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Dealing with Depression in Men

Apr 13, 2008
It is estimated that there are over three million men in the united states alone that suffer from depression. However, only a tiny percentage of those men are ever expected to come clean the fact that they are depressed. The problem is tied up with the male image of Western culture. The man is understood to be "the rock" upon which others depend on, and any signal of weakness is likely to be seen in terms of 'femininity'. Healing commences when men recognise that suffering from depression doesn't make them any less of a man.

For many generations men have worked on perfecting their techniques for covering up their feelings. Perhaps this has been born of the need to be able to get on with their work in any event dispite the stress they might be under. Men also quickly turn to drugs, alcohol, sex, or more work, moreso than women, as mechanisms for avoiding having to deal with unwanted feelings They believe that they can get over their depression by trying to give themselves something else to fix on. This cannot, of course, really solve the issue.

Men are less expected than women to seek out treatment for their depression, though women are often just as unlikely to disclose that there is a problem. This is why the aid of family and fiends is so critical in the healing process.

Men can conceal their depression well. Unlike women, they really do want to be left alone and not for purposes of reaching out eventually in good time. Men will hide their depression because they feel humiliation and concern. Many of those who are dear to a man who has committed suicide will report that they didn't have a clue - a awful indication of the power of some men to hide their feelings. Such men battle silently and alone against their depression until it entirely overwhelms them.

A man's friends need to be mindful of the indications of depression. Does it seem like he is attempting to change to much? Is he oversleeping, not sleeping at all, demonstrating frequent tension or stress, and even anger. Exploring these issues with a male partner or family member can be tough. If a man is really battling depression, you may need to step slowly.

Be cautious not to push too hard or too quickly when it comes to finding help, as you may be met with anger and denial. In the early stage of depression, the subject is in pain but generally truly does not know why. People will blame circumstances. Adolescents will blame their home lives, and married men will generally blame their wives. Be aware while the man may recongise that their pain is not normal, this does not mean that they will be straightaway open to the idea of therapy.

If you want to help someone seek treatment, they are going to have to make that choice themselves. All you can do is tell them that you are worried about them. Do more listening than talking. Show your support by telling them that you love or care for them. Ideally, make them feel that this is something that the two of you are going to take on together, and that they are not alone.
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