to Change My Perspective
The first step in helping to manage depression in men is to first notice the thoughts. If we can identify the thoughts that bring more of the depressed mood, we can try to change the perspective that brought that thought.
If a thought that brings depressed mood is, "I didn't complete that presentation like I know I could. I'll never be able to get a raise if I keep working like this." This is a thought that may be true, but more than likely untrue.
Take an objective, outsiders' perspective. If you were not depressed and had a friend with this thought, what might you tell them:
"It was just one presentation." Probably in the grand scheme of things it's a drop in the bucket and won't make or break your raise."
"I know that you may not have completed the presentation like you wanted, but was it good enough? We don't always have to hit the ball out of the ballpark."
"Was your raise contingent on good the presentation was? If not, it might be that depression may be twisting this experience to feed itself to make it stronger."
If we can change the perspective around what brings the thoughts that influence the emotion of depression, we can help take some of the toxicity out of the feeling. Instead of feeling depressed, we may feel a light feeling of "I could have done better but it's okay" instead.
Katy Counseling for Men: Counselors Who Specialize in Men's Therapy in Katy, TX & Houston
You don't need to live with depression any longer. Depression in men caps our ability to access our full potential. Once the depression has been removed, you can be free to build stronger relationships, businesses, careers, and more by utilizing your full potential.
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, our therapists, who specialize in therapy for men, are ready to help.
If you are ready to start building a stronger future together, all you need to do is follow these three simple steps:
Contact Katy Counseling for Men
Meet with one of our men's counselors
Start your journey in building a stronger future today
Other Wellness Services Offered at Katy Counseling for Men: Katy, TX & Houston
At our Katy, TX location of Katy Counseling for Men, we have a variety of both talk therapy and non-talk therapy approaches in counseling for men. Below are a few of what we have to offer:
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)
Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART)
Eye Movement Desensitization & Reprocessing (EMDR)
Counseling for anxiety
Counseling for social anxiety
Board Certified Neurofeedback
Peak performance (optimal academic brain performance)
Marriage Counseling & Couples Therapy
Differences in financial budgeting approaches or other financial stress
About the Author
Jason Drake is a Licensed Clinical Worker - Supervisor (LCSW-S), Board Certified in Neurofeedback, EMDR trained, and a Certified Brain Health Professional through the Amen Clinics.
Jason is the owner of Katy Counseling Specialists, PLLC (KCM). KCM is the parent company for Katy Teen & Family Counseling and Katy Counseling for Men.
Jason specializes in teen therapy, young adult counseling, family