Effects of Anxiety and Depression on Men
Men’s anxiety and depression can be frightening. Depending on age, men dealing with severe depression and anxiety complete suicide between 3 and 8 times more frequently than women. Although women appear to make suicide gestures more often than men, the numbers are unmistakable. Men are killing themselves in alarming numbers, especially as they get older.
Studies have shown that men are underrepresented in the tally of most of the common psychiatric disorders. This is particularly true for mood disorders, depression and anxiety disorders. However, more men than women suffer from alcoholism, drug abuse and dependencies, and personality and coping problems.
Gender roles in society have a strong influence on the experience and expression of emotional states in both men and women. For young boys, our culture stresses suppression of emotions. As development progresses, boys become less emotionally expressive, more defensive, and more independent. Emotional expression is expressed primarily through anger and aggression.
Culture reinforces the belief that men should be strong. They are to have well-defined traditional and stereotypical gender identities. He should have a strong sense of self. He should be successful, in control, and capable of handling problems without help. He should hide certain emotions. To have problems or struggle with depression and anxiety is considered weak. To show vulnerability is considered taboo. These unrealistic expectations provide a breeding ground for depression in men.
Below are 22 Common Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety in Men
- Strain between gender role expectations and performance
- Sexual issues, erection issues and/or libido issues
- Assertions of autonomy and interpersonal distance, increased conflict, and anger in relationships
- Withdrawal from and decreases in social contacts
- Perceived threats to self-esteem and self-respect, disappointment in self
- Alcohol and other drug abuse and dependence
- Inability to cry
- Antisocial, narcissistic, and compulsive personality traits
- Decreases in sexual interest but not sexual activity
- Somatic complaints
- Work-related problems and conflicts
- Difficulties with concentration and motivation
- Over involvement with work activities
- Denial of pain
- Avoiding the help of others: ‘I can do it myself’
- Increase in intensity or frequency of angry outbursts
- Denial of sadness
- Harsh self-criticism
- Impulsive plans to have loved ones cared for in case of one’s death or disability
- Impulsive moods
- Concentration, sleep, weight problems
- Appetite shift
Sometimes physicians have a hard time identifying symptoms of depression and anxiety in men. But there is encouraging news! Although fewer men than women seek psychotherapy, those men that do seek treatment are helped a great deal. Both psychotherapy and pharmacological treatments (medicine) have been proven effective in relieving depression in men. If you or someone you know may need help, encourage going for an evaluation. Simply talking things out with someone can make a tremendous difference.