Men and Their Feelings
Did You Know? ...
Facts about Depression
from Richard O'Connor, Ph.D.'s book Undoing Depression
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Richard O'Connor, Ph.D., Undoing Depression:
What Therapy Doesn't Teach You
And Medication Can't Give You (New York, NY: Berkley Pub Group, 1999). Order on-line
by Richard O'Connor
I Don't Want to Talk About It:
Overcoming the Secret Legacy of Male Depression
by Terrance Real
Did you know...
- The number of deaths from suicide each year is approximately the same as
the number of deaths from AIDS.
- Depression is not sadness. In depression, we lose the ability to feel
any emotion strongly. The true opposite of depression is vitality - the
ability to feel a full range of emotions, including happiness, joy,
pride, but also including sadness and grief.
- The annual cost of depression to the U.S. economy is estimated at $44
billion. It is second only to cancer in terms of economic impact,
higher than the cost of heart disease. Yet, there is no high-profile
organization helping with research and treatment such as the American
Heart Association, American Cancer Society, Diabetes Foundation, American
Lung Association, to name but a few.
- Almost 20 percent of Americans have depression, most without knowing
it. They just assume that they can't win, that their relationships are
always trouble and that hopelessness, insomnia, chronic fatigue, and guilt
are their lot in life.
- Research estimates that 10 percent of children will suffer a depressive
episode before age 12, although as recently as 1980 it was thought that
children did not suffer depression.
- In the past 25 years, while the general incidence of suicide has
decreased, the rate of suicide for those between 15 and 19 has
- Many alcoholics treat an underlying depression with alcohol. Their
depression makes sobriety doubly difficult. Many substance abuse
treatment programs now refer their patients in recovery for treatment of
- Procrastination is a hallmark of depression. The depressive puts
things off until they seem insurmountable. This reinforces his feelings
of self-blame and despair. But it also protects him from ever risking
his absolute best effort at any task.
- Women are three times as likely to become depressed as men. No one
knows for sure why this is the case. Theories suggest that women's
social role has historically been less satisfactory, that their hormonal
ebb and flow makes them more susceptible, that they are more likely to
experience trauma, and that they are simply given social permission to
- Men are five times more likely than women to commit suicide. Instead of
permitting themselves to feel the emotional symptoms of depression, men
defend against them through dangerous, self-destructive or antisocial
behaviors, by somatization (rushing to the ER with chest pains that turn
out to be an anxiety attack), or by trying to treat them with alcohol.
Many men feel they are faking it, making it up as they go along, always
one misstep away from disaster. They try to reassure themselves by
swaggering around the house, but they wonder if women aren't really
laughing behind their backs. Many abusers use violence to express the
frustrations and hopelessness that come from depression.
- Six million elderly suffer from some form of depression. Their
depression tends to be dismissed as inevitable, but in fact is caused
more by poor health and poor sleep than grief, loss or isolation. Among
the elderly who commit suicide, almost 75 percent visit a doctor within
a week before their deaths, but only in 25 percent of those cases did
the physician recognize a depression.
- There is no organized self-help movement for depression, despite the
proliferation of groups like AA, Cancervive, Better Breathers,
Agoraphobics Together, groups for the bereaved, for the divorced, for
children of divorce, etc. My book Undoing Depression is the first to present a model for
a Depression Self-Help Group.
Richard O'Comnnor's Web site is at: http://www.undoingdepression.com/
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