Why does depression affect men and women differently?

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Even though both men and women, rich and poor, rural and urban, blue collar and white can experience depression, men resist that diagnosis. Conscious that society can associate antiquated notions of "weakness" with depression, many men feel ashamed to admit they're plagued by sadness and a lack of motivation. A man is supposed to be a striver and a provider, after all.

Feelings of depression threaten a man's identity. Women, accustomed to feeling (and being perceived as) more emotional, don't find depressive feelings so surprising or disappointing. Women are far more likely to get help. Societal factors aren't the only culprits underlying male depression, however. Possibly due to biological predilections, men tend to keep feelings to themselves. Typically less verbal than women, they're not accustomed to sharing much more than functional facts (and sports scores) with other men. When no outlets for sadness or anger exist, mood darkens.

Men tend to cope with dreary, sad, or irritable feelings in unproductive, ineffective ways. To escape from unbearable moods, they resort to excessive use of alcohol or drugs, engage in reckless behavior such as picking fights, driving irresponsibly and taking unwise risks. The man who buries himself in work hopes that the papers piled up around him will keep the sadness at bay. These coping strategies never work.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.