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Are Men Less Likely To Be Depressed Because They Don't Even Know What It Is?

Illustration for article titled Are Men Less Likely To Be Depressed Because They Dont Even Know What It Is?

The National Alliance on Mental Illness has announced that while 18 million Americans experience depression every year, one in eight women get depressed, which is twice the rate of depression in men. Twice the rate. In addition, depression hits minorities the most: Middle-aged Hispanic women have the highest rate, then middle-aged African-American women. Young Asian-American women have the second highest rate of suicide among those ages 15 to 24. There are many reasons that women are more likely to experience depression: In addition to genetic factors, brain chemistry issues, and psychosocial losses or changes, there are things that women have to deal with that men usually do not. "Some experiences are unique to women," Dr. Ken Duckworth of the NAMI says, "including post-partum changes, infertility and hormonal fluctuations throughout their lives." But one has to wonder: Do men even realize what depression is?


It's been reported time and time again that men are less likely to go to the doctor. Unless they're seriously injured and need stitches, lots of men never deal with health issues. Personally, I've known guys who were clearly depressed and did nothing about it. Friends and boyfriends who had all the symptoms but — as is often the case with men — didn't feel as though they "needed" to see a doctor. That somehow they would "snap out of it." Pair this up with the fact that some dudes love using the word "drama" anytime a woman exhibits emotion, and you've got a recipe for an aversion to dealing with feelings. This might be anecdotal, but surely the National Alliance on Mental Illness gets its statistics from people who actually see a mental health professional? If some dude is walking around depressed but undiagnosed, does he count?


Women depressed at twice the rate of men [UPI]
Women and Depression [NAMI]
Earlier: Boys Who Use The Word Drama: An Investigation
In Defense of Depression
In Post-Industrial Society, Women Are Either "Princess Crazy" Or Her Handmaidens
Related: When booking a doctor's visit, gender plays a role [MSNBC]

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Maybe it's because so many men feel the societal pressure to be masculine/ the breadwinner/ supporter/ provider, etc. Regardless of me (meaning: I don't need him to take care of me) - my husband was raised to take care of his family and admitting depression, to him, means failure.

My husband is unquestionably depressed but he won't even consider speaking to any medical professional about it. To him, and I would think many other men, some of the events leading to his depression are things he is ashamed about so sharing them would only (in his mind) exacerbate the problem and open him to the judgement of others. Even if that other is a doctor.