Twelve Signs of Male Depression

Did you know that over 5 million men suffer from depression EVERY YEAR!  That is a lot of dudes.

Today’s post comes from Health magazine which did a focus article on how to spot the signs of male depression.  If you believe that you or a loved one is suffering from depression please don’t ignore it.  Seek immediate help and counseling from medical professionals.  Having depression doesn’t make you less of a man.  It just means you need a doctor for your brain and hopefully a temporary solution.  Often times depression is a symptom of another treatable and survivable disease or condition.  Don’t be ashamed, get help!  So with that let’s get started!

Clinical depression—in women or men—can cause sadness and a loss of interest in once pleasurable activities. But depression can sometimes manifest in different ways in different people.

“While the symptoms used to diagnose depression are the same regardless of gender, often the chief complaint can be different among men and women,” says Ian A. Cook, MD, the Miller Family professor of psychiatry at the University of California–Los Angeles.

Here are 12 signs of depression in men:

Fatigue

People who are depressed undergo a series of physical and emotional changes. They can experience fatigue, as well as psychomotor retardation, or a slowing down of physical movements, speech, and thought processes.

According to Josh Klapow, PhD, a clinical psychologist with the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health, men are more likely than women to report fatigue and other physical symptoms of depression as their chief complaints.

If you are getting enough sleep (at least 6 – 8 hours) but still feel fatigued you should check this on your list.

Sleeping too much or too little

On the flip side, too much or not enough sleep can also be a sign of depression.  Sleep problems—such as insomnia, waking up very early in the morning, or excessive sleeping—are common depression symptoms.

“[Some people] sleep 12 hours a day and still feel exhausted or toss and turn and wake up every two hours,” says Dr. Cook.

Like fatigue, sleep troubles are one of the main symptoms that depressed men may discuss with their doctor, experts say.

Stomachache or backache

Health problems such as constipation or diarrhea, as well as headaches and back pain, are common in people who are depressed.

But men often don’t realize that chronic pain and digestive disorders go hand in hand with depression, according to focus groups conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health. Norman Sussman, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the NYU Langone Medical Center, says people who are depressed do genuinely feel bad physically.

Irritability

Instead of seeming down, men who are depressed often show signs of irritability. “If they talk about an emotional component, it could be sadness with irritability,” says Dr. Cook.

In addition, says Klapow, negative thoughts are a common aspect of depression. “Men will report feeling irritable because they are having negative thoughts constantly,” he says.

Difficulty concentrating

Psychomotor retardation can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks.

“Depression fills one with negative thoughts, almost like an intrusion,” Klapow says. “You’re slowed down and constantly thinking about negative things in your world. As a result it makes it very difficult to focus on anything.”

“I describe depression as a form of reversible brain failure, Dr. Sussman says. “When you’re depressed, it’s like your CPU [central processing unit] isn’t working properly.”

Anger or hostility

Some men manifest depression by being hostile, angry, or aggressive, says. Dr. Sussman. “A man who realizes something is wrong may need to compensate by demonstrating that he is still strong or capable,” he says.

Anger and hostility are different than irritability. “Anger tends to be a stronger emotion,” Klapow says. “Irritability is a crankiness.”

Dr. Sussman says he’s also seen men become hostile when they have withdrawn as a result of their depression and feel under pressure by friends or family to rejoin society.

As we have discussed many times on the Be A Better Man Blog, isolation and withdrawing from friends and family puts men at greater risk for making life changing mistakes.  When we think people don’t care about us, that we don’t care about them and that our actions don’t matter we make some pretty stupid decisions.  Sometimes these can be suicidal thoughts, heavy drug and alcohol use or high risk sexual activities.

Stress

“Men might be more likely to report symptoms of depression as stress. It’s not that they have more stress; it’s that it’s more socially acceptable to report it,” Klapow says.  According to Dr. Cook, stress and depression can also travel a two-way street. “It’s accurate to say that feeling stressed can be an indicator of having clinical depression but also be part of the cause,” he says.

Research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to changes both in the body and brain, which can in turn lead to depression.

Anxiety

Research has shown a strong link between anxiety disorders and depression.

Men may be no more likely than women to experience anxiety—in fact, anxiety disorders are about twice as prevalent in women—but it’s often easier for men to talk about feeling anxious rather than sad, Dr. Cook says.

