Depression is a serious problem for some men, and for many it is poorly understood. There are many myths and facts about depression in men, so let’s sort them out.
Men don’t get as depressed as women: Myth
When it comes to depression, men tend to fly under the radar. Because men are not as likely to talk about their feelings as women, it is harder for them, their family, and even their doctors to realize they are suffering. A depressed man may be angry, irritable, or restless rather than sad. Some depressed men cope by drinking, doing drugs, or behaving recklessly.
Depression can sneak up slowly: Fact
Depression can be much harder to identify than a sudden illness because it can build up gradually. The good news is that once you identify it and get the right treatment you may start getting relief in about four to six weeks depending on the therapy.
Depression treatment means taking drugs for life: Myth
There are many different treatments for depression besides medication. Talk therapy can be very effective as well. Some aging men find relief from managing their hormones. Even if you are prescribed medication, it does not mean you have to take them for life.
Exercise helps treat depression: Fact
Studies show that exercise is good medicine. In fact, moderately intense exercise has been shown to work as well as some medications for treating mild to moderate depression. Boost those benefits by working out with a friend or a group.
Depression is not a real illness: Myth
Depression is the biggest cause of disability in the U.S. and is a serious medical condition. Brain scans of depressed people show abnormal activity levels. Along with tests for other illnesses, depression is something your doctor should look for as one of 10 tests for men over 50.
Depression can run in families: Fact
Depression can run in families, but just because you have depression in your family does not mean you will get it too. Knowing you have a family history gives you the advantage of being alert to early symptoms so you can take action. You can be proactive in getting exercise, seeking professional treatment early, and managing stress.
Depressed people are always crying: Myth
Not all people cry or act sad when they have depression. Some feel useless, emotionally blank, or worthless. It affects people in different ways, but it still takes a toll on families and prevents people from living life to the fullest.
Depression can look like dementia: Fact
Seniors are susceptible to depression, which can cause memory problems, delusions, and confusion. Effective treatment includes psychotherapy or medication. Other signs of depression in seniors include changes in appetite, sleep patterns, or aches and pains.
Depression is a sign of low T: Fact
Low testosterone can cause many changes in mood, energy, and sexual libido. And one of the things a hormonal imbalance can cause is depression. Men with low T are four times more likely to be diagnosed with clinical depression, according to a study by the University of Washington. There are many natural ways to boost your testosterone. You can find out more in this quick guide to boosting testosterone.
Dealing with the facts
If you have symptoms of depression, you should seek help because depression can greatly affect your health. Depression can lead to sexual problems, relationship troubles, work issues, trouble sleeping, and keep you from living fully. It is also important to sort out the myths and facts about depression because depression could be a symptom of something else going on in your body. Whether it signals low testosterone or a more serious life-threatening condition, it is important to seek help.
Here is one more fact: there is hope. You can replace negative thinking with positive thought. You can learn skills to cope better, and you can treat depression so you can fully engage in and enjoy your life. You just have to take the first step in getting help.