People generally think of depression as a prolonged period of a persistent feeling of sadness, “feeling depressed”, as they see it. It can show up as a high degree of unwarranted or unprovoked irritability or outbursts of anger, or physical pain like headache, backache, or other forms. It affects a person’s thoughts, attitude, and actions.
Feelings of grief at some sad incident or tragedy are normal, as are occasional mood swings. It manifests more when a person continues to wallow in negative thoughts and feelings for weeks or months.
Depression in Men: An Overview
Usually, or according to “conventional wisdom”, women are more susceptible to depression than men. That, however, could be a false impression because depression manifests differently in men.
According to a JAMA Psychiatry study (JAMA stands for Journal of the American Medical Association); it is an observation that men with depression, as compared to women, are manifested in angry outbursts, aggression in body behaviour or seeking risk-taking behaviour and substance abuse.
Taking these differences into account, it was found that the prevalence of depression in both men and women was the same, it affected roughly one-third of adults. Unfortunately, due to different behavioural manifestation and men’s reluctance or inability to talk about their feelings, depression in men often gets overlooked.
Rather than concentrating on the psychological state, attention is paid to the physical symptoms accompanying male depression. It could be a backache, headache, sleep disorder, or problems generally to be overseen. However, if left undetected and unattended for long, it can lead to severe ramifications.
Depression or feelings of despair can lead to suicidal tendencies, and men are four-time more prone to have such thoughts than women. A frank talk with close friends or loved ones can help a proper diagnosis of the problem. This is vital in finding a solution and successful treatment.
Signs of depression in men
Since men tend to mask their feelings with other forms of behaviour, the signs of depression can get overlooked. They are mostly manifested with pains like backache, frequent headaches, sleep problems, sexual dysfunction, or these could show up as hypersensitivity, short-tempered, or reckless or risky behaviour such as reckless driving, unsafe sex, etc. Pointers suggesting that a man could be suffering from depression are:
- A general feeling of being unwell
- Losing interest in any activity you enjoyed
- Irritability or over-aggressive behaviour
- Consuming liquor, gambling, reckless behaviour
- Restlessness or agitated
- Disturbed sleep, change in appetite
- Inability to concentrate or decline in productivity
- Persistent negative thoughts
Remember, depression is different from feeling sad or disappointed at some loss or failure. Ups and downs are a part of life. Depression is the persistence of negative thoughts, wallowing in self-pity, a feeling of hopelessness and worthlessness.
There are ways to deal with it, but one should not expect instant results. It is not like switching something on or off. It would take a while. There are ways to help oneself out of it, such as socialising and reaching out to friends, taking up some physical activity and exercising, eating healthy, reading.
These would start improving sleep patterns and restore appetite, and they may bring about a change in the outlook toward life, how one thinks and feels and bring back the verve and joy in life. Here are seven practical ways men can deal with depression:
1. Seek social support
Pressures of modern-day professional life often make it difficult to spare time for friends. The first thing to do is to find the time and reconnect with them. You need to be with those you can share your feelings with, those who know and accept you and will not judge you. They are the people who are a therapy, your dose of antidepressant medicine.
For this to work, it should be a face-to-face meeting. Talking on the phone and exchanging messages is good, but it cannot beat meeting a friend in person, face-to-face.
Another good social activity is helping and supporting others, volunteering if need be, doing something good for someone. You may also join a support group if need be. Sharing experiences and suggestions with others facing different problems also help in coping with depression.
2. Spend time in sunlight
Little does anyone realize the importance of vitamin D! The sun has the most significant energy source that can eliminate the depressants in the body. So, reach out to the sun and bask in its rays is one of the biggest antidepressants. It can help boost serotonin levels and improve your mood. Some of the other ‘wellness tools’ to deal with depression are:
- Spend time with nature
- Make a note about what are your positives
- Take the help of good books
- Hilarious movies lift the mood
- Hot shower for twenty minutes helps
- Take achievable tasks
- Make pets your quiet confession friend
- Address and face family face-to-face
- Music can be very therapeutic
- Volunteer for contributing for work spontaneously
Implementing the ideas mentioned are some of the surest ways of feeling good.
3- Take an interest in your health
This includes several aspects. Try to get a good night’s sleep. Try and get rid of stress. The best way to do it is to find ways to get to overcome it. If work overload, make a list and finish off the essential tasks one after the other. If there are other factors like financial issues or relationship problems, find ways to tackle them or get rid of them – and do it sensibly with calm thinking. Yoga, meditation, as well as deep breathing, can help relax and calm your mind.
4 – Picking up physical activity
It helps to be physically involved. Joining a group in an open park where physical activity is conducted is an excellent way of relieving stress. Try introducing a mindfulness element, even sitting together in groups helps. If a person is young and physically capable, being a member of the gym helps keep you busy and physically active, which is an excellent way for relieving stress.
5: Eat a healthy diet
Your food has a lot to make you feel negative or positive. Binging on junk during depression is a bad idea. The focus should be on food that provides nutritional contents to rejuvenate the mind and body. Surprisingly, we are what we eat, and the food we consume directly impact on the way one feels.
Minimize sugar intake, replacing it with healthier sweet options like fruits and honey. A ‘feel-good’ approach is essential for better mood and energy. Replace it with nutrient-rich seasonal fruits and vegetables, lean meat and omega-3 rich content.
6. Challenge negative thinking
Stop feeling weak or powerless. Ups and downs are part of life, and one has to come out of it. A negative thought may make you go deeper into an abyss as depression spins only negative thoughts, and pessimism or irrational cognitive distortions are well-known issues that trigger in case of negative thinking. If you ask the brain to hold thinking negative, they do, but only with self-practice.
The wellness programs work-out best among men feeling depressed about circumstances. However, treatments suggested for depression in men when diagnosed are broadly therapy that should work best and provide immediate relief. Medication is also a long term solution applicable only when the case becomes difficult to handle; however, medication does have a side effect.
However, it is always better to cross-examine any occurring negative thoughts as it helps to make it crumble and help relieve any depression. These are some of the important ways to help a man with depression.
Author Bio: Koby Mahon is the content writer of this piece.
Koby, a therapist, is also an avid blogger, currently attached to the Online Assignment Expert. He provides assignment help, specifically,mental health assignment help to several online scholars connected here.