Depression is one of those "modern" diseases that is often misunderstood or just written off by those who aren't suffering from it as a disease that was invented to get people time off work.
But depression is very real and is estimated to affect around one in ten women and about one in twenty men. The problem with male depression is that our macho culture means that it often goes unrecognized and untreated.
Whilst the symptoms of male and female depression are often similar, the way they manifest themselves varies between the sexes.
Depressed men can become more dominant and aggressive. This shows up as flares of temper, anger attacks and irritability. Although this latter trait may be difficult to spot as many men come across as being irritable even if they're not suffering from the affects of depression.
Another way that male depression shows itself is with increased risk taking. This could take the form of aggressive driving and road rage or it could show at work with the choice of strategies that don't have a reasonable chance of success or are even designed to provoke other people. The increase in risk taking that is often seen in depressed men can also show itself with a loss of self-control, so if a man close to you "flies off the handle" keep in mind that the anger could have a deeper meaning and may not be particularly related to what has just happened.
One of the biggest problems associated with male depression is the man's tendency to clam up rather than admit and talk about the problem. From an early age, men learn to bottle up their feelings and this skill is definitely a harmful one when depression is involved. The bottling up of feelings and emotions can also be another trigger for outbursts of anger as the feelings eventually have to be released. Anger is a double edged sword in this instance as it usually helps the person who has the anger outburst but can leave a mental scar on people close by.
A further sign of depression in men is the use of alcohol to attempt to hide the problem. Since alcohol is a depressant drug anyway, this tends to compound the problem rather than help it.