Depression in men

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Depression is an illness that affects both men and women. While men suffer from depression just as often as women, they are less likely to talk about it or ask for help.

Like women with depression, men with depression may:

  • Feel sad, hopeless, worthless or empty
  • Feel extremely tired
  • Have difficulty sleeping or sleep too much
  • Not get pleasure from activities usually enjoyed

Other behaviors in men that could be signs of depression include:

  • Escapist behavior, such as spending a lot of time at work or on sports
  • Physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive problems and pain
  • Problems with alcohol or drug use
  • Controlling, violent or abusive behavior
  • Irritability or inappropriate anger
  • Risky behavior, such as reckless driving
  • Weight increase or loss

Overeating — particularly the high-fat, low-nutrient foods people are more prone to binge eat — can lead to or worsen depression.

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Men often turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their emotional symptoms. Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have an alcohol problem. Often, the depression comes first with alcohol making it worse. Alcohol is a depressant. That means any amount you drink can make you more likely to get the blues. Drinking a lot can harm your brain and lead to depression.

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Alcohol abuse and depression are both serious problems that you shouldn’t ignore. If you think you have a problem with either, talk to your doctor. There are lots of choices when it comes to medication that treats depression, and there are drugs that lower alcohol cravings and counter the desire to drink heavily. Depression, even if it’s severe, usually improves with medications or psychological counseling (psychotherapy) or both.

Other things that may help include:

  • Spending time with other people and talking with a friend or relative about your feelings
  • Increasing your level of physical activity and exercising  regularly
  • Engaging in activities you typically enjoy, such as ball games, fishing or a hobby.
  • Breaking up large tasks into small ones, and tackling what you can as you can. Don’t try to do too many things at once
  • Delaying important decisions until you feel better. Discuss decisions with others who know you well.
  • Keeping stable daily routines. For example, eating and going to bed at the same time every day.
  • Having a balanced diet
  • Avoiding alcohol

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Have you ever battled depression?
What helped you the best in your battle?

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