June 15, 2022
The Difference in How Men and Women Experience Depression.
Did you know? Each year, nearly twice as many women are diagnosed with depression as men. However, with society’s double standard regarding mental health, many researchers believe the numbers aren’t really all that far apart. While men are less likely to reach out for help, they still experience depression and other mental illnesses. Understanding the difference between how men and women show signs of depression is crucial to being able to recognize the signs in a loved one and, ultimately, help them.
The Gender Gap in Depression
While women may be twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression, men are four times as likely to die by suicide. These kinds of alarming statistics suggest that men are far more likely to have an undiagnosed mental illness. Since men are less likely to reach out for help, unnecessary suffering can occur for large portions of their lives. Nevertheless, research published on the National Library of Medicine’s website found that men who experienced more “traditional” symptoms of depression were more likely to seek help than men who experienced “male-typical” depressive symptoms. So, what are these different gender-specific symptoms?
Depression Symptoms Based On Gender
While a man and a woman can certainly experience symptoms of depression in similar ways, research has been done to understand how depression manifests differently between the opposite sexes. Whether it’s biological or societal, here are the ways in which depression differs between men and women.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Women
The most common symptoms of depression among women are:
- Sadness: While the most traditional symptom of depression, women are often victims of relentless feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and despair. In addition to feeling this way, women are more likely to ruminate on their sadness than men.
- Fatigue: Another symptom found more often in women is never-ending exhaustion. No matter how much a woman may sleep, she may still find herself struggling to get out of bed and participate in daily activities.
- Cognitive Difficulties: Women who suffer from depression often experience memory loss, trouble concentrating, and the inability to make decisions quickly. Some women have even described this memory loss as large portions of their day gone missing.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men
As we’ve discussed, men are less likely to seek help. Many times, men feel embarrassed or ashamed to admit they are struggling. These ideas can be traced all the way back to the original cultural expectations of men. The most common symptoms of depression among men are:
- Anger: Instead of feeling sad, men experience depression through anger. This anger often comes out at inappropriate times or for reasons that seem unnecessary or misplaced. In addition, this anger can turn into violence or aggression if not treated.
- Escaping Behavior: Men are more likely to throw themselves overboard into their work or hobbies as a way to distract themselves from what they’re feeling. Oftentimes, this excessive amount of time spent away from home can put a heavy strain on their relationships, furthering their depression.
- Risky Behavior: With depression can come a feeling of disconnect from this world. This disconnect can cause a man to feel numb on the inside. Risky behaviors such as reckless driving can be an unhealthy coping mechanism for men with depression, as they provide sensations of excitement and adrenaline.
Removing The Stigma of Depression
When you think of depression, you likely imagine a person who lays in bed all day, can’t stop crying, or hasn’t showered in a week. When you think about this scenario, your brain automatically imagines the depression traits found in women. However, by understanding the way men in society were raised, massive strides can be made in spotting depression in a husband, brother, or friend.
At the end of the day, we’re all human beings that can experience depression in ways as unique as ourselves. Women can become angry or violent, and men can feel the exhaustion of simply living life, too. However, it’s more often the case that each gender manifests according to their specific sex, so keep an eye out, encourage them to seek help, and have a shoulder to lean on in all your relationships.
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