Depression affects more than seven percent of American adults, or about 17.3 million people, every year. Depression tends to disproportionately affect women. About 8.7 percent of women suffer from depression in a give year compared to only 5.3 percent of men. There are number of reasons for this. Women are more likely to be victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, both of which increase risk of depression. Women also have more abrupt hormonal changes, especially during pregnancy and childbirth that have been shown to affect mood. It’s also possible that women are diagnosed more frequently because they are more willing to seek help. Part of this is because depression often looks different in men. Many men never seek help because they aren’t even aware they are depressed. Here is how depression might look different in men.

More anger, less sadness

When people think of depression, they often think of sadness. Sometimes “sadness” and “depression” are even used interchangeably, such as when you say you’re depressed when your favorite team lost. However, sadness may not be a prominent symptom of depression. Often people experience depressed mood as emotional numbness, hopelessness, or irritability. Even when men do feel sad, they are often discouraged from expressing it from a young age, being told “boys don’t cry,” and so on. As a result, men are more likely to exhibit irritability, anger, or aggression as a symptom of depression rather than sadness.

More self-medicating

Men are far more likely than women to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. They are often unaware they are doing this. They just know they feel bad and drinking or using drugs makes them feel better. They often don’t even think about depression. Substances are just a coping mechanism. In addition so substance use, men may also work excessively to keep their minds off their problems, or develop other addictions such as sex or gambling. These ways of coping relieve symptoms temporarily but make things worse in the long run.

More physical complaints

Many people are not aware that depression has several physical symptoms. These include aches, often in the joints, back, or head, chest pains, fatigue, and slow movements. Recent research has found a close link between depression and inflammation. Depression may be physiologically very similar to the flu. Your body prepares to fight an infection by making you tired and keeping you immobile, much the same as depression. Many men first go to the doctor because of their physical symptoms only to learn they are actually depressed.

More reckless behavior

Men are far more likely to engage in reckless behavior. This may include substance use, risky sex, or gambling, as mentioned above. It may also other kinds of dangerous, reckless, or self-destructive behavior. Men are also a lot more likely to die by suicide than women, even though women attempt suicide more frequently. This is thought to be because men are more impulsive and use more lethal means, such as guns.

At Alta Lama Transformational Services, you will meet knowledgeable, compassionate professionals that understand addiction in all its forms.  Alta Lama uses an integrative and holistic approach to treat addiction and mental health issues. No treatment is one-size-fits-all, where you will have a team of experts prepared to create your customized treatment plan.  We offer care for your mind, body, and spirit, so that you can heal from the inside out and look forward to a lifetime of sobriety and wellness. If you are ready to take the first step in your recovery, please call us at 866-457-3843.

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You understand your needs best. If you have found yourself at a crossroads in your treatment and feel like your program options don’t fully understand you or aspects of your recovery, it’s time to contact the specialists at Alta Loma. We will help you craft the ideal care plan and secure the support you need, quickly, to avoid unnecessary problems. At Alta Loma, that’s our mission — to provide each individual with optimum care for the wellbeing they deserve.