Breaking the Stigma: Addressing Mental Health in Men
Depression, anxiety, and eating disorders are just a few of the major mental health issues that affect men, but because men have different ways of coping than women do, these issues are often considered a silent crisis. In honor of Men’s Health Awareness Month, educate yourself on these mental health problems.
Signs of depression include:
- Loss of interest in work, hobbies, and other things he typically enjoys
- Lack of energy, motivation, and concentration
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Increased anxiety, anger, or irritability
The following risk factors increase the likelihood of depression in men.
- Previous experience with depression or anxiety
- Drug and alcohol use
- Feelings of loneliness or isolation
- Unemployment, poverty, or homelessness
- Lack of exercise
- Conflict or stress
- Family history of depression
Signs of anxiety include:
- Cold and hot flashes
- Racing heart and tightening of the chest
- Constantly growing worry
- Obsessive thinking and compulsive behavior
Triggers for anxiety in men can be:
- Family history of mental health issues
- Stressful life events or physical health problems
- Heavy or long-term use of drugs or alcohol
- Personality factors
With increasing rates of body dissatisfaction among men, eating disorders are becoming much more common in males. Warning signs to watch out for in men include:
- Obsession with body building or weight lifting – even when injured or sick
- Lowered testosterone
- Anxiety or stress that occurs as the result of missing a workout
- Muscular weakness
- Decrease in sex drive or fears about having sex
- Possible conflict in terms of gender identity or sexual orientation
- Use of anabolic steroids
Many of the messages in today’s society factor in to men developing an eating disorder. These messages include the idea that men should only have one body type; that men are defined by their appearance; that men need to be in control; and that eating disorders are not masculine.
This Movember, remind yourself that mental health issues in men are not a stigma. With support, love, and the right treatment, happiness and stability is attainable.
Do you have an inspiring story about a mental health issue you or men in your family have dealt with? We would love to hear it in the comments below.