Men and Depression

Depression is still a highly underdiagnosed problem in men. According to one study (Potts, Burnan, and Wells, 1991), 65% of men’s depression went undetected and undiagnosed. For many men, depression is a crippling condition that is ill-defined, too difficult to deal with directly, and highly stigmatized by culture, all of which prevent men from getting the help they need.

In his book, “Men In Therapy,” Dr. David Wexler writes that depression looks different in men than it does in women. He identifies a newly emerging category of depression – male-type depression. Wexler states that instead of men reporting sadness, they tend to experience and report these symptoms:

  • depression, men and depression, depressed men, Phoenix depression therapistsFeeling irritable
  • Fatigue
  • Hard to name the feelings inside, but feel numb or “dead”
  • Restlessness
  • Agitation
  • Feel unsatisfied
  • Loss of vitality
  • Vague, persistent physical symptoms, like headaches, mysterious pain and insomnia

Men’s Myths of Depression

Wexler also identifies the reasons that men report when asked, “Why do men say they are less likely to seek treatment for depression?” (Hales and Hales study, 2004)

  • 41% of men surveyed state that “the attitude that a man can or should tough it out” is important
  • 24% of men say that there is “embarassment or stigma associated with depression.”
  • 16% of men state that the main problem was that men “don’t recognize the symptoms”

Culture and stigma certainly play a huge role in preventing men from seeking the help that they need. Too many men suffer from the features of depression, and don’t get the help that they need. Men are often times less inclined to ask for help, and don’t have the social support that many women do when there’s a mental health issue that needs attention. Men often will blame others, avoid and escape their problems (often times with drugs, alcohol or other avoidance means), and will tend to be discontent with themselves (Wexler, 2009). Men will tend to get angry, which, according to Pollack (1995), is “their way of weeping.”

Men don’t need to suffer from depression alone. Admitting that there’s a problem, asking for help, and seeking the right Phoenix mental health counselor are all important first steps. As we continue to stop stigmatizing depression for men, it may become easier for even the most difficult of cases of male-type depression to find help.


About Jason

As "The Man That Men Will Talk To," Jason Fierstein, MA, LPC is a private practice counselor and psychotherapist for men and couples in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area. He works with struggling men to find happiness in their lives, and with their wives.
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2 Responses to Men and Depression

  1. Jenny Ledd says:

    Although men are less likely to suffer from depression than women, 6 million men in the United States are affected by the illness. Men are less likely to admit to depression, and doctors are less likely to suspect it. The rate of suicide in men is four times that of women, though more women attempt it. In fact, after age 70, the rate of men’s suicide rises, reaching a peak after age 85.
    Depression can also affect the physical health in men differently from women. A new study shows that, although depression is associated with an increased risk of coronary heart disease in both men and women, only men suffer a high death rate.

  2. Jason says:

    Hi Jenny:
    Thanks for your post. Men are less likely to admit depression, and it certainly does inform the mind-body connection quite a bit. I’m glad to see that you and Bill are doing that work over in the UK. take care.

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