Mental Health Last updated on 2022-11-14 16:09:01
MEN DON’T CRY!
- Bhavyakirti Kumari Jhala
- 7 Min Read
- Fact Checked
Mental illness affects everyone equally. Depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues can affect people of all genders. But in males, they can seem different. It can be more difficult for men and their healthcare professionals to recognize when they might need mental health support due to gender stereotypes and stigma.
Men are less likely than women to talk about or get assistance for their mental health issues, which is partly due to societal expectations and established gender roles. We are aware that women might suffer harm as a result of gender preconceptions about how they should act or seem, for example. However, it's crucial to recognize that prejudices and expectations may also harm males.
Men are frequently expected to provide for their families and to be powerful, dominating, and in charge. These characteristics may not be intrinsically harmful, but they may make it more difficult for males to ask for assistance and to be vulnerable. According to some studies, men who find it difficult to express their feelings may also find it more difficult to recognize their own signs of mental health issues and are less inclined to seek help. Contrary to the idea of being strong and becoming unfit for the position of a provider, our society's complicated gender dynamics, particularly stereotypes, lead them to think about not obtaining treatment for improved mental health as they may appear to be "weak" and "unmanly."
According to estimates, about 250 Indian males committed suicide every day in 2018—more than twice as many as women. Typically, men use alcohol to mask their sadness. The National Mental Health Survey, 2015–16, found that men were more likely than women to have alcohol use disorders (9% vs. 0.5%). Additionally, men (13.9%) had a greater overall frequency of mental illness than women (7.5%). Male depression frequently remains untreated. Although depression may affect both men and women, the symptoms differ across the sexes. When sad, men are more likely to turn to substance misuse and act aggressively. Anxiety disorders, panic attacks, agoraphobia, and other phobias affect 5 in 10 males. Muscle soreness, headaches, trouble sleeping, rage, and irritability are some symptoms. In both youth and maturity, males are just as prone to developing bipolar illness as females are. High rates of morbidity and death make bipolar illness the sixth most common cause of disability, and it has a detrimental effect on the quality of life for people who are affected. Manic episodes, increased aggressiveness, co-occurring drug misuse, etc., are symptoms in men.
There is no specific type of "male depression"; however, some symptoms are more prevalent in males than in women. These include hostility, risk-taking, greater lack of control, impatience, and abrupt fury. In addition, men may be more inclined to utilize drugs and alcohol than talk about their sadness. They could also engage in escapist behavior, such as devoting all their attention to their work.
The following are some of the most common mental health issues that affect men:
The hallmark of depression is a persistently down mood that makes it difficult to carry out daily tasks. It is one of the most prevalent mental health problems in the world. Women experience depression approximately twice as frequently as males. But compared to women, males are much less likely to seek therapy for it.
Intense, uncontrolled sensations of dread and concern are symptoms of anxiety disorders. Depression frequently co-occurs with general anxiety disorder (GAD), the most prevalent kind. Men are less likely to seek treatment for GAD, even though women are twice as likely to suffer from it. Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder are two more forms of anxiety disorders that affect both sexes equally.
Schizophrenia is a serious mental illness in which a person does not see reality as it actually is. They have delusions, hallucinations, and other manifestations of distorted thinking. Schizophrenia may significantly affect relationships and quality of life. 90% of people diagnosed with schizophrenia by the age of 30 are men.
The symptoms of reliving a traumatic event, avoidance, and hyperarousal are the hallmarks of PTSD. According to research, 50% of women and around 60% of men, respectively, encounter at least one traumatic event in their lifetime. There are several types of trauma, and males are more prone to experience: Accidents, attacks, conflicts, and natural disasters that result in fatalities or injuries are some of them.
Warning signs in men
The same mental health problem might present with diverse symptoms in men and women. This may be a result of different perspectives on mental health held by males as well as by medical professionals. When experiencing physical signs of mental health illnesses, such as exhaustion, males are more likely to seek care. However, they could ignore emotional signs, such as hiding depression's melancholy with rage, irritation, or violent conduct. Men frequently self-medicate with alcohol and other drugs, which simply makes their feelings worse or causes additional health issues.
The following are a few indications of mental illness in males that may be present, according to the National Institute of Mental Health:
- aggression, irritation, or anger
- mood, energy level, or hunger changes
- Having trouble staying asleep or sleeping too much; having trouble concentrating; feeling restless or tense
- Worry or tension levels rising
- drinking and/or drug abuse
- feeling "flat," depressed, or hopeless; considering suicide
- Unknown causes of aches, headaches, and/or digestive issues
- Unusual attitudes or actions, including risky behaviors
What factors can cause issues with male mental health?
