Depression is a disease, not a sign of weakness. As stated by the American Psychiatric Association (APA), depression affects more than 17 million Americans. What is more, the APA approximations, at least one out of every 10 men will experience depression during his lifetime.
The Stigma of Depression
There are many reasons why guys don’t get treated for depression. Most significant
Among them is that men are much less prepared to acknowledge they’re depressed and
Want help, in accordance with Teodoro Bottiglieri, Ph.D., a senior research scientist
and associate professor at Baylor University Medical Center, in addition to the
author of Prevent Depression Now.
“There is a stigma attached to having any psychiatric illness. Itis a purpose
of susceptibility, like declaring you’re impotent in public,” he says.
Guys, Bottiglieri says, are educated to just grin and bear it, get on with life, and provide for their families. Dr. Norman Sussman, a psychiatrist at New York University Medical Center, agrees. “Men are not as likely to get treatment, in part because there is a tendency for men to tough it out,” he says.
It is essential for men to realize that “depression is a medical disorder which affects one’s capability to feel and think in a few ways. It is a type of reversible brain breakdown,” says Sussman. “It’s not an indication of their character.”
The situation with not seeking treatment is that depression tends to get worse, and affects all areas of a guy ‘s life. Many guys will self-medicate with drugs or alcohol, says Sussman. And, men — especially old guys — have higher rates of suicide than women do.
Another reason men may not get treated is because their doctors are overlooking the signals of depression. Sussman says it is possible there is a biased tendency among physicians when diagnosing depression, because the condition is so much more common in girls, wherein physicians may be more attuned to symptoms in women than in men. Guys could also tend to downplay their symptoms, if they are discussed by them with their doctors whatsoever.
Another complicating factor is that depression, especially in older guys, may not necessarily be evident, says Dr. Steven Roose, a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and director of the Neuropsychiatric Research Clinic at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. Symptoms in old men are slightly different, with many reporting sleep disturbances, pain, and lack of energy. Elderly guys may well not whine about having a despondent mood, he says. And several primary care physicians lack the training to recognize such symptoms as signs of depression. According to Roose, suicide is an epidemic in men over 60 — studies show that 20 percent of older men who try suicide had seen their doctor that day, and 70 percent had seen their physician during the month leading up to their attempts.
“A report on mood state and ruling out the diagnosis of depression ought to be as much a standard procedure as taking blood pressure,” says Roose.
Roose adds that undiagnosed depression also can affect other aspects of wellbeing. For instance, men identified as having heart disease who are also depressed do substantially worse when it comes to survival, based on Roose.
Signs and Symptoms
It Is significant that family members — particularly spouses — be looking for signs of depression, says Bottiglieri, because many depressed guys don’t seek help.
- Depressed mood that lasts for greater than fourteen days
- feelings of hopelessness
- Insufficient enjoyment from regular actions, for example playing with kids or playing golf
- changes in sleep patterns
- changes in hunger
- trouble concentrating and making decisions
- preoccupation with passing and thoughts of suicide
In more severe instances of depression, people may be agitated or quite lethargic. They might be not able to work in their day-to-day routine.
There are numerous medicines available to take care of depression, and according to the APA up to 90 percent of people who receive treatment significantly improve. Treatment alternatives include tricyclic antidepressants, MAO inhibitors, as well as the very popular selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), like Prozac and Zoloft. Alternate treatments for example St. John’s Wort and SAM-e are also accessible. Though it’s most effective when utilized in combination with drugs Psychotherapy may also be useful in treating depression. But, Sussman says, some men have trouble opening up in psychotherapy.
The situation with a few of the clinical treatments is they can cause other difficulties, like a loss of interest in sex. “SSRIs are well tolerated and safe, but they do have an influence on quality of life,” says Sussman. Determined by which drug you take, side effects can include loss of libido, difficulty or an inability to reach orgasm, sleep problems, weight gain, and insufficient feeling the full range of emotions. Tricylcic antidepressants might have dangerous interactions with heart medication.
“Patients should be told up front of the possibility of side effects occurring,” says Sussman. “But, in primary care, folks are often not forewarned.”
Because you will find many medication choices out there, patients have to speak to their physicians about side effects, and it is possible an alternative drugs may not, if one creates unpleasant side effects.
SSRIs can also provide advantages that are unexpected. They can be fairly effective at treating premature ejaculation, that might be something a man hasn’t even discussed with his physician. Also, according to Roose, they seem to have antiplatelet effect much like that of aspirin. Therefore, while taking a medicine to treat depression, men might also be enhancing their cardiovascular health.
The alternative treatments St. John’s Wort and SAM-e have also been used to treat depression. St. John’s Wort does not appear to be as effective as once believed, says Bottiglieri. He says a lot depends upon the dose taken and the actual amount of St. John’s Wort in the merchandise.
Nonetheless, Bottliglieri does believe that SAM-e can be very helpful in treating depression and says it is often used as a first-line treatment. Additionally, it has fewer side effects than other medications. He adds that dietary supplements like SAMe have been criticized because physicians worry patients will self-medicate themselves. But, he feels they have an area.
“At least they possess a choice of something that could help when they’re the sort of person that won’t seek help anyhow,” he says. He recommends 400 milligrams per day for moderate melancholy, as well as for more severe depression, he urges 800 1200 milligrams.
SAM-e also may work nicely in conjunction with SSRIs and may reduce the need for a higher dose of an SSRI. Monitored and this kind of combination would have to be prescribed by a doctor, however.
“Men really should seek medical attention for his or her depression. It is a life threatening situation that must be correctly diagnosed and monitored,” says Bottiglieri.
Roose concurs. “Depression is an illness and guys must not feel it results from weakness. It doesn’t reflect on their character any more than a broken leg does,” he says.