Depresión en Hombres: Los Pensamientos Negativos que Alejan a los Hombres de la Terapia

man holding a mug in front of a wet window

Depression affects men, women, and non-binary people. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), men experience depression differently and are more likely to avoid treatment for depression. What’s more concerning is that while women are more likely to attempt suicide, men who are depressed are more likely to die by suicide.

Men avoid treatment from mental health professionals for various societal and personal pressures. These pressures, combined with depression, can cause thoughts of worthlessness and make men feel they must do it alone. Many men aren’t even comfortable discussing emotional issues with family members. This blog details how depression differs for men and what you can do about the thoughts that keep men from seeking therapy.

Different Types of Depression

  • Minor Depression that happens once in a lifetime or reoccurs. The symptoms are similar to other forms of depression but aren’t so severe that the person cannot function.
  • Major or severe depression occurs when symptoms of depression affect the ability to perform at work, school, and daily life activities. This type of depression can happen once or be recurrent. Major depression can include
    • psychotic depression involving delusions.
    • Seasonal Affective Disorder that reoccurs every year. It’s most common in winter, but some people experience summer depression.
    • Dysthymia, a persistent form of depression lasting two years or longer but with less severe symptoms.
  • Mood disorders such as bipolar disorder differ from depression but can include periods of depression, mania, or extremely high moods.

Who is At Risk?

While depression can impact men anytime, many factors increase the risk. Lowering these risk factors can help you determine if your feelings are just a bit of sadness or are true depression. Men are at greater risk for depression if:

sad man starting out the window
  • There is a family history of depression or other mental illness.
  • They’re going through significant life events such as career changes or changes in family dynamics like marriage, divorce, or having children. Postpartum depression occurs most often in women but can also affect men. Even positive changes can cause depressive symptoms as our brains struggle to adjust.
  • They manage chronic medical conditions such as multiple sclerosis, diabetes, cancer, or other illnesses that affect their quality of life. Men also commonly suffer depressive symptoms when a loved one struggles with a health condition.
  • They have other mental health conditions, such as anxiety or PTSD.

Symptoms of Depression

If you’re at risk for depressive symptoms knowing what to look for can help you recognize when you or a loved one needs help. The symptoms of depression can vary in frequency and severity. It’s possible to be clinically depressed without some of these symptoms, and some people have all of them in different amounts. The most common depression symptoms for men include

  • Anger, irritability, or increased aggression.
  • Feeling restless or anxious.
  • Increased substance use or substance abuse.
  • sexual dysfunction or increased sex drive.
  • intense feelings of sadness.
  • loss of interest in hobbies and spending time with loved ones.
  • an inability to focus that affects work and school.
  • feelings of worthlessness.
  • physical symptoms include pain, increased heart rate, headaches, or stomach problems. (Men are more likely to seek help from a healthcare provider for these symptoms than emotional ones.)
  • weight loss or gain.
  • Intrusive thoughts about self-worth and relationships with others.

Negative Thoughts That Keep Men From Seeking Therapy

man talking to a clinician as she writes down notes

When men experience intrusive thoughts, a depressive symptom, the thoughts often stem from beliefs about how men should behave and traditional masculine roles. Boys are often socialized to be aggressive, hide emotions, and be providers in families. The reduced stigma about mental health care makes men more likely to seek therapy, but many still battle thoughts like these that keep them from seeking help.

Being Depressed Means I’m Weak

This thought stems from a fear of not being “manly” or feelings of worthlessness. Men often learn that their worth comes from how strong they are. This view is why many men who feel depressed become more irritable or aggressive – anger is a manly emotion – other emotions are weaknesses.

Real Men Don’t Show Their Emotions

Men are often socialized to hide “soft” emotions such as sadness, love, nervousness, etc. Therapy for depression requires us to discuss our feelings, process them, and find a way forward. If a man isn’t seeking treatment, it could be because he doesn’t know how to show his emotions or is afraid to.

I Sleep Fine, As Long As I Drink Alcohol

Men with depression are more likely than their female counterparts to use substance abuse to cope with symptoms. Alcohol and drugs numb our feelings, and if a man tries to avoid feeling, alcohol may seem easier than therapy. Abusing drugs and alcohol can have far-reaching effects on overall health and well-being, so getting help is vital if your use increases due to depressive symptoms.

No One Wants To Be Around Me

Men who are depressed experience lower self-esteem. They may feel as if no one wants to be around them. They may isolate or even avoid contact with family members. Even when someone wants to hang out with a man suffering from depression may not believe it and feel like the person is only pitying them.

I Should Be Able To Do More

One symptom of depressive disorders is executive dysfunction. Executive functioning skills are the skills that help people analyze, plan, organize, and schedule tasks as well as complete them. When depressed, people often have so much trouble with these skills that it affects their performance at work and their ability to complete daily tasks. Feeling like you should be able to do more is common among men with depression.

No One Wants to Hear About My Depression

This thought is similar to the urge to hide feelings from friends and family members. Men with depression often believe they are burdening others with their struggles and choose to isolate or not discuss them instead. This belief also keeps men from seeking therapy where they know they’ll have to discuss depressive symptoms.

Maybe I Should End My Life

Anyone with depression is at risk for suicidal thoughts. Men are more likely to choose lethal methods for suicide and die at higher rates than women who attempt suicide.

Thoughts of death are a huge sign that a man needs to seek therapy and medical care. If you or someone you know struggle with thoughts of self-harm, dial 988 to contact the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline. Someone is available 24 hours a day to listen and direct you toward life-saving services.

Reframe Your Thoughts and Heal Your Problema

man sitting down at a table and writing notes

Your thought patterns can either send you deeper into depressive symptoms or help pull you out. Our thoughts repeat in our heads and feed emotions. Positive thoughts feed positive emotions, and negative thoughts increase negative feelings. Those emotions and thoughts eventually form our beliefs about ourselves, loved ones, and the world. Once thoughts become beliefs, they influence our behavior and how we show up in the world. This means that if you start thinking no one wants to spend time with you, you’ll believe it and isolate yourself further.

The anecdote to negative thought patterns is to develop skills for recognizing them, figuring out where they come from, and reframing them. You control your thoughts, and learning these skills can help you deal with depression. At SMPsychotherapy and Counseling Services, our providers are skilled at helping you make lifestyle changes that improve your well-being and overall health.When someone suffers from clinical depression or has another mental illness on top of it, psychotherapy may not be enough. That’s why SMPSychtoherapy has Psychiatric Nurse Practitioners and other healthcare providers on staff to help manage medication needs, including antidepressants. Seeking help for depression is a strong choice because it takes courage to reach out. Contacta nuestra oficina hoy to match with a therapist who can meet your treatment needs.

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