More than 5 million men in the U.S. experience depression each year. While the symptoms used to diagnose depression are the same regardless of gender, often the leading complaints can be different among men and women.
Here are 10 signs of depression in men.
1. Fatigue: People who are depressed experience fatigue, as well as a slowing down of physical movements, speech, and thought processes. Men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.
2. Sleeping too much or too little: Sleep problems, like insomnia or excessive sleeping, are common depression symptoms.
3. Stomach or backache: Health problems like constipation or diarrhea, as well as headaches and back pain, are common in people who are depressed. Many men often don’t realize that chronic pain and digestive disorders are connected to depression.
4. Irritability: Instead of seeming down, men often show signs of irritability. Negative thoughts are a common aspect of depression, but men report feeling irritable because they are having negative thoughts constantly.
5. Difficulty concentrating: Psychomotor retardation can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks.
6. Anger or hostility: Some men manifest depression by being hostile or aggressive. A man who realizes something is wrong may need to compensate by showing that he is strong or capable.
7. Stress: Men might be more likely to report symptoms of depression as stress. It’s not necessarily that they have more stress; it’s just more socially acceptable to report. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress can change the body and brain, which can in turn lead to depression.
8. Anxiety: Men may be more likely to experience anxiety because it’s often easier for men to talk about feeling anxious rather than sad.
9. Substance abuse: It can happen for both men and women, but using drugs or alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings is a strategy men will employ instead of seeking health care.
10. Sexual dysfunction: Depression is a common reason for loss of desire and erectile dysfunction, and this is one symptom that men are prone to not reporting. However, ED can be the result of other medical conditions or medications, and ED by itself does not signal depression.
If you or any man you know suffers from these symptoms. It may be time to talk to a medical professional.