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Men: finding help with Depression/Sadness

Depression is a feeling of sadness or blues that persists over a period of time. It is more than a bad day. Depression is a chemical imbalance within the brain.

Depression can be due to several factors. Frequently, depression can be triggered by a major life change. When a loved one suffers the effects of a stroke, it is important to remember that these are major life changes for everyone caring for that individual. Such drastic role changes can have significant effects on the caregiver’s health as well.

It is known that men deal with depression differently than women. Men are less likely to admit to their feelings as they take on their new role. Traditionally men are raised to be a provider and to not show their emotions. This feeling of responsibility to take care of business makes it very easy for some men to internalize their emotions and channel them into unhealthy behaviors. Symptoms of male depression are similar, yet different than that of women’s.

depressedPhysical Symptoms may include:

-Losing the desire to participate in usually enjoyable activities.
-Losing your sexual desire.
-Experiencing feelings of fatigue. This may include feeling sleepy or the loss of energy.
-Sleeping difficulties. This may include too much sleep or the inability to sleep.
-Increasing chronic pain or abdominal discomfort despite treatment.
- Experiencing significant change in weight. This may include a gain or loss of weight even when not trying to change weight.
- Turning to the use of alcohol or other drugs as a way of coping.
-Controlling, aggressive, or abusive behavior. This can be found in a variety of different ways. Having to control unimportant issues or verbally lashing out at individuals, as well as many other behaviors such as physically attacking both inanimate objects as well as animate beings can be signs of depression.
- Working excessively. Men are more likely to immerse themselves into a project to escape underlying feelings.

Emotional Symptoms may include:

  • Feeling more irritable or aggressive than normal. Men may show their emotions differently than woman, and find aggression as an outlet for their emotions.
  • Feeling anxious. Worrying about things excessively and being unable to let go of the concerns can feed into depression.
  • Feeling empty or hopeless. Depression can leave you feeling like things will never get better.
  • Feeling guilty or worthless. Taking on unnecessary blame for things that are not your fault as well as feeling like your input does not matter are warning signs.
  • Having thoughts of hurting yourself or others. Men with depression are at a higher risk for exhibiting such thoughts and acting upon them. This is very serious and needs to be addressed immediately with a healthcare provider.

If you or someone you know has feelings of hurting themselves it is a medical emergency. Below are phone numbers for suicide hotlines that are available to help. These feelings are not normal and should be treated in the nearest emergency room immediately.

Suicide hotlines:
800-SUICIDE (800-784-2433) and
800-273-TALK (800-273-8255).

If you feel that you may be exhibiting some symptoms of depression it is important to seek care. Speak with your current health care provider as soon as possible to begin treatment that can help. There are several types of treatment that can assist in returning you to a more healthy you. Frequently therapy will consist of more than one option at a time.

Treatments may include, but are not limited to:

~Exercise such as walking, jogging, or any variety of physical activity allows for the release of feel good chemicals into your body combating the negativity of depression.
~Social networking helps to provide a sense of belonging and self confidence.
~Spiritual exploration can provide guidance and peace during difficult times. Spirituality can be found in religion, but does not have to take that path. Whatever your source of faith and enlightenment is, it can provide a source of strength.
~Pet therapy, also known as animal assisted therapy, helps to provide companionship and promote activity and motivation during depressive episodes. This can be used as a complimentary therapy along with professional treatments.
~Talk therapy (also known as psychotherapy) provides an open atmosphere to discuss troubles, concerns, feelings, or whatever may be on your mind. Allowing for such an atmosphere helps to process the many emotions of depression.
~Light therapy and sunshine along with another therapy programs has been found to decrease depressive symptoms.
~Herbal therapies can also provide relief for depression. All herbal therapies should be discussed with your healthcare provider prior to initiation. There are many herbal therapies available such as St. John’s Wort, but as with any medications there can be side effects. Use with caution.
~Medications for depression are sometimes prescribed by your healthcare provider (such as Nardil, Parnate, Prozac, Zoloft, Paxil, Sinequan) and can help manage the symptoms of depression when combined with appropriate psychotherapy.
~Advanced medical therapies (such as electroconvulsive therapy) are available as prescribed by a healthcare provider in more serious conditions.

Additional Information:

The following are some websites to provide you with more information about experiencing depression: (Please click to view Web sites)

http://www.depression-screening.org/depression_screen.cfm

https://www.caregiver.org/depression-and-caregiving


References:

Family Caregiving Alliance (2002). Caregiving and depression. Retrieved from http://www.caregiver.org/caregiver/jsp/content_node.jsp?nodeid=393

Kneisl, C., & Trigoboff, E. (2009). Contemporary psychiatric-mental health nursing (2nd ed.). Upper Sadie River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). (2011). How do men experience depression. Retrieved from http://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/depression/what-causes-depression.shtml

WebMD. (2011). Depression in men. Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/depression/depression-men

Developed in 2011 by Jennifer Barber, BSN, RN, PCCN at the University of Toledo for Caring~Web.

 

Last Updated: 6/23/16