By: Charlotte Nickelberry
Depression is one of the leading causes of ill-health worldwide. It can devastate the quality of life of the afflicted person, and lead to psychological suffering and severe functional impairment if left untreated. Approximately one in five people will experience depression during their lifetime; however, women are two to three times as likely to be diagnosed with depression. This leads to a common misconception that depression is generally a “woman’s disease.” In reality, men are just less likely to acknowledge and report symptoms of depression. Men downplay their suffering, both to themselves and to others. This means that the low prevalence of depression and false negatives are painting the wrong picture. Men are more likely to display ‘act-out’ characteristics when faced with depression such as alcohol/drug misuse, risk-taking, lack of impulse control, and increased anger. They do this to conceal a deep sadness, which is why men develop ‘masked depression.’ Finally, men make up around 75% of all completed suicides, and depression is one of the strongest predictors of suicide. This disconnect means that modern techniques may be missing a big part of the picture when it comes to identifying male cases of depression. Depression in men is underreported and undertreated, and there is a need for further investigation to ensure that men are given the services they need to live a healthy and happy life.
Picture: Psych Central