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Men's Health Week Special Feature

Men and Depression

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author Jed Diamond
author Jed Diamond

The Irritable Male Syndrome book cover
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Jed's Male Menopause book-2nd Edition
Male Menopause
by Jed Diamond
Order online

The most common problem associated with male menopause is depression which is closely related to impotence and problems with male sexuality. Approximately 40% of men in their 40s, 50s and 60s will experience some degree of difficulty in attaining and sustaining erections, lethargy, depression, increased irritability, and mood swings that characterize male menopause. The symptoms of depression in men are commonly not recognized for several reasons:

The symptoms of male depression are different than the classic symptoms we think of as depression
Men deny they have problems because they are supposed to "be strong"
Men deny they have a problem with their sexuality and don't understand the relationship with depression
The symptom cluster of male depression is not well known so family members, physicians, and mental health professionals fail to recognize it.

Male depression is a disease with devastating consequences. To paraphrase from Jed Diamond's book Male Menopause

80% of all suicides in the US are men
The male suicide rate at midlife is three times higher; for men over 65, seven times higher
The history of depression makes the risk of suicide seventy-eight times greater (Sweden)
20 million American will experience depression sometimes in their lifetime
60-80% of depressed adults never get professional help
It can take up to ten years and three health professionals to properly diagnose this disorder
80-90% of people seeking help get relief from their symptoms

Differences between Male and Female depression:

Men are more likely to act out their inner turmoil while women are more likely to turn their feelings inward. The following chart from Jed Diamond's book Male Menopause illustrates these differences.

Female depression

Male depression

Blame themselves

Feel others are to blame

Feel sad, apathetic, and worthless

Feel angry, irritable, and ego inflated

Feel anxious and scared

Feel suspicious and guarded

Avoids conflicts at all costs

Creates conflicts

Always tries to be nice

Overtly or covertly hostile

Withdraws when feeling hurt

Attacks when feeling hurt

Has trouble with self respect

Demands respect from other

Feels they were born to fail

Feels the world set them up to fail

Slowed down and nervous

Restless and agitated

Chronic procrastinator

Compulsive time keeper

Sleeps too much

Sleeps too little

Trouble setting boundaries

Needs control at all costs

Feels guilty for what they do

Feels ashamed for who they are

Uncomfortable receiving praise

Frustrated if not praised enough

Finds it easy to talk about weaknesses and doubts

Terrified to talk about weaknesses and doubts

Strong fear of success

Strong fear of failure

Needs to "blend in" to feel safe

Needs to be "top dog" to feel safe

Uses food, friends, and "love" to self-medicate

Uses alcohol, TV, sports, and sex to self medicate

Believe their problems could be solved only if they could be a better (spouse, co-worker, parent, friend)

Believe their problems could be solved only if their (spouse, co-worker, parent, friend) would treat them better

Constantly wonder, "Am I loveable enough?"

Constantly wonder, "Am I being loved enough?"

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