Thursday, July 18, 2024

I Think I Suffer From Depression

Depression And Gender: Is It Different In Men And Women

Do You Suffer From Depression Or Anxiety? (WATCH THIS)

When it comes to depression, there is a distinct gender gap. Depression is nearly twice as common in women as in men, according to data from the National Center for Health Statistics. Hormonal and other biological factors play a role in this disparity. After all, only women can have premenstrual or postpartum depression. The same is true of antepartum depression which the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists estimates affects one in seven women.

But women also have higher rates of seasonal affective disorder, depressive symptoms in bipolar disorder, and persistent depressive disorder, note Harvard Health experts. The reasons for this are cause for speculation. Some researchers believe that environmental factors, such as the different and expectations that society places on women, are an important factor. Others theorize that men and women actually have depression at similar rates, but that women are more likely to talk about their feelings and seek help.

What Is Male Depression

As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity.

Depression impacts millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about themspouses, partners, friends, and family. Of course, its normal for anyone to feel down from time to time. Dips in mood are an ordinary reaction to losses, setbacks, and disappointments in life. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting.

Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences.

Talking To A Man About Depression

Many men dont exhibit typical depressive symptoms such as a despondent mood, so you may want to avoid using the word depression and try describing his behavior as stressed or overly tired. It could help him to open up.

Point out how his behavior has changed, without being critical. For example, You always seem get stomach pains before work, or You havent played racquetball for months.

Suggest a general check-up with a physician. He may be less resistant to seeing a family doctor than a mental health specialist at first. The doctor can rule out medical causes of depression and then make a referral.

Offer to accompany him on the first visit with a doctor or mental health specialist. Some men are resistant to talking about their feelings, so try to remove roadblocks to him seeking help.

Encourage him to make a list of symptoms to discuss. Help him focus on his feelings as well as physical ailments, and to be honest about his use of alcohol and drugs.

How to support a man with depression

Engage him in conversation and listen without judgement. Dont disparage any of the feelings he expresses, but do point out realities and offer hope.

Take any remarks about suicide seriously. In the U.S., call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or find a suicide helpline in another country at Befrienders Worldwide.

Invite him for social activities, whether its simply a walk together or lunch with friends. If your invitation is refused, keep trying.

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How Can I Take Care Of Myself

Once you begin treatment, you should gradually start to feel better. Go easy on yourself during this time. Try to do things you used to enjoy. Even if you dont feel like doing them, they can improve your mood. Other things that may help:

  • Try to get some physical activity. Just 30 minutes a day of walking can boost mood.
  • Try to maintain a regular bedtime and wake-up time.
  • Eat regular, healthy meals.
  • Do what you can as you can. Decide what must get done and what can wait.
  • Try to connect with other people, and talk with people you trust about how you are feeling.
  • Postpone important life decisions until you feel better.
  • Avoid using alcohol, nicotine, or drugs, including medications not prescribed for you.

When To See A Doctor

I suffer with depression. No one around me understands ...

Those who are experiencing symptoms of depression should seek medical assistance. Depression can worsen without treatment and affect a persons quality of life.

A family doctor or mental health professional will discuss treatment options to help the person manage their depression and carry on with daily life.

In severe cases, depression can lead to thoughts of suicide or physically harming oneself.

Any suicidal thoughts or statements about not wanting to live should be taken seriously. In times of crisis, a person should seek help from a hospital emergency department.

Help is also available from the National Suicide Prevention Helpline by calling 1-800-273-TALK , or visiting the Helplines website.

Also Check: How To Get Out Of A Depressed Mood

Triggers For Depression In Men

Theres no single cause of depression in men. Biological, psychological, and social factors all play a part, as do lifestyle choices, relationships, and coping skills.

While any man can suffer from depression, there are some risk factors that make a man more vulnerable, such as:

  • Loneliness and lack of social support
  • Inability to effectively deal with stress
  • A history of alcohol or drug abuse
  • Early childhood trauma or abuse
  • Aging in isolation, with few social outlets

Depression and erectile dysfunction

Impotence or erectile dysfunction is not only a trigger of depression in men, it can also be a side effect of many antidepressant medications.

