How to Recognize Major Depression in Men

In the United States more than six million men experience a depressive episode every year. While depression is a serious but highly treatable illness, many people do not recognize the symptoms or seek treatment.


Typical signs of depression in women are not usually present in men. Women who experience a major depressive episode often cry, lose interest in normal activities and verbally express suicidal thoughts. Men, on the other hand, tend to repress these feelings. They often attempt to carry on their daily activities during the episode, many times causing them to be irritable or aggressive.

Men who suffer from major depression often have pronounced changes in appetite, sleep patterns, and energy levels. Depressed men tend to be fatigued, and though they seem to sleep a lot, they never seem to have enough energy to make it through the day. Some men have insomnia when they are depressed, which contributes to the fatigued feeling.

While depression is primarily a mental health condition, it can cause physical pain. Some of the physical symptoms of major depression include constipation, diarrhea, frequent headaches and chronic back pain. If you or your loved one is experiencing unexplained physical ailments, it is important that the doctor considers major depression as the cause of the pain.

Many men first recognize a problem when they are unable to focus. Because major depression slows down the ability to process information, concentrating on work or home life is often difficult. Men respond in different ways. While some men isolate themselves to avoid conflict, others become irritated or angry. When major depression is not treated, personal and professional relationship can become strained.

Men are also likely to hide their symptoms by self-medicating. If your loved one is using alcohol or street drugs to hide their depression, it may be difficult to distinguish between the illnesses. Many men who enter drug rehabilitation programs suffer from the illness of major depression. The primary illness of major depression must be addressed in order for them to recover from their drug or alcohol dependency.