Why Depression Is Underreported in Men

Why Depression Is Underreported in Men
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Depression is often seen as a problem mainly affecting women. Ironically, that’s one of the reasons why the condition is underreported among men, according to Amit Anand, MD, a professor of medicine at the Cleveland Clinic’s Lerner College of Medicine and vice-chair of research at its Center for Behavioral Health. 

Although women are 70 percent more likely than men to have depression, more than 6 million men in the United States struggle with the condition each year, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). However, several obstacles prevent many of them from seeking treatment, Dr. Anand says. These barriers to care not only affect how men with depression are diagnosed, he says, but also how they are treated.

Several factors contribute to depression often being unreported and undiagnosed in men. For starters, men who are depressed may not recognize their symptoms. “Women are far more likely to acknowledge that they have depression and seek help,” Anand says.

Also, symptoms of depression vary from person to person, and symptoms may not always be obvious, according to NIMH. Complicating matters is that, rather than showing such signs of depression as sadness and crying, men who are depressed often suppress their feelings, reports the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI).

Men and women also have different risk factors for depression that could affect whether they seek treatment, according to a study published in 2014 in the American Journal of Psychiatry. The factors most directly linked to depression among women are divorce, lack of parental or social support, and marriage troubles. For men, however, depression is more closely linked to drug abuse as well as financial, legal, and work-related stress, the researchers say. Their research suggests that men are less likely to seek medical attention if they attribute depression to career disappointment or failures. Rather than seek help, Anand says, men with depression are more likely to try to tough it out.

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Source – Everyday Health | Mary Elizabeth Dallas

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