Men, women, and people of all gender identities may experience depression at some point in their lives. Depression is a serious condition that affects how a person thinks, feels, and acts.
According to study, women seem to experience depression at a higher rate than men. However, it’s thought that men may be underrepresented in these numbers.
This may be due to mix of social and biological factors that make it more challenging to notice and diagnose depression in men. They may also feel culturally pressured to act “manly” by hiding their emotions.
Because of this, it’s more common for men to have depression with symptoms that are different and sometimes harder to identify.
If you think that you or someone you love may be struggling with depression, read on to learn about the signs and symptoms that men may experience and what you can do next.
Physical symptoms of depression in men
Men with depression may first notice its physical effects. While depression is thought of as a mental health disorder, it can also manifest in the body.
Many men are more likely to visit their doctors for physical issues than for emotional issues.
Some common physical signs of depression in men include:
- chest tightness
- digestive problems like gas, diarrhea, and constipation
- erectile dysfunction and other sexual problems
- hormonal issues like low testosterone
- racing heart, or heart palpitations
- unintended weight loss (and sometimes weight gain)
Mental symptoms of depression in men
Mental symptoms of depression may present differently in men than they do in people of other genders, which can make depression harder to detect.
These symptoms may interfere with the way a person thinks and processes information, affecting behavior and emotions.
Some of the most common mental symptoms of depression in men include:
- inability to concentrate
- memory problems
- obsessive-compulsive thought patterns
- racing thoughts
- sleep issues, usually difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep
- suicidal thoughts
Emotional symptoms of depression in men
When most people hear the word “depression,” they think of a person who seems very sad. However, sadness is just one of many possible emotions depression can cause.
In addition to sadness, men may experience the following emotional symptoms of depression:
- emotional withdrawal from friends, family, and colleagues
- lack of interest in family, community, hobbies, and work
- lack of libido
Behavioral signs of depression in men
The mental, physical, and emotional symptoms of depression in men can also affect behavior. Because some men resist discussing their emotions, it’s often their behavioral symptoms of depression that are most apparent to others.
In men, the behavioral symptoms of depression most commonly include:
- difficulty meeting work, family, and other personal responsibilities
- drug misuse
- drinking alcohol in excess
- engaging in risky activities, such as driving recklessly or having unprotected sex
- social isolation
- suicide attempts