  • Men with sexual function problems are almost twice as likely to be depressed as those without.
  • Depression increases the risk of erectile dysfunction.
  • Many men are reluctant to acknowledge sexual problems, thinking its a reflection on their manhood rather than a treatable problem caused by depression.

Researchers At The National Institute Of Mental Health And Across The Country Are Dedicated To Womens Mental Health Research

Researchers continue to study depression to improve the way this medical condition is diagnosed and treated. For example, NIMH researchers are currently working to understand how and why changes in reproductive hormones trigger mood disorders, including postpartum depression, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, and perimenopausal depression.

NIMH scientists are conducting a large number of research studies with patients and healthy volunteers to better understand why some women are at higher risk than others, and how they can translate these findings into new treatments or new uses of existing treatments.

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How To Reach Out For Depression Support

Look for support from people who make you feel safe and cared for. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you they just need to be a good listener-someone wholl listen attentively and compassionately without being distracted or judging you.

Make face-time a priority. Phone calls, social media, and texting are great ways to stay in touch, but they dont replace good old-fashioned in-person quality time. The simple act of talking to someone face to face about how you feel can play a big role in relieving depression and keeping it away.

Try to keep up with social activities even if you dont feel like it. Often when youre depressed, it feels more comfortable to retreat into your shell, but being around other people will make you feel less depressed.

Find ways to support others. Its nice to receive support, but research shows you get an even bigger mood boost from providing support yourself. So find ways-both big and small-to help others: volunteer, be a listening ear for a friend, do something nice for somebody.

Care for a pet. While nothing can replace the human connection, pets can bring joy and companionship into your life and help you feel less isolated. Caring for a pet can also get you outside of yourself and give you a sense of being needed-both powerful antidotes to depression.

Even if youve retreated from relationships that were once important to you, make the effort to reconnect.

What Might Indicate That Both Anxiety And Depression Are Present

7 Things To Avoid When Depressed

Traits that may signal the presence of both anxiety disorder and depression include:

  • Irrational worries or fears that wont go away
  • Physical symptoms, such as fatigue, headaches, rapid heartbeat, labored breathing or abdominal pain
  • Difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep
  • Changes in eating habits either too much or too little
  • Trouble remembering, making decisions or concentrating
  • Constant feelings of sadness or worthlessness
  • Loss of usual interest in activities or hobbies
  • Feeling often tired and cranky
  • Inability to relax and live in the moment
  • Suffering from panic attacks, including the sense of losing inner control2

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Treatment For Anxiety And Depression

The good news is that if you believe you are suffering from anxiety or depression or a combination of both, these mental health conditions are incredibly treatable.

For anxiety, treatment is used to minimize avoidant behaviors and help you change your thoughts of feared consequences, Dr. Fox said. For depression, the goal is to help you feel positive emotion and increased energy to have a happier outlook and disposition.

There is no one plan that works best for all patients, but oftentimes treatment is a combination of cognitive behavioral therapy and medication, such as SSRIs, SNRIs, TCAs and other anti-anxiety medications depending on your symptoms. Long-term, combined treatments are typically recommended for those with co-occurring anxiety and depression.

Your doctor will look at whats necessary to get you at a functioning level with minimal or no symptoms, Dr. Fox said. A good therapist can help you unravel your symptoms and help you develop the skills to manage and overcome your anxiety and depression.

If you are suffering from anxiety or depression or another mental health disorder, you arent alone. Get the help you need through the most difficult times.

To find a licensed behavioral health specialist near you, visit the Banner Behavioral Health website at bannerhealth.com or call the Banner Appointment Line at 800-254-4357.

The Symptoms Of Depression

  • Speak to your doctor or a trusted adult about how youre feeling.

    Molly

  • Don’t be afraid to cry, especially if you’re male – it helps to release emotions and you’ll feel better afterwards.

    Ed

  • Just know that sometimes we want a bad period of life to end rather than life itself.

    C.K.

  • Try to keep going outside, even if its just a short walk, it can really help your mood to lift.

