5 Signs of Depression in Men, What Depression Looks Like

Signs of depression in men and female depressive symptoms can vary. Men and women use different coping mechanisms, both healthy and unhealthy. Possible differences in the prevalence of depressive symptoms between the sexes have yet to be explained. Life experiences, hormones, and changes in brain chemistry are likely contributors.


Men, like women, can suffer from depression, a serious mental illness. However, men’s depression symptoms are often misunderstood or dismissed. This article will discuss five of the most common symptoms of depression in men. We can help men on their path to mental health if we create a welcoming space for them and encourage them to reach out for support when they see these warning signs.

What is Depression in Men?

Depression in men is the term for depression that only happens to men. It is a mental health condition that causes people to feel sad and hopeless and lose interest in or pleasure from doing things. Depression affects both men and women, but men may have different symptoms or ways of dealing with it than women. Men’s depression is often affected by societal expectations, cultural factors, and the fact that mental health problems are seen as shameful. Understanding depression in men is important if you want to find them early, help them, and give them effective treatment to improve their mental health.

5 Signs of Depression in Men

Symptoms of depression in men and female depressive symptoms can vary. Both healthy and unhealthy coping mechanisms are used by men differently than by women. The reasons for the possible gender gap in depressive symptoms remain unclear. Brain chemistry, hormones, and life experiences are probably all involved.

  1. Irritation and anger: Instead of showing sadness, men might act more irritable, angry, or aggressive. For example, they might get angry easily over small things, have a short temper, or do dangerous things.
  2. Emotional withdrawal: Men with depression may cut themselves off from friends and family and stop doing things they used to enjoy. They may also have trouble expressing their feelings and would rather keep them inside.
  3. Physical Symptoms: Men may not realize that physical symptoms like headaches, stomach problems, or constant pain could be signs of depression, but they may have them anyway. They might go to the doctor for these problems instead of getting help for their mental health.
  4. Risk-taking behavior: Some men may take too many risks, like driving recklessly, using drugs, or doing dangerous sports, to get temporary relief or escape their emotional pain.
  5. Changes in the way you eat and sleep: Men with depression may have changes in how they eat, such as a significant loss or gain of weight. They may also have trouble sleeping, such as insomnia or feeling sleepy all the time.

Depression Fact Sheet

  • Definition: Depression is a common mental health disorder characterized by persistent sadness, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, and a range of physical and cognitive symptoms. It affects how a person thinks, feels, and functions daily.
  • Prevalence: Depression is a global health concern, affecting people of all ages and backgrounds.
  • Symptoms: Common symptoms of depression include persistent sadness, hopelessness, loss of interest in activities, changes in appetite and weight, sleep disturbances, low energy levels, difficulty concentrating, and thoughts of self-harm or suicide.
  • Risk Factors: Depression can be influenced by various factors, including genetics, brain chemistry, trauma, chronic medical conditions, certain medications, substance abuse, and significant life events such as loss or relationship problems. Women may be at a higher risk due to hormonal fluctuations, reproductive events, and societal pressures.
  • Impact: Depression can have a significant impact on an individual’s quality of life, affecting their relationships, work or school performance, physical health, and overall well-being. It can also increase the risk of other health problems, including cardiovascular diseases.
  • Treatment: Depression is a treatable condition. Treatment options may include psychotherapy (such as cognitive-behavioral therapy), medication (such as antidepressants), or a combination of both. Lifestyle modifications, social support, and self-care practices are essential to manage depression.
  • Breaking the Stigma: Depression is not a sign of weakness or a character flaw. It is a medical condition that requires understanding, compassion, and support. By promoting open conversations, raising awareness, and challenging stigmas associated with mental health, we can create a more supportive environment for individuals affected by depression.

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Statistics About Depressed Men

Depression is a widespread mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. By examining key statistics related to depression, we can gain valuable insights into this disorder’s prevalence, impact, and significance. These statistics highlight the need for greater awareness, early intervention, and support systems to address the challenges faced by individuals living with depression.

21 million

An estimated 21.0 million adults in the United States had at least one major depressive episode. This number represented 8.4% of all U.S. adults.

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of major depressive episodes was higher among adult females (10.5%) than males (6.2%).

Source: National Institute on Mental Health


The prevalence of adults with a major depressive episode was highest among individuals aged 18-25 (17.0%).

Source: National Institute of Mental Health

Depression in men is often missed.

