Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Depression In Men Over 50

How To Know If Youre Depressed

Older men, depression and suicidal thoughts

If you identify with several of the following, you may be suffering from depression.

  • You feel hopeless and helpless
  • Youve lost interest in friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  • Youre much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • Youre consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or self-medicating
  • You feel restless and agitated
  • Your sleep and appetite has changed
  • You cant concentrate or your productivity at work has declined
  • You cant control your negative thoughts
  • If youre feeling suicidal

    Problems dont seem temporarythey seem overwhelming and permanent. But if you reach out for help, you will feel better.

    Read HelpGuides Suicide Prevention articles or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline in the U.S. at 1-800-273-8255. For help outside the U.S., visit Befrienders Worldwide.

    Differences In Male Depression

    Many studies have been done on the differences in depression symptoms and diagnosis in men and women. However, there is currently no single agreed-upon hypothesis to explain these differences.

    Different ideas have been put forth, including ones saying male and female depression are separate syndromes, as well as men just experiencing different symptoms of the same disease.

    Is Depression Common In Elderly Men

    Although depression is not a normal part of aging, senior men may have medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, or other stressors that may contribute to depression. For example, there may be excessive losses . Retirement is difficult for many men because they end up with no routine or set schedule to follow. These changes may increase the stress they feel, and a loss of self-esteem may contribute to depression. In addition, the death of family and friends, the onset of other health problems, and some medications can contribute to depression in men.

    Also Check: How Do Doctors Test You For Depression

    Why Is Male Depression Often Undiagnosed

    Research suggests that rates of undiagnosed depression are substantially higher in men than women, according to theAmerican Journal of Mens Health. A big part of the reason for that has to do with the way society sees men. That societal image of what a man is supposed to bestrong, stoic, able to deal with things on his owncan affect a mans ability to recognize depression and seek help for it.

    Men are less likely to come forward about depression because theres more stigma for men, says William S. Pollack, Ph.D., director of the Centers for Men and Young Men and assistant clinical professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. Even with our more androgynous, spectrum idea of gender, we still have fairly dyed-in-the-wool views of masculinity, which include, in general, seeing depression as not just another medical illness, but also as a weakness.

    As a result, men are much less likely to talk to anyone about their low mood, let alone a complete stranger. Its not considered manly or masculine to talk about your feelings, although this attitude has been changing in recent years.

    Its definitely gotten better, says Pollack. Oddly enough, during the pandemic its gotten better in a split way. A certain percentage of men are much more likely to come for help, and another percentage of men are less likely.

    Just talking to someone else can improve someones mood for a while, says Dr. Pollack.

    An Unusual Overlooked Sign Of Depression

    Loneliness Tied to Depression in Adults Older Than 50 Years

    These observations are, of course, subjective, so I conducted a review of PubMed, which aggregates the articles in 3,000 medical journals. Over the past 60 years, 95 percent of the gender-specific articles were about women. And when women were excluded from studies, it was typically for a good reason, for example, the drug under study was for use by people of child-bearing age and researchers didn’t want to risk subjecting fetuses to an adult dose of an experimental drug.

    5. Sexual decline. Perhaps in part caused by men’s earlier health decline, their sexuality also falls, often literally. One man said, “I loved sex. I was good at sex. Now I can’t even get it up. Yeah, I can take Viagra to get an erection so I can service my wife, but Viagra doesn’t increase sex drive. I’m disappointing my wife as well as myself.” Even to the extent that men remain sexually interested, theyas are older womenare often perceived as invisible. In concert with the other factors above, that can contribute to Older Sad Man Syndrome.

    Addressing Older Sad Man Syndrome

    Here is what has worked best for my clients. Perhaps you’ll find one or more worth trying:

    The takeaway

    Malaise is more common than many people will admit to, perhaps especially among older men. If some of the above resonates with you, I hope that, at least, you’ll realize you’re not anomalous. And perhaps realizing that along with trying one or more of those admittedly standard tactics may help.

    Also Check: What It’s Like To Have Depression

    Symptoms Of Anxiety In Men

    Anxiety is more than having sweaty palms and butterflies in your stomach. Symptoms of anxiety can include ongoing feelings of worry, fear and impending doom that are so severe they interfere with your ability to work, maintain relationships and get a decent nights sleep. Physical signs of anxiety may include:

    • pounding or racing heart
    • thinking about death or suicide.

    What Types Of Depression Are Common In Men

    Just as symptoms of depression vary from person to person, they also vary in intensity, duration, and cause based on the type of depression being experienced.5

    The most common types of depression in men include:

    • Major Depressive Disorder: A depressed mood over at least a two week period that interferes with social life, work, or other areas of functioning. This is one of the most commonly diagnosed depressive disorders.
    • Persistent Depressive Disorder : Having a depressed mood for more days than not over a course of at least a two year period.
    • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder: Depressed or irritable and elevated mood that is related to either alcohol or other drug use. Typically there are no identified symptoms prior to the substance or medication use.
    • Depressive Disorder Due to Another Medical Condition: Typically diagnosed when there has been a significant medical diagnosis that alters the biological makeup of the body to cause depression. This can occur with strokes, traumatic brain injury, tumors, and other conditions that affect the brain.
    • Other Specified Depressive Disorder: This is typically diagnosed when the duration of symptoms or how they manifest do not fit with the other types. For example, a shorter depressive episode lasting a few days to a week would likely be categorized under this type.

