Hidden Struggles: Understanding Depression Signs in Men

Published on 21 May 2024 at 20:02

Alright fellas, we all know how much of a shit show depression is. Depression in males can differ from depression in females due to a variety of factors, including biological, psychological, and sociocultural influences. Here are some reasons why depression may present differently in males:

You OK Bro?

Socialization and Gender Norms

Societal expectations around masculinity often discourage men from expressing emotions such as sadness, vulnerability, or fear. Men may feel pressured to conform to traditional gender roles, which may lead them to suppress their feelings or express them differently. This can result in depressive symptoms being masked by behaviours such as anger, irritability, or substance abuse.

Symptom Presentation

Men may experience depression differently in terms of how symptoms are expressed. While women may be more likely to exhibit classic signs of depression such as crying or expressing sadness, men may demonstrate symptoms through irritability, physical complaints, or reckless behaviour.

Coping Mechanisms

Men and women may use different coping mechanisms when faced with stress or emotional difficulties. Men may be more inclined to engage in avoidant behaviours, such as withdrawing from social interactions or using substances, as a way to cope with distress. These coping strategies can contribute to the development or exacerbation of depressive symptoms.

Biological Differences

While the exact biological mechanisms underlying depression are complex and not fully understood, there may be biological differences between men and women in terms of brain chemistry, hormone levels, and genetic factors that influence the onset and course of depression.

Stigma and Help-Seeking

Men may be less likely to seek help for mental health issues due to stigma, concerns about appearing weak or vulnerable, or a lack of awareness about mental health resources. This reluctance to seek help can result in delayed diagnosis and treatment, leading to more severe symptoms and impaired functioning.

How Symptoms Show For Men


Men with depression may often feel easily irritated, angry, or hostile, even over minor issues.

Physical complaints

Instead of expressing emotional distress, men may complain about physical ailments such as headaches, digestive problems, or chronic pain.


Feeling constantly tired or lacking energy, even after a full night's sleep, is a common symptom of depression in men.

Changes in sleep patterns

Men may experience either insomnia, struggling to fall or stay asleep, or hypersomnia, sleeping excessively.

Loss of interest

A diminished interest in activities once enjoyed, including hobbies, socializing, or sex, is a hallmark symptom of depression.

Increased substance use

Men may turn to alcohol, drugs, or other substances as a way to cope with their feelings of depression.

Social withdrawal

Men with depression may isolate themselves from friends, family, and social activities, preferring to be alone.

Changes in appetite or weight

Depression can lead to significant changes in eating habits, resulting in weight loss or gain.

Feelings of worthlessness or guilt

Men may experience intense feelings of self-blame, worthlessness, or excessive guilt, even for minor mistakes or perceived failures.

Suicidal thoughts or behaviours

In severe cases of depression, men may have thoughts of suicide or engage in self-destructive behaviours.

Food For Thought

When considering depression in men, it's important to keep several key points in mind:


Intersectionality: Depression doesn't affect all men in the same way. Factors such as race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, and cultural background can intersect with gender to shape how depression is experienced and expressed. Understanding these intersecting identities is crucial for providing culturally sensitive and inclusive support.

Risk Factors: Certain factors may increase the risk of depression in men, including a family history of depression or other mental health disorders, experiencing trauma or significant life stressors, chronic medical conditions, substance abuse, and relationship difficulties. Identifying and addressing these risk factors can be important in preventing and managing depression.

Suicide Risk: Men are more likely than women to die by suicide, and depression is a significant risk factor for suicide. It's essential to be vigilant for signs of suicidal ideation or behaviour in men experiencing depression and to take any talk of suicide seriously. Prompt intervention and access to mental health support can be lifesaving.

Cultural Factors: Cultural beliefs and norms can influence how depression is perceived, expressed, and addressed within different communities. Some cultures may stigmatize mental illness or prioritize seeking support from family and community over professional help. Understanding and respecting these cultural differences is essential for providing effective care.

Treatment Approaches: While traditional talk therapy and medication can be effective treatments for depression, men may respond differently to various therapeutic approaches. Some men may prefer action-oriented therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT) or group therapy, while others may benefit from alternative approaches such as mindfulness or exercise-based interventions. Tailoring treatment to individual preferences and needs is important for promoting engagement and success.

Prevention Strategies: Promoting mental health and well-being among men requires a multifaceted approach that addresses both individual and societal factors. This may include promoting healthy coping strategies, fostering supportive relationships and social connections, addressing workplace stressors, and challenging gender norms that discourage help-seeking behaviour. Early intervention and prevention efforts can help reduce the burden of depression in men and improve overall quality of life.




As you all know, this isn't medical advice and you should always speak to a professional if you have concerns about this. However this article was intended to provide some information on the topic to increase awareness and make the topic more normal. If you're in the UK, here are some resources below to learn more. If you're elsewhere in the world I am certain you will have equivalents the same in your country. 

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