Men's mental health problems can develop for a variety of reasons, including:
Sexism: Men with worse mental health may be more inclined to fiercely adhere to stereotypically masculine norms.
Trauma: This might involve really upsetting experiences like being sexually molested, going through combat, or frequently being in stressful circumstances (e.g., firefighters or policemen). For instance, posttraumatic stress disorder develops in 65% of males who are sexually assaulted (PTSD). Being in a war or seeing a violent incident can also raise the chance of developing anxiety disorders like PTSD.
Poor working circumstances or a heavy workload have been linked to an increased risk of mental health problems in men, as they have job stress and a lack of social support.
Traditional gender roles: These may include pressure to provide for others or social conventions that prevent males from discussing their feelings.
Abuse in childhood or problems in the home: Any negative event in childhood increases the chance of mental health problems as an adult.
Work loss: Men who lose their jobs or retire have a higher chance of developing depression. Men who lose their employment have a depression rate of 1 in 7.
Divorce and separation: Men frequently believe that they should be the family's breadwinner and peacemaker. Men who have been divorced tend to have more severe and persistent depression.
Financial concerns: Economic concerns are a leading source of stress for many people and may contribute to the emergence of some mental health conditions.
Substance abuse: Although such "self-medication" might ultimately make matters worse, males may be more inclined to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism for mental health concerns.
Making people aware and choosing the right treatment
First, men's mental health must be treated on par with men's physical health. Silent suffering will make these symptoms worse and complicate subsequent treatments. There are several methods available for obtaining expert assistance. In order to encourage the family's male members to seek treatment, caregivers or family members should be aware of a variety of undesirable symptoms. Keep a tight eye out for their impatience, petty fights, addiction tendencies, and family disturbance.
Second, look for expert assistance, which might provide you with a number of options and detailed plans.
Even though many men are reluctant to seek and maintain therapy for mental health disorders, it is an essential step in healing. People can learn to control their symptoms and start to feel better with good therapy.
Options for therapy include:
People can work through problems that have led to mental health difficulties with the use of therapy. Additionally, it can assist people in controlling their symptoms, altering their negative attitudes and harmful habits, and learning new coping mechanisms. There are several varieties of treatment. People must choose the best therapist and form of therapy for them if they want it to be beneficial.
Medication can be prescribed by a doctor to treat a variety of mental diseases or the symptoms that go along with them.
For instance, they may advise:
- Medicines for anxiety and depression
- Psychedelic medications
- Sleep aids
Typically, medical professionals would advise patients to combine psychotherapy and pharmaceutical use.
Changes in lifestyle
Making healthy lifestyle choices can significantly improve mental health.
For instance, it's crucial to
- Consume a healthy diet
- Get adequate rest
- Use yoga or meditation to reduce stress, among other methods
- Avoid or limit alcohol and drug usage
Being a part of a support group or receiving group therapy may be highly beneficial for those with mental health issues.
There is no certain strategy to shield against mental health issues. However, taking the following actions may lessen your chance of getting one:
- Keep in touch with loved ones and friends, especially during trying times
- If you see any signs of poor mental health, get help
- To avoid relapses of depression or other mental health issues, continue maintenance therapy
- Learn how to control your stress by practicing mindfulness, meditation, or other techniques
- Make good lifestyle decisions, such as eating healthfully, getting enough sleep, and exercising
- Consult a therapist for problems like low self-esteem or childhood trauma that could lead to mental health issues in the future
How to assist?
A person can assist a loved one who is struggling with mental health concerns in a number of ways. For instance:
- Watch for adjustments in the person's attitude and actions. These could denote the emergence of a mental health problem
- Ask the person how they are feeling and talk to them. This is crucial if they have just gone through a traumatic experience like a divorce, a death in the family, or retirement
- Encourage them to consult a medical practitioner or a mental health expert
- Offer to find a provider of therapy, book an appointment for them, or go to the session with them
- Regularly check in with them to see how they're doing
- Never leave someone alone who is suicidal
Men's mental health difficulties are very different from women's, yet they are just as significant. Men are more unwilling to seek help for problems they confront, which is a worrying trend. Men are considerably more likely to commit suicide than women. However, men who encounter mental health issues can significantly improve their lives by obtaining and maintaining therapy. Support from family members and friends can help lessen symptoms, enhance the quality of life, and lower the risk of suicide.Read more on kindness and mental health.
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