    Also Check: Where To Go To Get Diagnosed With Depression

    Does Depression In Men Affect Sexual Desire & Performance

    Depression in men can impact sexual drive and performance. Depression is linked to higher levels of cortisol, and in men, this leads to lower levels of testosterone. Even if men have the desire, they may not able to be show up fully to their sexual encounters, which can make them feel worse and further exacerbate their depression.

    How Important Is Testosterone In Men Over 50

    Depression in men

    A mans body and psyche change with time.

    Not only do men over 50 have more life experience and deeper values, but one of the fundamental components of their bodies a substance that the brain needs to communicate effectively with the rest of the body has lessened significantly: testosterone.

    At this moment, are your hormone ranges:

    • subnormal

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    Can Depression Be Prevented

    Many people wonder if depression can be prevented and how they may be able to lower their risk of depression. Although most cases of depression cannot be prevented, healthy lifestyle changes can have long-term benefits to your mental health.

    Here are a few steps you can take:

    What Causes Depression In Men

    Depression can be caused by a wide range of factors, and every person has a unique set of circumstances.

    In some people, challenging life events or issues such as a family member dying, facing unemployment, past or continuing abuse, or stress at work may cause depression.

    Sometimes a recent event, such as a divorce or losing your job, can trigger depression if you are already at risk.

    You are more likely to develop depression if:

    • you have a close family member with depression
    • you have a serious medical condition
    • you have a personality that is prone to depression, such as if you worry a lot or you are a perfectionist
    • you take drugs or drink too much alcohol

    Loneliness can also increase your risk of developing depression. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused disruption and social isolation for many people who may have been apart from friends and family for a long time. This can lead to an increased risk of depression.

    Sometimes, people can develop depression for no obvious reason, but just because there is no clear cause it doesnt mean that you are not experiencing depression.

    Recommended Reading: Prayer To St Jude For Depression

    Medical Conditions That Can Cause Elderly Depression

    Its important to be aware that medical problems can cause depression in older adults and the elderly, either directly or as a psychological reaction to the illness. Any chronic medical condition, particularly if it is painful, disabling, or life-threatening, can lead to depression or make your depression symptoms worse.

    These include:

    • Multiple sclerosis

    What Are The Signs Of Depression In Men

    Americans get more depressed over job loss than Europeans

    The signs of depression in men involve changes in the way they think, feel or behave. There are also physical signs of depression.

    For example, you may feel:

    Almost everyone experiences some of these signs occasionally. If your symptoms appear often or wont go away, you may be experiencing depression.

    While anyone with depression can experience any of these symptoms, men and women tend to experience and report them differently. Men are more likely to talk about the physical symptoms of depression, such as feeling tired or losing weight, rather than saying they feel low.

    Some people who experience depression think their life is not worth living or that other people would be better off without them. People experiencing depression are more likely to take their own lives by suicide, while sadly, 7 men end their own lives every day in Australia.

    Read Also: I Am Depressed And No One Cares

    Depression In Older Adults

    If you have a sad, despairing mood that lasts for more than two weeks, it may be depression. Depression is not the same as sadness, though it can be triggered by the sadness caused by loss , stress or major life change . Depression can also be caused by some medical conditions, such as chronic pain, thyroid problems, stroke or Alzheimers disease. Certain medications and alcohol use can cause depression as well. Depression may also develop for no apparent reason.

    People who are depressed cannot just get over it. Depression is a biological illness caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. It affects thoughts, feelings, behaviour and physical health. Older adults who are depressed may have had episodes of depression throughout their lives, or they may have their first episode late in life. Depression can affect anyone at any age, but is often not recognized in older adults. This is because some signs of depression can be mistaken for signs of aging, and also because older adults who are depressed may not complain about feeling low. When left untreated, depression may continue for weeks, months or even years. Untreated depression is the main cause of suicide in older adults.

    What are the signs of depression?

    What can I do about depression?

    Where can I get help or get more information?

    What Is Depression In Men

    Depression is a serious mental health condition that affects how you feel, think, and handle daily activities. It can make you feel sad, irritable or empty and lose pleasure or interest in things you usually enjoy. While it is normal to feel down sometimes, if you feel this way for 2 weeks or more you may be experiencing depression.

    Social norms that define masculinity, like not talking about your feelings or not getting upset, can sometimes make it hard for men to acknowledge that they may be experiencing depression.

    This page is about depression in men however, many aspects of depression arent confined to a particular gender. Go here for more general information about depression.