Men may discuss concerns about work and whether the loss of a job will impede their ability to provide for themselves and their family. “It may be easier to put words to worries and fears,” Dr. Cook says.

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse frequently accompanies depression. Research has shown that alcoholics are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression as people without a drinking problem.

“It can happen for both men and women, but using drugs or alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings is a strategy many men will employ instead of seeking health care,” says Dr. Cook.

“There’s a cultural bias of, ‘I should be able to fix this myself and so I’ll use what chemicals I have available to me to do that,'” Dr. Cook says.

Sexual dysfunction

{Authors Note: I have decided to forego any imagery here for obvious reasons…}

Depression is a common reason for loss of desire and erectile dysfunction (ED), and it’s one symptom that men are inclined not to report. “Performance problems can come from depression and make depression worse,” Dr. Cook says.

However, ED can be the result of other medical conditions or medications (including antidepressants), and ED by itself does not signal depression.

“My strong recommendation…is that you can’t go after one symptom; it’s a group of symptoms,” Klapow says.

Indecision

“I can’t count the number of people who have said, ‘I had money in the bank but the phone got shut off because I couldn’t bring myself to [pay the bill] or decide what to do and when.’ It gets overwhelming,” Dr. Cook says.

Some people naturally have a hard time making decisions, so an inability to make choices is usually worrisome only if it’s a new behavior.   “It’s an information-processing issue,” and depression slows down your ability to decide, Klapow says.

Suicidal thoughts

Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more than four times as likely to die if they do attempt suicide. One reason is SuicidalFacebookthat men tend to choose more lethal methods. “They more often use firearms and kill themselves the first time they try,” Dr. Cook says.

Older men are at highest risk for suicide, and doctors may miss depression symptoms in this group. In fact, more than 70% of older suicide victims saw their primary care physician within the month of their death.

Depression is not a normal part of aging in men or women.

Seriously get help today!  While you might be battling depression there could be another cause, one which may or may not be a serious health concern.  I have known many people who have struggled with depression and the vast majority of them have successfully overcame this condition.  Don’t let the thoughts in your head win; too many people care about you and are depending on you to be there.

Fashion Friday – What is Cocktail Attire?

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“The average man doesn’t care about fashion, which is why he will only ever be average.”

Traditionally, cocktail attire calls for a suit. We suggest following that rule, but if you want to dress it down just a bit, we have some suggestions based on whether your event is indoors or outdoors.

Outdoor Cocktail Attire

If your event is outdoors, try pushing the envelope with both color and fabrication. We recommend bringing richer textures, bolder colors, and a statement piece into your outfit.

Indoor Cocktail Attire

Typically, the later in the evening, the more formal the event. For these occasions, lean towards finer, smoother finishes. We recommend defaulting to darker colors like gray, navy, or black for your core pieces—like jackets, trousers, and footwear.

 

Always remember though, you can’t go wrong with a suit at a cocktail party.  Choosing one of the above options will help you stand out from the crowd and just might help you catch the attention of that fine young lady across the way.  Good luck, gentlemen!

Until tomorrow make it a better day!

Andrew

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Balls. Of. Steel.

Notice there are no chords attached to this insane man's ankles.
Notice there are no chords attached to this insane man’s ankles.

Facebook and many other social media platforms get a well deserved bad rap for all the non-sense that goes on via said sites and apps.  However, there are times when I appreciate them because it gives me a chance to see videos, read articles and hear news I might normally miss.  The picture above is just one of those examples.

It turns out they have mastered the art of wireless bungee jumping. This is done through electromagnetic fields.  In other words, the dude above is basically jumping off the bridge like a lunatic, hoping this thing actually works.

Check out the video here.  Being the first to attempt this kind of thing takes a serious set of steel balls.  I mean either it works or your dead.  There are only two options.  He isn’t doing this over water (although he would likely die doing that too) but rather over land.

I was blown away by his effort and facing down fear of certain death in order to push the limits of what we can do as humans.  It made me wish for the same kind of boldness in my own life when it comes to things that fall far short of life and death decisions.

I hope you enjoy the video.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day.

