Many Western cultures, including the U.S., have long characterized men as more resilient, independent, and less troubled by emotional upset. Under this characterization, depression is sometimes seen as a mental health condition that men do not experience, or at least do not show symptoms of.
But as many men can attest, this simply is not true. At least 30% of men have experienced or will experience symptoms of depression at some point in their lives. Over 9% of men are currently experiencing depression. In addition, men with depression are four times more likely to attempt suicide than women.
Whether from the prevailing culture or personality, several myths have arisen that often prevent men from seeking treatment for their depression from a therapist or psychiatrist, causing that depression to go undiagnosed. In many cases, this leaves men to deal with their symptoms alone.
Top Reasons Why Men Avoid Depression Treatment
There have been many recent efforts to destigmatize mental health and getting help or taking medication to improve your mental wellness. There have also been movements against traditionally held ideas about masculinity that many people are now perceiving as harmful, especially when they prevent men from getting the help they need.
Yet these movements cannot make changes overnight, and many long held myths about male depression are still prevalent. The three most common of these myths are:
Myth: Admitting to Depression Indicates Weakness
Because of its association with moodiness and emotionality, some hold the belief that having depression is unmasculine. In reality, depression is a mental health condition. It can happen to people of any gender, age, and personality type. It is not associated with masculinity in any way, nor is it controllable by “manning up.”
Depression is also more than just feeling sad or emotional. Depression impacts your mentality, leaving you with feelings of hopelessness, and also alters your physical health, both of which can make it difficult to succeed at work, support your family, and focus on your relationships. By seeking professional help with your depression, you can be in a place to provide greater support to family and friends around you
Myth: People Will Think Less of You
It is true that there has long been a stigma around depression, and this does continue in some circles. But like many stigmas, this is often a result of a lack of understanding. While the thoughts of people around you can make the decision to get treatment difficult, your psychiatrist should be able to provide the support you need. They should also offer external resources that can provide additional external support and break down any stigmas you hold yourself.
Additionally, rather than judging you, it is more likely that your loved ones want you to receive the help you need to feel your best.
Men Should Be Able to Handle Depression on Their Own
Many men take pride in being able to solve their own problems. When it comes to depression, that may mean trying to ignore symptoms or using self-care methods to minimize them. But like other types of health conditions, depression isn’t something you can push away. Some people also try to self-medication with alcohol or drugs, but this is more detrimental in the long term.
Depression is a physical alteration in the way your mind works. In the same way you would solve a physical health problem, a doctor’s diagnosis, medication, and therapy can help change the way your brain works and bring you back to full mental health.
At Aware Behavioral Health, we are very familiar with the stigmas around seeking psychiatric help for male depression. But we also work to overcome those stigmas by providing a safe and supportive place for you to get the help you need. If you have been struggling with depression or suspect depression might be the cause of symptoms you are experiencing, call us today for depression treatment in Dallas.