Depression in men occurs less often than depression in women, but it still affects a great portion of the country. Once thought to be a "women's disease," depression actually affects around 6 million men every year in the United States alone. Many experts also feel that those numbers are still too low thanks in part to the large population of men with depression that go undiagnosed every day. Whether they deny their symptoms or don't fully understand them, depression is a very serious illness that can be quite devastating to one's life without treatment. Since May is National Depression Month, we saw it fit to debunk some well-known myths and misconceptions about depression in men.
Myth # 1: Depression in Men Looks the Same as Depression in Women
If you have depression, then regardless of gender you're just really sad for extended periods of time, right? This is a big misconception about depression. While it absolutely affects both sexes and can cause serious disruption in their daily lives, the way men and women express their symptoms of depression is actually very different. While it's fairly well-known that depression in women can cause feelings of sadness and worthlessness, depression in men is actually more likely to cause sufferers to be irritable, aggressive or hostile.
Myth # 2: He Seems So Happy, He's Not Depressed!
If only if were that simple. Someone can seem to be as jovial and happy on the outside as a kid on their birthday, but that in no way means that they're not suffering from severe clinical depression on the inside. We have to remember that on average, depression affects one out of every 10 people in America and the majority of them continue on with their daily activities all the while suffering silently. Depression in men, especially when left untreated, can get so bad that they become unable to function, but most are much harder to identify from the outside.
Myth # 3: People with Depression Can Just Snap Out of It
This is a myth that is due to the extreme lack of understanding the general population has about the mental illness of depression as a whole. If a loved one suffers from clinical depression, as bad as they might want to, they can't just snap out of it or suck it up. Depression in men is caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain and there is no snapping out of that without treatment. Would you expect someone with diabetes to just snap out of it? No, you probably wouldn't and shouldn't for someone with depression either.
Myth # 4: Wealthy People Can't Get Depression
If you were fortunate enough to be born into money or have a high paying job, then you must not be able to suffer from depression as you have everything you need, right? Again, a giant misconception. Depression is a mental disorder that crosses all socio-economic bridges and boundaries. There is no gender, nationality, educational background or amount of wealth to shield you from the possibility of depression.
Depression in men is a serious, but treatable condition that should not be taken lightly. Untreated depression in men has been known to cause reckless and dangerous behavior like substance abuse.