Andrew

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Devotional Tuesday – Being a Man (Courtesy of C3 Journey)

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When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me. 1 Corinthians 13:11

Yesterday you were a child. As a lover of self you lived for yourself; thinking only of feeding your ego and having your “wants” met. You didn’t see it as selfishness. It was just the way you lived.

  • Advice? Not easily received and seldom acted upon…
  • Honesty? Only when it would facilitate your needs being met…
  • Serve? When it was convenient and brought a benefit…

Now however, things have changed. Now, you are a man. Childish ways have been put behind you. No longer bound by the appetites of “wants” you are FREE to put the needs of others above yourself.

  • Advice? Consistently sought and acted upon appropriately…
  • Honesty? Not just to others but always with yourself…
  • Serve? Laying down your life so others might live…

And, when you become a man; your vision clears and your knowledge grows. Block upon block…strength upon strength…connection upon connection…foundations for your future are laid when you determine to mature today as a man.

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

The Top 10 Health Concerns All Men Should Pay Attention To

 

Before we start, let me just take a moment and remind you how important it is to be doing a yearly check up with your doctor.  If you have health insurance (even if it is Obama-scare) your yearly routine physical is almost always covered 100% by your insurance.  In other words, you have no excuse not to stay as healthy as possible.  Even if you are a young man in his twenties you should be going to the doc’s office because as we have already seen testicular cancer can arrive as early as 18 years of age.  You are NOT invincible not matter what you think or how great you feel.  Get a check up this week if you haven’t had one in the last year.

Let’s roll…

#1 – Heart Health and Heart Related Issues

No surprise this is number #1 on the list.  Men have a terrible track record of taking care of their ticker.  It all starts with heart disease which not only comes in many different forms but will have fatal implications if not detected by your doctor.  How might it not get detected?  By you not going to the doctor!  Do you see a pattern yet?

healthy-heart

The American Heart Association indicates that more than one in three adult men has some form of cardiovascular disease. Black men account for 100,000 more cardiovascular disease mortality cases than white men.  Furthermore, stroke targets an estimated 2.8 million men and high blood pressure is common in younger males.

#2 – COPD & Other Respiratory Diseases

No doubt you have probably seen the terrible ads they run on television about COPD.  You may not have been paying attention to the ads though because they are very similar to Viagra ads, etc,. Despite those ads being horrible and likely doing more harm than good, COPD is a health problem that you need to take seriously. This is especially true if you are a smoker or former smoker.

COPD stands for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and it is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. This disease kills more than 120,000 Americans annually—the equivalent of one death every four minutes, and the numbers are increasing.

As of 2011, 12 million people in the United States were diagnosed with COPD. It may be as much as 16 million currently. Another 12 million people may have the disease without knowing it.

Various respiratory diseases usually start with an innocent “smoker’s cough.” Over time, that cough can lead to life-threatening conditions such as lung cancer, emphysema, or COPD—all of which interfere with normal breathing.

# 3 – Alcohol Related Health Problems

Okay gents, put down that Rusty Nail for a second and pay drambuie-rusty-nail2attention!  There is nothing wrong with throwing back a drink (or several) but too often we have a serious problem with binge drinking!  You might think your liver can handle it when you are in college but don’t forget that is the same liver you are going to need when you are 85.  We certainly condone you having a good time but take it easy on the brewskis and cocktails so you can be around to play with your grand-kids.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men face higher rates of alcohol-related deaths and hospitalizations than women do. Men binge drink twice as much and are prone to increased aggression and sexual assault against women.

Alcohol consumption increases risk for cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, and colon. Alcohol also interferes with testicular function and hormone production, resulting in impotence and infertility. According to the National Bureau of Economic Research, if a problem drinker does not seek help, he is more likely to commit suicide.

#4 Depression and Suicide

We also discussed how frequently men struggle with depression last week, so it is no surprise to see this on our list today.

Researchers at The National Institute of Mental Health estimate that at least six million men suffer from depressive disorders including suicidal thoughts annually. If you’re depressed, the NIMH recommends these tips:

  • exercise
  • set realistic goals
  • surround yourself with loved ones
  • postpone important decisions
  • seek professional help

#5 Unintentional Injuries or Being Stupid

There is a reason why The Darwin Awards exist and sadly it is not surprising to find that many of these award recipients are male. There is no shortage to the stupid things we men do for money, to look cool, while drinking and of course, for sex.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listed unintentional injury as a leading cause of death for men in 2006. This includes drowning, traumatic brain injuries, and fireworks-related mishaps.

