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Depression is not the same as a passing blue mood. It is a serious illness that affects the body, mood, and thoughts. People with a depressive illness cannot merely "pull themselves together" and choose to get better. Without treatment, depression can lead to personal, family, and financial problems, and, in some cases, to suicide.
Studies have found that depression is more common in women than men. But we don't know if depression is really less common in men.
It may be that men are just less likely than women to recognize and seek help for depression. Some signs of depression include:
- Ongoing sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Feeling hopeless
- Feeling guilty, worthless, or helpless
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were once enjoyable, including sex
- Decreased energy
- Trouble staying focused, remembering, or making decisions
- Trouble sleeping
- Changes in appetite and/or weight
- Restlessness or irritability
- Ongoing physical symptoms like headaches or digestive problems that don’t get better with treatment
- Thoughts of death, suicide, or suicide attempts
Men often cope with depression differently than women do. Men may turn to alcohol or drugs, or they may become frustrated, discouraged, angry, irritable, or, sometimes, violent.
If you have symptoms of depression or if emotional problems interfere with your work or family life, see your doctor. Treatment can help most people with depression. Treatment usually involves counseling (talk therapy), medication, or both. If you or someone you care about shows signs of depression, don't wait — seek help now.
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More information on Depression
Explore other publications and websites
Male Depression: Understanding the Issues (Copyright © Mayo Foundation) - This website can help men recognize the signs and symptoms of depression. It discusses related issues, including suicide, and gives information on how to cope with depression.
Men and Depression - This publication discusses the types of depression common in men, symptoms of depression and mania, causes of depression, depression in elderly men, depression in boys and adolescent males, suicide, diagnosis, treatment, and how to find help and support.
Men and Depression (Copyright © Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - This publication provides information specific to men about depression, including its symptoms and treatment. It also lists questions to ask when talking to your doctor.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline Brochure: When It Seems Like There Is No Hope, There Is Help - This brochure explains the warning signs of suicide and how to contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline for help.
Setting Goals for Recovery (Copyright © Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance) - This publication presents a number of options to treat depression, varying from medications to hospitalization. This resource can also help those with depression create a goal setting plan.
Suicide Prevention - This publication offers links to other resources on suicide prevention. You can find information on where to get help, statistics, and other publications.
Suicide: Facts at a Glance - This fact sheet provides statistics on suicide prevalence in the United States. It looks at the differences among gender, race, and age.
Your Head: An Owner's Manual: Understanding and Overcoming Depression, Anxiety, and Stress (Copyright © Men's Health Network) - This manual provides men of all ages with information about mental health issues, including depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also offers practical ideas that can make a difference in men’s lives.
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Content last updated January 10, 2011.
Resources last updated January 10, 2011.
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