Given that women are twice as likely to suffer with depression as men, there is a tendency – even in clinical diagnosis – to associate depression with symptoms more likely reported by women. These include sadness, hopelessness, trouble sleeping, changes in appetite, loss of interest in people and activities, and suicidal thoughts. According to the STAR-D study, there are physical differences in the overall pattern of depression symptoms between men and women which may go unnoticed: Whereas both men and women may report low mood as a symptom of depression, women are more likely to gain weight while men are more likely to lose weight; women report symptoms associated with anxiety while men report symptoms associated with obsessive –compulsive disorder; women feel less energetic and men typically feel agitated; and men are more likely to develop alcohol or substance abuse in conjunction with major depression. In his cross-cultural research on depression, Jules Angst, MD found that both men and women reported stress as a cause of their depression. Whereas women cited family as the primary source of stress, men were more likely to cite work and unemployment.
- Whereas women choose to share and disclose their stress as a way of seeking help, men are far less likely to disclose stress to others. More common in men than women, depression is often reflected in stress headaches, stomach problems and chronic pain – Something missed by men as well as the people around them.
- Also more common in men is the masking of feelings with anger, irritability or changes in behavior, such as becoming controlling and, in some cases, abusive or violent. It is unlikely that a partner will move closer to support someone whose pain is hidden by angry put-downs or abuse. By Suzanne Phillips, PsyD http://www.pbs.org/thisemotionallife/blogs/men-and-hidden-danger-depression
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