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Spotlight on the Signs of Clinical Depression in Men

written by: Rene Wolf • edited by: Paul Arnold • updated: 2/16/2011

Although clinical depression is typically thought to be a 'woman’s disease' it affects both sexes. When men suffer with clinical depression their symptoms are frequently covered up by unhealthy behaviors, for example substance abuse. Read on to find out more about clinical depression in men.

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    The symptoms of clinical depression in men are similar to those found in women; however, they are not often immediately recognized due to the fact that men tend to cover up their emotions. Focusing a spotlight on the signs of clinical depression in men will help you to recognize when a man is silently suffering with the disorder.

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    Definition of Clinical Depression in Men

    It is not unusual to feel discouraged, sad or “blue” occasionally and many who are experiencing these states of mind may say that they are feeling depressed. However, with clinical depression the sad and discouraged moods are persistent. Clinical depression in men is a significant and overwhelming change in their mood that continues to be present on a daily basis. The symptoms of clinical depression lasts a minimum of two weeks. Men with clinical depression lose interest in their daily activities, have a lowered self-esteem, tend to miss work on a regular basis and experience significant changes in their appetite.

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    Reasons Clinical Depression in Men are Difficult To Recognize

    There are a variety of reasons why symptoms of clinical depression in men are not easily recognized. Men typically tend to keep their emotional problems hidden because many cultures view displaying emotions as a female trait and as men are thought to be 'strong' revealing them is a 'weakness'.

    The result is that many men who are depressed are less likely to openly talk about their emotional symptoms, but instead talk about physical symptoms such as being overly tired. This means they often do not receive the treatment they need.

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    Signs and Symptoms of Clinical Depression in Men

    Common symptoms of depression include suicidal thoughts, low self-esteem, fatigue, problems sleeping, loss of interest in usual activities, appetite changes and sexual problems (including a reduced sex drive). Women who are depressed tend to feel emotional and sad, whereas men who are depressed may become hostile, irritable and/or aggressive. The following symptoms are common signs of possible clinical depression in men:

    • Change in Emotions. A change in emotional reactions. For example, a man may be feeling more irritable or agitated than usual. Emotional signs could also include thoughts of suicide or thinking about death. Feelings of discouragement in his personal life or work are also possible signs of clinical depression.
    • A change in eating habits. Many men with clinical depression will either turn to food for comfort and eat more than usual or lose their appetite and either eat less or skip several meals over the course of several days. Men with clinical depression may also develop an eating disorder.
    • Change in sleeping patterns. A notable sign of clinical depression in men may be a significant change in sleeping patterns. A change could include insomnia or extreme fatigue which leads to more sleep than usual.
    • Loss of interest. The loss of interest could be in hobbies and activities with family and friends.
    • Physical complaints. Noticeable changes in physical ailments such as complaints of headache, digestive problems, fatigue and/or muscle aches.
    • Excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol. Although substance abuse is not considered to be a diagnostic symptom, the excessive use of drugs and/or alcohol is a factor to consider. Some men with clinical depression turn to substances as a way to “self medicate” their emotional and physical pain.
    • Risky behavior. Some men who are clinically depressed may display psychotic features, dabble in risky behaviors (i.e., unprotected sexual activity with numerous partners during a short time span) and turn abusive.

    NB: The content of this article is for information purposes and is not intended to replace sound medical advice and opinion.

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    References

    Mayo Clinic: Male Depression: Understanding the Issues http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/male-depression/MC00041

    Web MD Depression Heath Center: Depression in Men http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-men