Depression in men is often missed or overlooked due to various reasons:

  • Traditional gender roles: Men are often told they can’t show weakness or ask for help when they have emotional problems. Men may need to show they are strong and independent, which can make them downplay or hide their depressive symptoms.
  • Masking symptoms: Men may try to hide the signs of their depression by doing things that take their minds off their pain. They may turn to work, drugs, or dangerous activities to deal with their feelings. This makes it harder for others to see that they are depressed.
  • Stigma and stereotypes: There is still a stigma around mental health, and societal stereotypes about men may add to that stigma. They may be afraid of being seen as weak or less manly if they admit to having depression, which makes them even less likely to get help.
  • Atypical symptoms: Men may experience depression differently than women, displaying atypical symptoms. Instead of looking sad or crying, they may show irritation, anger, or physical complaints easily mistaken for other problems.
  • Lack of awareness: Men themselves may not recognize their symptoms as depression. They might think their feelings are caused by stress, fatigue, or other things, not realizing that it could be a sign of a mental health problem.
  • Underdiagnosis by health care professionals: Health care professionals may also play a role in men not getting the help they need for depression. They might miss or misunderstand symptoms that don’t fit the typical idea of depression. This could lead to a delayed or wrong diagnosis.

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How to Help a Man with Depression

To help a man with depression, you need to be caring and understanding. Here are some things you can do:

  • Encourage open communication by allowing him to talk about his feelings without fear of judgment. Encourage him to talk about his feelings and thoughts, and listen to him without trying to solve the problem or giving him advice immediately.
  • Learn about depression. Find out about its symptoms, what causes it, and how it can be treated. This will help you understand what he is going through and give you the information you need to help him.
  • Give him comfort and reassurance. Tell him that his feelings are real and that he is not alone. Tell him that asking for help is a sign of strength and that professional help is available and works.
  • Encourage them to get professional help. Suggest that they talk to a therapist or counselor for help. Offer to help him find resources, set up appointments, or go to sessions with him if he feels comfortable doing so.
  • Be patient and understanding. It takes time to get over depression, so be patient and understanding. Encourage him to take care of himself and live a healthy life, and remind him that change happens slowly over time.
  • Don’t judge or criticize him. Don’t blame him for his condition or criticize him. Depression isn’t something you can choose; negative comments can make you feel even worse about yourself. Instead, show understanding, help, and support.
  • Stay in touch with people and do things with them. Encourage him to keep in touch with people and do things he enjoys. Plan trips or activities together and include friends and family members who can help.
  • Watch for signs of a crisis. Be on the lookout for symptoms that are getting worse or suicidal thoughts. Don’t be afraid to call emergency services or a helpline in your country if you immediately see something dangerous.

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How do you Treat Depression in Men?

Men with depression are usually treated with a mix of methods that are tailored to each person’s needs. Here are some common ways to treat the problem:

  • Psychotherapy (talk therapy): Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and other types of psychotherapy can help men look at and change negative thought patterns, learn ways to deal with stress, and improve at solving problems. Therapy is a safe place to talk about feelings, gain new insights, and learn how to deal with depression healthily.
  • Medication: A healthcare professional may prescribe antidepressants to help ease the symptoms of depression. Different types of antidepressants, like selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or serotonin-norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), can help regulate mood and relieve depressive symptoms. Talking to a doctor or nurse is important to get a proper diagnosis and manage your medications.
  • Lifestyle changes: Getting people to adopt healthy habits can help manage depression. Regular exercise, a healthy diet, enough sleep, and ways to deal with stress, like mindfulness or relaxation exercises, can all help improve mental health.
  • Support groups: Joining support groups or participating in group therapy can provide a sense of community and understanding. Connecting with others who have similar experiences can help men feel less alone and gain insights and coping strategies from shared stories.
  • Social support network: Encouraging men to maintain healthy social connections with friends, family, and loved ones can provide emotional support and a sense of belonging. Getting closer to these people can also help you feel less alone and improve your health.
  • Holistic approaches: In addition to traditional treatments, some men find complementary therapies helpful. These could be yoga, acupuncture, art therapy, or meditation. While these approaches may not replace evidence-based treatments, they can serve as complementary tools for self-care.

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  1. can men get postpartum depression?

    Yes, men can experience postpartum depression. Even though it happens less often in men than in women, studies show that about 10% of new dads may have signs of postpartum depression. When a man becomes a father, his hormones change, he loses sleep, gets stressed, and has to change his lifestyle. All of these things can lead to depression. It’s important to know the signs and symptoms and get help from a professional if needed. Treatments like therapy and support groups can help postpartum depression in men and improve their health.

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Search We Level Up WA 5 Signs of Depression in Men, What Depression Looks Like Mental Health Topics & Resources
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    nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Depression What does depression feel like? / Depression Symptoms
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