Depression in men can be hard to diagnose and is often undetected both by themselves as well as their doctors. Part of the problem is the mindset of doctors, some of whom do not recognise or acknowledge, the hormonal changes occurring in men. These can begin as early as age 35, though the majority of men experience this in their 40's and 50's.
About 40% of middle aged men are depressed according to statistics. This can present serious problems if left untreated, particularly to men's overall physical well-being, leading to possible high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Mid-life depression in men has been proven to be the main cause of divorce and can also lead to suicide. The rate of men committing suicide in mid-life is three times the US national average.
From their 30's, men begin to experience a reduction in testosterone and this is known as Testosterone Defficiency Syndrome. This may or may not cause any symptoms, but, being able to recognise the warning signs that all is not right, is the first step to healing.
Symptoms can include a lack of energy and vitality, loss of sexual desire or libido and mood swings. Other warning signs that signal depression in men include the following:
1. becoming controlling
2. blaming others
3. being critical
4. creating conflict
5. being suspicious or secretive
6. becoming compulsive
7. feeling restless and unable to relax
8. getting angry
The above list of symptoms may be hard to swallow and actually believe. We are all quick to deny any "seeming" negative behaviour we do not wish to see in ourselves.
Treatment of male depression presents a challenge in that it is still only partially being accepted by doctors and men themselves. Because depression over the years has been viewed as more of a female issue, men may have difficulty accepting that they could be going through the same thing.
Often resistant to getting help, men will deny that there is anything wrong with them. Also, sexual dysfunction may be an embarrassing subject for them so they may put off discussing it, hoping things will change on their own. Denial can lead to a loss of self esteem and unexpressed grief,that can have far-reaching consequences in family life.
Depression in men, is not something to be ashamed of, but just another facet of life to journey through and it does not have to last forever. By not seeking answers, men are placing their health, that of their family and their lives in jeopardy. Is denial worth the cost?