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Important Depression Symptoms in Men

Depression symptoms in men cluster around the desire to hide the mental illness. Depression risk factors are both genetic and lifestyle related. Learn more.

Depression is a common, treatable mental illness that affects approximately one-in-ten men at some point in their lives. Depression can affect how a man functions at home, work and in his social life. The enduring low (depressed) mood experienced during depression manifests itself both physically and mentally. While some men do not want to admit they have a problem, it's important to remember depression in men does get better with treatment.

It's critical to treat depression in men because four-and-a-half times more men die of suicide than women.1

Depression Risk Factors in Men

Many depression risk factors are shared across men and women. For example, any major life stressor such as a divorce or death can put either gender at greater risk for depression. There are a couple of key risk factors of depression that do occur frequently in men:

  • Work stress – While stress at work can affect either gender, men often have more of their identity wrapped up in their work life than women. Men often feel a personal sense of failure if there are problems at work.
  • Postpartum depression – much is known about postpartum depression in women but what has only recently been recognized is childbirth is a depression risk factor for men too. Approximately one-in-ten men experience postpartum depression. This is likely due to changing family dynamics and adjusting to the new role the man may take on at home.
  • Low testosterone levels in later life can increase the risk of depression symptoms in men.

Hiding Male Depression Symptoms

Women are diagnosed with depression more frequently than men. This may be, in part, because of how men cope with depression symptoms. While women may externalize and talk about their sadness, a man may choose to cover it up by working more and disconnecting from others. Depression symptoms in men can be hard to spot because often the man wants to hide the symptoms so as not to appear weak.

However, depression is a treatable illness and not a form of moral or character weakness. Depression is not something a person can just "tough out."

Depression Symptoms in Men

According to the latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) symptoms used to diagnose depression in men are the same as those for women. However, the visible signs and symptoms of depression in men tend to be slightly different. (take free online depression test)

With depression, men feel sadness and a loss of pleasure or interest and other symptoms often occur in an attempt to hide the depression. Common depression symptoms in men include:2

  • Overworking, spending more time at the office
  • Drinking or using other substances
  • Spending more time alone and away from the family
  • Controlling, violent or abusive behavior
  • Anger
  • Risky behavior
  • Inappropriate sexual relationships, infidelity

article references


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next: What is Depression? Depression Definition
~ all articles on depression in men
~ all articles on depression

Last Updated: 15 June 2016
Reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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