Male Depression And Anxiety Symptoms Are More Painful Than Stepping On A Lego...
...so why don't most men act like it?
Generally speaking, men are more likely to openly react to stepping on Lego than acknowledge their challenging mental health issues.
Why is this the case?
Guys often think that they have to be tough, self-reliant, and handle stress without any type of support.
Statistically speaking, If you are like the average guy, you’ve put off thinking about therapy for quite some time!
In our society, it can be pretty tough for men to admit that they could use some mental health tools and skills to make their lives more manageable.
This is the case not only for your mental health but your physical health too.
Depression and anxiety- not unlike a broken foot- are serious. Neither the broken foot or depression/anxiety are likely to get better on their own. You need tools, skills, and support to heal.
On a positive note, there are SO MANY evidence-based methods to treat your depression/anxiety.
You don’t have to suffer alone!
There is help that will likely improve your life.
Prevalence of anxiety and depression in men
Anxiety and depression are far too common in our society.
Statistics indicated that 1 in 8 men will have depression in their lifetime.
Anxiety comes in even higher for men. About 1 in 5 men are likely to experience a bout of anxiety during some stage(s) of life.
While men are less likely to have anxiety or depression, they are also less likely to talk about & seek help regarding their mental health.
Not seeking help has major downstream consequences.
People that don’t seek help are at a much higher risk for suicide. That means men are more likely to die by suicide than women.
Think about it this way, if you had a broken leg and you didn’t talk about it or seek out medical care, would your leg heal quickly and properly?
Your brain is no different.
If you are struggling to reach out for help, I’d encourage you to think remember:
Anxiety and depression are not weaknesses. They are conditions that have effective treatments.
Not certain you have anxiety or depression? Let’s look at the signs and symptoms:
Symptoms of Depression in Men
Depression often can look like anger in men.
Why might this be?
In our society, men are taught that anger is an acceptable emotion– hopelessness and despair- aren’t so socially accepted.
Therefore, if you find yourself angry all the time, it could be that you are actually depressed.
Other common physical manifestations of depression include:
- Sleep issues- Too much sleep or restless sleep
- Chest pains
- Feeling exhausted
- Digestive problems
- Changes in appetite
- Loss of sex drive
- Increase in drugs/alcohol
The emotional signs of depression may include:
- Feelings of hopelessness or sadness
- Loss of interest in activities you enjoyed in the past
- Desire to isolate or withdrawal
- Increase in anger or violence
- Thinking about death or suicide
Symptoms of Anxiety in Men
Anxiety and panic can be tricky to identify.
It’s more than being nervous about a big presentation in front of your boss.
It includes ongoing feelings of worry and fear. It can feel like a hamster wheel of impending doom.
These symptoms make it hard, or nearly impossible, to concentrate. You may have difficulty being in a social setting, working, or even sleeping.
Here are some physical signs that you are struggling with anxiety or panic:
- Shortness of breath
- Inability to sleep
- Racing heart
- Excessive sweating
- Panic attacks
Emotional signs of anxiety or panic include:
- Frequent feelings of doom or dread
- Inability to concentrate
- Avoiding anxiety-provoking situations
- Overly concerned about the danger
- Catastrophic thinking
Treatment for Anxiety and Depression in Men
As I have stated before, the good news is that you don’t have to continue to suffer! There is lots of help that is available!
Here are some ideas:
- Locate a therapist that specializes in anxiety & depression
- Talk with a doctor about your symptoms
- Connect with supportive friends and family (this is likely doing the opposite of what your depression and anxiety are telling you to do)
- Make sure you are getting enough sleep
- Decrease any alcohol or drug use. Unfortunately, these substances can make your problems worse, not better.
Tips You Can Do NOW if You Are a Man Coping with Anxiety & Depression
- Get/stay active! Don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good. You don’t need to plan an all-day outing. Just do a little bit more than you’re doing now.
- Engage in activities that you enjoy. Even if you don’t get the satisfaction that you once did in the activity, it is important to challenge the things that your anxiety/depression is telling you to do.
- Think of each action step as an experiment. If something you did wasn’t effective, decide if you want to try something else or give the activity another try!
- Keep active and persist, the enjoyment should eventually return.
Hopefully, if you are feeling anxious or depressed, you’re ready to give therapy a go!
Free free to contact me directly if you have questions or to schedule a brief call to see if I might be able to support you as you journey forward.
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As a marriage and family therapist, I also offer: