Society’s expectations of men to be the breadwinner, protector, and overall strong one in the family can often have negative consequences for men that try to fit this role. Men are expected to provide and protect their families while holding it all together and never coming off as weak. However, these stressors can cause men serious mental distress that can sometimes lead to addiction. This is why traditional gender roles are often considered not to be positive and instead are a hindrance to men’s wellbeing. Understanding the impact of these gender roles can prompt people to break away from them.
Expectations of Men
In mainstream American culture, men are told to be less emotional, act stronger, and never show weakness. They are expected to be the provider for the family, working long hours to bring home money. Overworking can often lead to extra stress for men, which can lead to symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, most men will not seek out help for mental health struggles because of societal expectations of them. Instead, they opt to try to deal with the problems on their own, often suppressing them or turning to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.
Impact on Mental Health
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are more likely to abuse alcohol and use illicit substances than women are. Addiction can be devastating to men’s overall health, especially when men are often praised for their drinking “abilities” in mainstream society. Drinking beer is often associated with showing one’s masculinity, so if a man is already self-medicating with alcohol, this may be exacerbated by his friends pressuring him to drink more. When men continue to drink, it can cause more mental health problems, with worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety. Over time, the man may also develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol the more he uses to self-medicate, making it critical to encourage men to seek help and ditch the traditional gender role expectations.
Traditional gender roles and expectations placed on men by mainstream society can have devastating effects on their mental health. Worsening symptoms of depression and anxiety can lead to self-medicating, which in turn can lead to addiction. This is why facilities like Alta Loma Transformational Services work to encourage men to seek help. Alta Loma teaches its clients that seeking help does not mean they are weak, and it helps them recover from addiction and mental health concerns with individualized, expert-led programs. Call us today at (866) 457-3843 to learn more.