Prevalence of Men’s Mental Health Issues
Mental disorders in men are widespread across the nation. A survey conducted by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) suggests that 10% of men suffer from depression and anxiety.
Notably, 60% of men experience at least one trauma in their lives. Therefore, men are more susceptible to trauma resulting from physical assault, accidents, disaster, combat or witnessing injury or death.
More men suffer from some form of mental illness at any given time, and the numbers are growing. It’s telling that 49% of men feel more depressed than they admit. Men are also 3.7 times more likely to commit suicide than women and two times more likely than women to binge drink.
Texas has one of the highest rates of male mental health disorders in the U.S. This is because Texas is home to the second-largest population of Americans after California, hosting 8.7% of the country’s population.
Statistically, this means male mental health in Austin, the state capital, should be a serious concern. Alta Loma’s recreational therapy program was designed with men’s mental health issues in Austin, TX, in mind.
Common Mental Health Disorders Among Men
Depression is one of the leading mental health conditions among men today. According to the CDC, at least 5.5% of young men experience depression.
Despite that number being significantly less than for women in the same age group, many cases of male depression go undiagnosed. Doctors commonly miss depression in men became men’s symptoms are less typical of major depressive disorder.
Additionally, while men are less likely to be diagnosed with depression and attempt suicide at lower rates, they’re 3.7 times more likely to die from suicide than women. This is because men tend to choose more lethal weapons, such as firearms, to commit suicide.
Men experience anxiety disorders in the forms of panic disorder, social anxiety, phobias, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and generalized anxiety disorder (GAD).
While GAD is more prevalent among women than men, both genders suffer from OCD and social anxiety at nearly the same rate. Furthermore, men with these mental health disorders are more susceptible to substance use disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
3. Substance Abuse Disorders
According to Monitoring the Future, a survey on national substance abuse, substance use disorders is more common in men because men are more likely than women to misuse drugs, including hallucinogens, marijuana and prescription painkillers. As mentioned previously, men are twice as likely to binge drink as women, making them more prone to alcohol-related hospitalizations and deaths.
The tendency for men to abuse drugs more than women is attributed to men’s drug use — abuse of drugs and alcohol is considered more socially acceptable and even associated with masculinity. As such, those traits are less likely to be recognized as mental health symptoms.
4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is often thought of as a condition that solely affects military veterans. However, it’s much more common in men than imagined.
At least 60% of men experience a traumatic event in their lifetime. These traumas can result from accidents, combat, physical assault or even witnessing death or injury. Exposure to these traumatic events can have serious and long-term effects on male mental health issues.
For instance, young men exhibiting symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder report interference with their daily life and functioning. Often these men suffer in silence and will ignore behavioral and physical symptoms of the condition and other mental health issues.
5. Bipolar Disorders
Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme highs (mania) and lows (depression) in mood and activity levels.
Although bipolar disorder, formerly known as manic depression, isn’t as common in men as other mental health conditions, the vast majority of the cases — approximately 83% — are classified as severe.
The first symptoms of these disorders often manifest between 15 and 24 years in men. Usually, the symptoms can be written off easily as normal teenage angst or common young male behavior but are often linked to high-risk activities and overconfidence.