    Recommended Reading: What Causes Treatment Resistant Depression

    Develop An Action Plan For Anxiety And Depression

    Your action plan for anxiety and depression will cover a wide range of options. The plan can include exercise, stress management and how to improve your sleep. You may be referred to a psychologist who can help you address things like negative thinking and how to manage difficulties in your relationships.

    Some people think its weak to admit theyre going through a tough time, but if you have anxiety or depression, you cant just snap out of it or pull yourself together. Theres more to it than that.

    If you think you may have anxiety or depression, and want to take action, start by talking to someone you trust keeping it to yourself can make things worse. Discuss your situation with a friend, partner, family member a colleague or your GP.

    Beyond Blue has put together information about how men can create an action plan.

    Depressed Older Adults May Not Feel Sad

    Men’s Depression Research at UBC

    While depression and sadness might seem to go hand and hand, many depressed seniors claim not to feel sad at all. They may complain, instead, of low motivation, a lack of energy, or physical problems. In fact, physical complaints, such as arthritis pain or worsening headaches, are often the predominant symptom of depression in the elderly.

    Is it grief or depression?

    As we age, we experience many losses. Loss is painfulwhether its a loss of independence, mobility, health, your long-time career, or someone you love. Grieving over these losses is normal and healthy, even if the feelings of sadness last for a long time.

    Distinguishing between grief and clinical depression isnt always easy, since they share many symptoms. However, there are ways to tell the difference.

    • Grief is a roller coaster involving a wide variety of emotions and a mix of good and bad days. Even when youre grieving, youll still have moments of pleasure or happiness.
    • With depression, on the other hand, the feelings of emptiness and despair are constant.
    • While theres no set timetable for grieving, if it doesnt let up over time or extinguishes all signs of joylaughing at a good joke, brightening in response to a hug, appreciating a beautiful sunsetit may be depression.

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    When Do Testosterone Levels Peak

    In men, when testosterone levels fall below normal ranges, it can cause undesirable symptoms.

    The problem with saying normal ranges is that ranges are based on averages, and in reality, each bodys chemistry is uniquely different.

    Looking at the results of your blood panel from the lab can give you an idea of where your current testosterone is falling based on the averages of other men in your age range.

    Another important indicator of whether or not your body is producing enough testosterone is how you feel. For this reason, its essential that you communicate with your medical doctor and/or naturopath about any changes in how your body and your mood feel in your daily life.

    just like when your vision becomes blurry and you get eyeglasses or Lasik, when your hormones get wobbly you do things to get solid again

    I first started noticing that I felt different than usual when I turned 37. My energy seemed to fluctuate more. My body sometimes felt alien to me.

    What You Can Do

    While aging is an inevitable part of life, depression need not be part of it. Researchers agree that early recognition, diagnosis, and treatment can counteract and prevent depressions emotional and physical consequences.

    Here are some issues to consider in addressing depression in an older adult:

    • Be aware of physical limitations. Encourage an older adult to consult with a physician before making dietary changes or undertaking any new activity that may stress his or her stamina.
    • Respect individual preferences. Because elderly people tend to be less amenable to lifestyle changes, they may be reluctant to adopt new habits or do things that their peers find highly enjoyable. A psychologist who specializes in aging issues can help tailor an individualized strategy to combat depression.
    • Be tactful. An older person with fragile self-esteem may interpret well-intentioned encouragement as further proof of his or her declining condition. Others may resent any attempts at intervention. A psychologist can help friends and family members craft positive approaches for dealing with these and other sensitive issues.

    APA gratefully acknowledges the assistance of Susan Silk, PhD, in developing this fact sheet.

    Recommended Reading: How To Help Your Husband With Depression

    Helping Yourself When You Have Depression

    • Ask for help: It’s the same at any age, you don’t have to put up with being depressed. Tell your GP how you feel.
    • Keep active: It can be hard to get our regularly because of physical problems, but it’s worth doing. We know that if you keep up some regular physical activity, you tend to feel better. And if you are alone at home, you are more likely to brood on things, which can make you feel even worse.
    • Stay connected: It helps to keep your mood up by:
    • keeping up with hobbies and interests
    • staying in touch with friends and family
    • visiting your local library or local lunch clubs and day centres.
  • Try to eat properly: If you lose your appetite, it’s easy to lose weight and run short of important vitamins and minerals. Older bodies cannot adjust as well as younger ones – so this can really affect your health. Beware of stocking up on chocolate and biscuits – these are quick and easy to eat, but they don’t have the vitamins and minerals to keep you feeling well.
  • Remind yourself that depression is an illness – not a sign of weakness. You are not being lazy or letting other people down.
  • Tell someone if you feel so low that you have thoughts of taking your own life.
  • Don’t keep your feelings to yourself. Talking to somebody does help.
  • Watch your drinking. Alcohol can make depression worse. It can also react with any tablets you are taking.
  • Try not to panic about not sleeping properly. It will get better when the depression lifts.
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