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Men & Depression: Hiding in the shadows

Depresssed ManWhile depression doesn’t discriminate between men and women, men experience depression differently to women. Men are hard-wired to ‘fix’ problems on their own, so they can find it difficult to ask for help or talk about their feelings. Instead, many men tend to focus on physical symptoms such as problems with sleep, digestive or sexual dysfunction, leaving the underlying depression hiding in the shadows.

An Australian snapshot of Men & Depression

  • 12.2% of all Australian men aged 16 years and over are expected to experience a mood disorder in their lifetime – that’s 1 in 8 Australian men.
  • Men between the ages of 35 to 44 have the highest rates of depression, with 1 in 12 experiencing depression in the past 12 months.
  • Picture this; the number of men with depression is 4½ times the size of a grand final crowd at the MCG.

Duct tape or WD-40 can’t ‘fix’ depression

That would be too easy. Men are less likely to seek the help they need to ‘fix’ depression as many find it difficult to reach out or connect with others. In fact, it’s estimated that only 27% of men with depression seek professional help. Sometimes men try to self-medicate and ‘fix’ the problem by distracting themselves with excessive working hours, increased sporting or sexual activities, or turning to drugs and alcohol, which only compounds the problem and makes it worse. Younger men tend to isolate themselves and externalise depression by blaming and hitting out at others, engaging in high-risk behaviour or becoming angry, irritable and difficult to deal with, while mature men tend to turn feelings against themselves, internalising their depression. Depression in men can have many causes; there may be family history of depression, a neurotransmitter imbalance in the brain, high levels of daily stress, constant pressure at work, unemployment, relationship breakdowns, chronic health conditions, nutritional deficiencies or financial problems. In many cases, it’s a combination of biological, psychological, social and lifestyle factors.

Men are from Mars & Women are from Venus

Men just want to fix depression while women like to understand all about it. In depression:
Men tend to: Women tend to:
Blame others Blame themselves
Feel angry, irritable & ego inflated Feel sad, apathetic & worthless
Feel suspicious & guarded Feel anxious & scared
Create conflicts Avoid conflicts at all costs
Feel restless & agitated Feel slowed down & nervous
Need to feel in control at all costs Have trouble setting boundaries
Find it “weak” to admit self-doubt or despair Find it easy to talk about self-doubt & despair
Use alcohol, TV, sports & sex to self-medicate Use food, friends & "love" to self-medicate

Taking control of depression

There are a number of aspects that you can take control of to reduce depression:
  • First and foremost, seek some form of help; don’t let the only person you’re talking to be yourself – it’s a circular argument.
  • Eat a wide variety of healthy foods in small regular meals throughout the day to improve nutritional status.
  • Add protein to each meal; this provides amino acid building blocks essential for the production of neurotransmitters that help regulate mood.
  • Add in some exercise to help improve mood and reduce stress levels.
  • Try and get 8 hours quality sleep each night; lack of sleep can affect the way you look and feel.

Added support while you take control

Sometimes adding a bit of support can make all the difference while you take control of depression:
  • A Men’s Multi for nutritional insurance A comprehensive men’s multi vitamin, mineral, herb and nutrient complex supports optimal performance in men and provides extra nutritional insurance while you fine tune a healthy diet.
  • St John’s Wort for healthy mood St John’s wort has received considerable attention in clinical trials for the treatment of mild to moderate depression. St John’s wort supports your nervous system, helps to increase neurotransmitters for healthy mood and helps relieve insomnia.
  • Ginsengs for energy & stress relief Korean, Siberian and Indian (Withania) Ginsengs provide adaptogenic properties; helping you ‘adapt’ and cope during times of stress, restoring vitality, mental capacity and physical performance during periods of fatigue and exhaustion.

Mens Multi, St Johns Wort, Ginseng 4 EnergyMr Vitamins recommends

Get your Herbs of Gold products for Men's Depression from our online store here

If you think you, or someone you know, needs help with depression, seek help from any one of the resources listed below and speak to one of our experienced Naturopaths for advice on appropriate supplements and lifestyle choices to help lift mood.

Where to get help Excellent, down to earth (and humorous) website