Depression can be a crippling disorder of the mind. Patients of depression struggle with performing basic life tasks, such as getting out of bed due to the extreme fatigue which accompanies the disorder as a symptom. It is something that you can understand only if you have been there yourself and have experienced it for yourself. Being there for someone who is depressed also gives you an idea of what it can be like, but not entirely. Often, depression is not as easily detectable in some people as it is in others. Depression in men is often difficult to spot, as compared to the same in women. This is possibly because of the differences in biological processes as well as other factors that we will talk about.
Identifying The Signs And Symptoms Of Depression
Sometimes, the signs and symptoms of depression can be highly overt, while other times, they may not be so obvious. Whatever the nature of the symptoms may be, a psychological professional is required to carry out the appropriate diagnosis. Symptoms include constant fatigue, sleeplessness or sleeping too much, slowed down movements, etc. Other physical symptoms also include a loss in interest, a loss or an increase in appetite, with a consequent and sudden loss or gain in body weight. Someone who starts to experience feelings of worthlessness and excessive guilt, and even begins to develop suicidal thoughts, is someone who is showing the signs and symptoms of depression. Although different types of depression show different symptoms, the most rudimentary symptoms are as mentioned above.
Identifying Depression In Men
The symptoms of depression in men may differ slightly from those in women, children as well as teens. Some of the signs and symptoms of depression, particular to men, are as follows. Feelings of sadness, emptiness, hopelessness, anger, anxiety, and irritability are emotional symptoms. Others include the loss of interest in not only daily activities but also one’s hobbies and leisure activities, including sex. This can lead to the inability to meet one’s daily responsibilities, which in turn becomes like a cyclical effect and drowns out that person’s abilities even more.
A form of severe depression that comes about in men is sports-related and high functioning depression. Sports-related depression is one type of depression that affects men more than it does women. Sportsmen who are excelling in their respective fields may suddenly suffer an injury. If this injury turns out to be a lifelong one, it can sink a lot of athletes into depression. The sudden and unexpected change of course in a person’s life to such a large extent is the causal factor. Severe depression in men, especially athletes, can find its roots here, as well is in high functioning depression.
High Functioning Depression In Men
A lot of research has shown that women are twice more at risk of depression than men. The reasons behind this are manifold, which we will look more into later, other than one. One of the reasons why the numbers of male depression are half of that of depression in women pertains to the problem of identifying the symptoms in men. Putting aside stereotypes, women are more inclined towards and comfortable with talking about how they feel, as compared to men. Studies also show that most men tend to distract themselves from their feelings by not acknowledging them at all. Hence, even any mental symptoms they may feel, such as thoughts of dying or feelings of hopelessness, all get hidden under a façade of false bravado. Maybe one of the explanations of why male depression has fewer cases than depression in women is because male cases more often go undetected. However, this is mere speculation, as it has not been proven.
High functioning depression refers to when a person is afflicted with depression but carries out daily tasks with high efficiency. It is a form of long-term or chronic depression, which we also call dysthymia or persistent depressive disorder (PDD). In high functioning depression, the symptoms are not so intense that they are easily identifiable. Men are highly susceptible to such a type of depression because of their abilities to hide away their symptoms. Many a time, the hiding of symptoms is a deed of the unconscious mind, when a person may just be in denial or refusal to acknowledge any signs. However, there is also a state of being where those with high functioning depression purposely hide their symptoms. This a conscious practice they indulge in to hide the fact that they struggle with a mental disorder.
Men Are Less Likely To Be Depressed
Mentioned before is a theory about how depression in men going undiagnosed is one of the reasons why women are more susceptible to depression than men. There are many other reasons why men are less at risk of depression. It is a fact that female adolescents are a lot more likely to sink into depression than male adolescents due to the multitude of physical changes in the body. Yes, the boys go through these changes as well, but it starts a lot earlier for young girls than it begins for boys. Over the years of their lives, due to hormonal changes in the female body, women may go through a lot of different kinds of depression. This is the first reason, which is explained as follows.
Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is a type of depression in women that affects about 10% of women of childbearing age. PMDD refers to women struggling with an upheaval of negative emotions to the point of depression and anxiety in the week before a period. Pregnancy-related depression is another kind of depression specific to women. Another type is post-partum or perinatal depression, which one in four women go through. It comes about as a result of hormonal changes involving pregnancy and childbirth. The difference here is that one in eight men do also go through perinatal depression, relating to lifestyle changes that come with new parents. Empty nest syndrome is a form of depression exclusive to parents whose children leave their homes after growing up, affecting both moms and dads.
Studies have also found that gender-related societal issues also play a part in affecting the numbers. The main problems are related to the working class of women in society. The first aspect of the same is the gender wage gap and unequal treatment in the workplaces of women in comparison with the treatment of men in the same position. Another aspect is the load of work that falls on women for domestic as well as professional work. Women who work are also expected to balance household chores and child-care with it, more often than men are.
Depression In The Concrete Jungle
Urbanization is a boon as much as it is not. It has the world developing concrete jungles out of every city, and people move there looking for opportunities. Cities are such places that have a lot of loud streets and bright lights. It can cause sensory overload, especially for people unused to it. Pre-existing societal norms say that men need to be breadwinners for their families. This puts a lot of pressure on them, being the “man of the family.” It further pushes men to migrate to big cities, with the impression that they’ll earn more money there. It comes through sometimes, but for the ones with whom it does not work out are the ones susceptible to depression.
Combating Depression And Anxiety
There is a multitude of tools that help a person to win in the fight against depression. Therapy is the most lucrative option to battle depression and anxiety, but that’s not all that there is to do about it. For people who live heavy and fast lives while battling depression at the same time, it is crucial to know when to rest. Calming down and getting the proper relaxation time that one needs is essential. Even a healthy diet and a few cups of green tea a day have its benefits. Experts believe that green tea cleanses and rejuvenates the body and helps in relieving stress and anxiety.
On the other hand, for those people whose depression is on the other end of the spectrum, who cannot do the bare minimum, it is vital to force oneself to do it. Maintaining a gratitude journal is something that allows a person to appreciate the things around them more. Creating little checklists of small tasks to do throughout the day or week can be helpful. The tasks can be as simple as making your bed, making yourself a sandwich, or a cup of tea – nothing overly complicated. Accomplishing small tasks can bring up feelings of worthiness, which allows for hope and motivation to rise. Using minor tasks and gratitude journals to lift spirits is incredibly important in the recovery from depression.