Motor vehicle death rates for male drivers and passengers ages 15 to 19 were almost twice that of females in 2006. And male workers incurred 92 percent of the 5,524 total reported fatal occupational injuries. Remember: you are not Superman. Be careful.

#6 Liver Disease

Your liver is the size of a football. Its functions include digesting food, absorbing nutrients, and ridding the body of toxic substances. Liver disease includes conditions such as cirrhosis, viral hepatitis, autoimmune or genetic liver diseases, bile duct or liver cancer, and even alcoholic liver disease.

According to a study posted by the American Cancer Society, alcohol and tobacco use increase your chance of developing liver disease.

#7 Diabetes

Our good friend and favorite nurse, Clarice Dale, wrote a blog for us awhile back on the subject.  Now might be a good time to re-read it to get a more in depth view of this disease.

hot-girls-candy-500x750We have made great strides as men in the last 20 years in better understanding diabetes and becoming more aware of our own blood sugar health.  However, this disease is still a serious problem for men, especially in the United States.

If you have diabetes you run a greater risk of sexual impotence, lower testosterone, which can make it much more difficult for you to procreate (if that is something you eventually want to do one day.) All of these things tend to also lead to depression and anxiety.  If left untreated you may suffer from nerve and kidney damage, heart disease, stroke and of course death.

Best course of action is to eat clean and get some exercise.

#8 The Flu and Related Illnesses

Influenza and pneumococcal infection are two leading health risks for some men. Men who have compromised immune systems due to COPD, diabetes, congestive heart failure, sickle cell anemia, AIDS, or cancer, are more susceptible to these illnesses.

The American Lung Association urges older males—especially African American men and men over the age of 65—to get vaccinated. Studies show that vaccinations can be up to 70 percent effective in preventing hospitalizations for both influenza and pneumococcal infection in those over 65.

Don’t be a baby, get your shots!

#9 Skin Cancer

One of my favorite episodes of Seinfeld was when Jerry was dating a doctor.  This doctor happened to be a dermatologist and when Jerry and her would go out on dates, people would come up to her and thank her for “saving their life.”  Jerry thought it was rather arrogant that she would claim to save lives as a dermatologist and like so many of his relationships, things ended badly.

According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, men over 50 are at highest risk for developing skin cancer—more than twice the rate as women.  Why? Because of more sun exposure and fewer visits to the doctor. Golfing is great but be sure to wear some sun screen!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend wearing long sleeves and pants, hats with wide brims, sunglasses, and sunscreen when outdoors for either fun or work. Lower your skin cancer risk by avoiding exposure to UV light that comes from tanning beds or sunlamps.

#10 HIV and AIDS

Men who are infected with HIV may not realize it, as initial symptoms may mimic a cold or flu. However, new infections are on the rise among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that in 2009, 61 percent of all new HIV infections were attributed to same-sex activity  and that 69 percent of new HIV infections were among young males aged 13-29.

However, those are not the only category of people who are still infected with AIDS and HIV every year.  Even men who have sex with only women can still contract the disease if they aren’t careful.  Refusal to wear a rubber isn’t brave, it is stupid.  If she isn’t on the pill or doing something else you need to be wearing protection bro.

While it doesn’t happen as frequently as it used to men who share needles while taking recreational drugs can also contract HIV and AIDS.  You probably shouldn’t be using drugs anyway but if you are and it involves a needle don’t share man, it is not cool.

Be a Proactive Man!!

Hopefully what you have learned from this post is that it pays to be proactive.  Get checked up on a regular basis, even if you aren’t feeling bad or ill.  Better to catch something early than to catch it late!

If you think you are at risk for any of the above health concerns than you need to change your habits and be more intentional about your health!  It can be a scary proposition addressing your health but you should avoid it altogether.  Failure to be proactive can lead to premature death.  Don’t do that to your loved ones.  Pick up the phone and make an appointment today!

Let’s all make a decision to be healthier heading into 2016!  As always, make it a better day!

Andrew

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