You may have heard that research has shown that women tend to be depressed more than men do. However, new research is showing that men exhibit different symptoms when they are depressed, so it is hard to compare the two. When you take these differences into account, men are just as likely to be depressed.
Researchers used date from the National Comorbidity Survey Replication which compiles large amounts of data from all over the country. Men who are depressed tend to show the following signs:
– Risk-taking behaviors
– Substance abuse
These differ from women’s signs because they tend to show more of the classic depression symptoms such as sadness, isolation, sleep disturbances, and depressed mood. Men can exhibit these signs as well, but it is less common than women do. Men are less likely to sit around and cry because they feel they need to be strong and masculine even though they are hurting inside. Once the criterion for depression was expanded to include the symptoms that men often show, researchers found that the gap between men and women almost disappeared. Men came in at 30.6% meeting the criteria and 33.3% of women meeting it.
Men are still less likely to seek help because they want to feel “macho” and don’t want to be seen as weak. This makes it hard to diagnose them as having depression if they refuse to acknowledge it. If you think that your partner may be depressed, watch from some of the above signs and major mood changes. Also watch for compulsive or destructive behaviors such as increased drinking, gambling, or throwing themselves into work. If you feel that he exhibits some of these warning signs, talk to him openly about it to see if you can help in anyway. Don’t come right out and accuse him of being depressed, but rather talk about some of the behaviors that you have noticed.