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Depression: The Y Chromosome Isn't Immune

Depression is a serious, yet treatable mental health disorder that can affect any man, no matter how keen his sense of direction or burly his mustache. While depression is often associated with sadness and hopelessness, it often manifests itself in fits of rage, unnecessary risk-taking, and alcohol or drug abuse in men. 

Everyone feels sad or irritable and has trouble sleeping once in a while. But these feelings and troubles usually pass after a couple of days. Depression is a common but serious mood disorder that may cause severe symptoms. Depression affects the ability to feel, think, and handle daily activities. Also known as major depressive disorder or clinical depression, a man must have symptoms for at least two weeks to be diagnosed with depression.

Both men and women get depression but their willingness to talk about their feelings may be very different. This is one of the reasons that depression symptoms for men and women may be very different as well.

For example, some men with depression hide their emotions and may seem to be angry, irritable, or aggressive while many women seem sad or express sadness. Men with depression may feel very tired and lose interest in work, family, or hobbies. They may be more likely to have difficulty sleeping than women who have depression. Sometimes mental health symptoms appear to be physical issues. For example, a racing heart, tightening chest, ongoing headaches, or digestive issues can be signs of a mental health problem. Many men are more likely to see their doctor about physical symptoms than emotional symptoms.

Some men may turn to drugs or alcohol to try to cope with their emotional symptoms. Also, while women with depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to die by suicide because they tend to use more lethal methods.

Depression can affect any man at any age. With the right treatment, most men with depression can get better and gain back their interest in work, family, and hobbies.

Support for men's mental health is available at www.ManTherapy.org. Man Therapy is a resource to help men with any problem that life sends their way, something to set them straight on the realities of suicide and mental health, and in the end, a tool to help put a stop to the suicide deaths of so many of our men. 

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