    Molly

Read Also: My Girlfriend Is Depressed What Do I Do

You Can Play A Role In Research By Joining A Clinical Trial

Clinical trials are research studies that look at new ways to prevent, detect, or treat diseases and conditions. The goal of clinical trials is to determine if a new test or treatment works and is safe. Although individuals may benefit from being part of a clinical trial, participants should be aware that the primary purpose of a clinical trial is to gain new scientific knowledge so that others may be better helped in the future.

In addition to volunteer research opportunities for the patient groups listed above, research opportunities for healthy volunteers are also available. Healthy volunteers play a critical role in our studies.

For more information about clinical research and how to find clinical trials being conducted around the country, visit NIMH’s clinical trials webpage.

Feeling Depressed Or Suffering From Depression

I can

We often get mixed up between low mood and unhappiness and depression. The two things are very different. Depression isnt about feeling unhappy, its feeling youll never be happy again, explains Colin Grange, Psychologist and Clinical Director of Lifeworks.

If youre feeling low, is it starting to interfere with your day to day life? Are you not doing things that you used to do? Are you losing motivation in and enjoyment of life? Are you starting to not enjoy your hobbies? Is everything becoming an effort?

People suffering from clinical depression often experience a range of symptoms both physical and emotional which can interfere with day to day life. Discovering whether you are suffering from one or more of these symptoms could be an important step towards getting the help you need.

Quiz: Am I depressed?

  • 5min

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What You Can Do To Feel Better

When youre depressed, it can feel like theres no light at the end of the tunnel. But there are many things you can do to lift and stabilize your mood. The key is to start with a few small goals and slowly build from there, trying to do a little more each day. Feeling better takes time, but you can get there by making positive choices for yourself.

Reach out to other people. Isolation fuels depression, so reach out to friends and loved ones, even if you feel like being alone or dont want to be a burden to others. The simple act of talking to someone face-to-face about how you feel can be an enormous help. The person you talk to doesnt have to be able to fix you. They just need to be a good listenersomeone wholl listen attentively without being distracted or judging you.

Get moving. When youre depressed, just getting out of bed can seem daunting, let alone exercising. But regular exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication in countering the symptoms of depression. Take a short walk or put some music on and dance around. Start with small activities and build up from there.

Eat a mood boosting diet. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, sugar and refined carbs. And increase mood-enhancing nutrients such as Omega-3 fatty acids.

How It Feels According To People With Depression

Leela R. Magavi, MD, psychiatrist, and regional medical director for Community Psychiatry, says the most common question asked in her practice is: “How does depression feel?”

Some people ask me this question for comfort and to ensure that they are not alone with their experience, while others feel so confused by their tumultuous feelings that they struggle to clearly identify their inner experience, she says.

With that in mind, here are some of the responses Magavi hears in her sessions:

  • “Depression feels like a weight on my chest, which brings me down everywhere I go.”
  • “Depression is receiving praise at work but still feeling worthless.”
  • “Depression is the loneliness I feel when I see other couples and families laughing and enjoying their lives.”
  • “Depression is feeling like I am a failure as a person, family member, and friend.”
  • “Depression is when I cannot take care of my children because I cannot take care of myself.”
  • “Depression is not brushing my hair and teeth because I simply cannot move.”
  • “Depression is smiling when others laugh, hiding behind the fabricated mask, and wishing I could just disappear.”
  • “Depression is my life and shadow, which haunts me every day.”

Christian Sismone, someone who has dealt with depression and anxiety her entire life, says its important to provide a non-clinical perspective. She shares these examples:

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Tips For Friends And Family

If you have a friend or loved one dealing with depression, you might be wondering if there are things you should look or listen for. The good news, according to Kevin Gilliland, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist and executive director of Innovation360, is you dont need to have a great understanding of what depression feels like to you, just try to be curious about what depression feels like for them.

His advice? Try to understand it enough so that you stay aware of the symptoms and look for the little things that indicate your loved one is doing well or that they are struggling.

Whats most important is that we are trying to care for them and when we are aware of their struggle, we can check on them and ask what we can do to help, Gilliland says.

How To Know If Youre Depressed

Are you depressed? (TEST)

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.

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    Dietary Supplements For Insomnia

    There are many dietary and herbal supplements marketed for their sleep-promoting effects. Although they may be described as natural, be aware that sleep remedies can still have side effects and interfere with other medications or vitamins youre taking. For more information, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

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