Despite the increased focus on the importance of emotional wellness, many men still believe they can’t express their difficulties or show any emotional vulnerability. Depression and anxiety are about more than just having a tough day. It can have a ripple effect, making an impact on your appetite, productivity, and sleep patterns. It can also increase your risk for health conditions such as heart disease.
Studies show men are less likely to seek help when feeling depressed and anxious, hiding their emotions or expressing them in unhealthy ways (such as becoming angry instead of crying and/or asking for help). Suicide is the 7th leading cause of death for men in the United States. This peaks for young men ages 20-24, making it the third leading cause for this age group.
Depression symptoms sometimes present differently in men. Here are some of the signs to watch out for in yourself and other males in your life who are important to you.
- Anger and irritability
- Feeling “on edge” and anxious
- Loss of interest in work, family, and hobbies
- Low libido
- Feeling “flat” and empty
- Exhaustion - even with low activity levels
- Poor diet — either overeating or not eating enough
- Insomnia and other sleep troubles
- Forgetting details
- Engaging in risky behaviors
- “Numbing” with drugs or alcohol
- Thoughts of suicide
- Withdrawing emotionally from loved ones
If you feel you are experiencing depression, know there is help available, and life doesn’t have to be this way. Speaking to a trusted healthcare provider about your emotional health and well-being is imperative to living a full, happy, productive life. Depression is most often treated with psychotherapy or medications, or a combination of the two, both of which can help you get back to feeling your best. Although your emotional health can be a sensitive topic, openness, and acceptance can go a long way in helping you live your best life.