In the news – Depression symptoms: Men are more likely to feel physical PAIN than to cry

DEPRESSION in men is on the increase, but many don’t realise male symptoms of the mental health condition are different to women’s – and even doctors can fail to spot the signs.

Of those who seek help for depression, only 25 per cent are men. However studies say the real figure is actually closer to half of all cases.

Research by Mind has highlighted several reasons why men may not seek help, including mistaking symptoms for standard male personality traits.

According to the NHS, depression is more than just feeling unhappy or fed up for a few days – people who suffer with the condition can feel like this for weeks or months.

Living undiagnosed may cause more serious problems including risk of suicide, which is currently the biggest killer in men under the age of 35.

This is what else you might not know about male depression.

Men have different symptoms

Mind said: “Men and women can react to depression quite differently. Men may be more likely to externalise symptoms or ‘act out’, displaying aches and pains or becoming angry and frustrated, rather than being emotional or tearful.”

In contrast, women are more likely to be tearful or have a low mood.

While depression and anxiety affect everyone differently, there are common symptoms including feeling low-spirited, restless, agitated, helpless or irritable.

Additionally, being unable to relate to other people, gaining no pleasure from things usually enjoyed and losing interest in sex can also be general indicators.

A man might only tell a partner

Research from Mind found that men can find it much harder than women to talk to their friends about their mental health.

Mind said: “Generally, men tend to rely on their partner as their sole means of support, whereas women seek support from a wider group of friends and relatives.”

Men are less likely to visit a doctor

Mind explained: “Sadly too many men wrongly believe by admitting they are experiencing a mental health problem it makes them weak. This kind of self-stigma can prevent men from seeking help, which can ultimately cost lives.”

The charity has launched the Time To Change movement, along with Rethink Mental Illness, to alter the way people think about mental health.

Findings from Mind reveal less than a quarter of men would visit their GP if they felt down for more than two weeks, in comparison to a third of women.

They’re turned away

Mind said: “Even when they do reach out, many men may not be diagnosed as having a mental health problem because symptoms can be overlooked as being typically ‘male’ personality traits.

“Aggression or self-medicating with drugs or alcohol don’t fit with the classic signs of a mental health problem that GPs look out for.”

Triggers aren’t always recent

Mind advised: “The reasons for experiencing depression and anxiety vary from person to person, but might include having low self-esteem, trying to take on lots of different responsibilities or past and childhood experiences.

“There may be certain things that trigger your depression or anxiety. For example, things like feeling stressed, relationship problems or money worries can contribute.

“You may be able to learn what the triggers are, or be able to spot when an episode might be starting, you might find that things like going outside, getting some exercise or arranging to do something with a friend might help.”

Texting can save a life

If you think one of your friends or family might be experiencing a mental health problem – or are simply not themselves – Mind said there a few ways you can support them.

“Raise the subject yourself and get them talking. Sometimes you don’t have to explicitly talk about mental health to find out how your male friend is doing – it can be as simple as texting them to see if they want to do something, whether they are free for you to visit them.”

The charity suggests avoiding alcohol at the pub and to go for a walk or do a sport instead.

“Encourage your friend, relative or loved one to visit there doctor to seek appropriate treatment. You can reassure them that it is possible to do something to improve their situation, but try to do this in a caring and non-judgemental way.”

Mind advised not to blame them for feeling anxious or depressed, adding: “Don’t tell them to ‘pull themselves together’. They are probably already blaming themselves, and criticism is likely to make them feel even worse.

“Always be patient. Someone with depression may get irritable, and be more liable to misunderstand others, or feel misunderstood, than usual; they may need reassurance in some situations.”

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