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Symptoms of Depression in Men

IMAGE Depression in men may include symptoms not normally thought of as the classic depression symptoms. As a result, depression can be difficult to recognize in men. Doctors may also be less likely to suspect it as the root cause of a man's health problems. Men may also not be willing to admit that they are feeling depressed. The condition may be seen as a bad mark for masculinity in men who want to preserve the image of toughness and endurance.

The good new is depression is highly treatable. If you notice any of the following symptoms in yourself or someone else, seek medical help.

Symptoms Associated With Male Depression

Men may act out rather than face underlying problems head on. Here is a list of behaviors in men that may signal depression:

  • Using alcohol or drugs to self medicate
  • Using escapist behavior, such as working excessively long hours
  • Watching excessive amounts of television
  • Becoming irritable or angry
  • Becoming violent to himself or others
  • Creating conflict
  • Acting overtly or covertly hostile
  • Risk taking behaviors
  • Having extramarital affairs

Classic Symptoms of Depression

In addition to male associated symptoms, men may also experience classic symptoms:

  • Lack of interest or pleasure in nearly all activities, including sex
  • Hopelessness
  • Fatigue, decrease in energy level
  • Inability to concentrate or make decisions
  • Too much or too little sleep
  • Insomnia
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and chronic pain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts

Some men may exhibit more symptoms than others.

Suicide Prevention

Untreated depression has been linked to suicide. Men die by suicide more often than women, even though women make more suicide attempts. This could relate to the fact that women seek help more than men do or that men choose more lethal means.

Suicidal thoughts, also known as suicidal ideation, are an emergency. Men may exhibit the following signs:

  • Talk about wanting to die or commit suicide—these threats should always be taken seriously.
  • Talk about feelings of hopelessness and giving up
  • Plan for death, such as giving away favorite possessions
  • Withdraw from family and friends

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255) or call for medical help right away.

The Importance of Getting Help

Depression can be treated. There are many mental health professionals who have a lot of experience working with men who have depression. The first step toward recovery is asking for help.

  • Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance

  • International Foundation for Research and Education on Depression

  • Canadian Psychiatric Association

  • Canadian Psychological Association

  • Depression. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Updated October 30, 2014. Accessed February 11, 2015.

  • Depression and men fact sheet. National Alliance on Mental Illness website. Available at: Updated October 2009. Accessed February 11, 2015.

  • Depression in men. Help Guide website. Available at: Updated November 2014. Accessed February 11, 2015.

  • Men and depression. National Institute of Mental Health website. Available at: Accessed February 11, 2015.

  • Suicide. Menstuff website. Available at: Accessed February 11, 2015.

  • Suicide. Women's Health—US Department of Health and Human Services website. Available at: Updated January 10, 2011. Accessed February 11, 2015.