Men's Health

How Depression Affects Men and Women

How Depression Affects Men and Women

How Common Is Depression in Men?

Although it has been found that women experience depression two times more than men, this fact can't deny that men are as vulnerable to this mental disorder as women. According to research, over 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from clinical depression every year. The stereotypical view that only women have depression still lingers in the society and keeps men with depression from recognizing it and seeking right treatment at the right time. Men normally have a difficult time accepting that their unhappiness is actually depression, and end up overlooking their symptoms completely.

The symptoms of clinical depression in men remain the same as women, but they express them differently.


Below are a few common symptoms of depression in men:

  • Apathy
  • Fatigue and restlessness
  • Loss of interest in usually enjoyable activities
  • Low self-esteem
  • Changes in appetite
  • Sexual problems, such as reduced sex drive
  • Suicidal tendencies
  • Sleep disturbances

The Difference Between Men and Women Who are Depressed

When women have depression, they are usually sad and emotional. On the other hand, when men have depression, they are usually more aggressive, irritable, and hostile. Here are five other ways how depression may look different in men and women:

Women are more likely to harbor and obsess over their feelings compared to men when feeling depressed:

Ruminating refers to a condition in which a person constantly replays or obsesses over negative feelings. As compared to men, women are more likely to ruminate which involves symptoms such as negative attitude towards life, crying for no obvious reason and blaming themselves without any reason. This behavior makes the condition of women even worse. On the other hand, men try to distract themselves when feeling sad, which helps ease some symptoms of depression.

Men with depression are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol:

Men, especially teenagers, with depression, usually turn to illegal drugs and alcohol to medicate themselves prior to the onset of depression. Women, on the other hand, turn to substance abuse after the onset of depression. Depressed men become arrogant, hostile and engage in risky behaviors, such as smoking, gambling, unsafe sex or reckless driving to ease out their feelings.

Men are more likely to commit suicide than women:

Because men usually hide their feelings and emotions, their depression symptoms can go longer without being noticed, diagnosed or treated. This leads to a more devastating mental health problem which makes men more vulnerable to committing suicide. In fact, it has been found that suicidal rate among men is four times that of women.

Divorced and single men are more likely to be depressed:

As per another finding, divorced and single men are more vulnerable to this psychological problem than divorced and single women. On the contrary, married women are relatively more vulnerable to depression than married men.

Depression and eating disorders go hand in hand in case of women: Women are more likely to have depression and a co-existing eating disorder such as bulimia and anorexia. Certain anxiety disorders, such as obsessive-compulsive behavior or panic disorder, also co-exist with depression in certain cases.

The article concludes that the behavior and outlook of men towards depression need to be changed. One should help them understand that depression is a curable condition and it must not be ashamed of. By breaking those stereotypical thoughts, we can help bridge the psychological gap between men and women.