Though men and women both suffer from depression, men are less likely to seek help. This increases their risk of suicide so it is important to know the signs of depression in men.

In the past, clinical depression was considered a ‘woman’s disease,’ but more than 6 million men in the U.S. suffer from the condition today. Many of the symptoms of depression are the same in men and women, but researchers have found that there are some significant differences in how men react to depression.

Please seek help if a loved one is showing signs of depression. We cover some common signs, but there might be other signs as well.

10 Signs of Depression in Men 

1. Fatigue

  • Men are more likely than women to report fatigue as one of their main symptoms.
  • People with depression experience fatigue and their physical movements, speech, and thought processes become slower.


2. Disturbed Sleep Patterns

  • Disturbed sleep patterns are another main symptom that depressed men discuss with their doctor.
  • Sleep problems experienced by men include insomnia, waking in the middle of the night and unable to get back to sleep, or excessive sleeping.


3. Physical Health Problems

  • Men with depression tend to talk about the physical symptoms of their condition rather than symptoms related to their emotions.
  • Common physical symptoms in men include stomach and digestive problems, headaches, back pain, and cramps.


4. Difficulty Concentrating

When men are depressed, their ability to process information is affected and they may have difficulty concentrating. Constant negative thoughts fill the mind which makes it difficult to focus.


5. Loss of Interest in Once-Pleasurable Activities

Men with depression may lose interest in their work, and family. They can’t enjoy anything, including sex. They can lose interest in socializing and don’t keep in touch with friends.


6. Stress

  • Research shows that prolonged exposure to stress causes changes in both the body and brain. Chemical changes in the brains can result in depression.
  • Men tend to report symptoms of stress more than women. One reason may be that it’s more socially acceptable for men to complain of stress and pressures at work. Women have been conditioned to accept juggling many roles and multi-tasking, and so may be more reluctant to complain of stress than men.


7. Sexual Dysfunction

Depression in men can affect their sexual desire and performance. It is a common reason of erectile dysfunction (ED). Men are often unwilling to admit to having sexual problems.

Many of the above symptoms are common in depressed men and women, but researchers recognize that when depressed, men are more likely to show signs of:


8. Irritability Anger or Hostility

Many men with depression keep their feelings hidden and instead they become hostile, angry, or aggressive.  A man who is feeling hopeless or overwhelmed by despair may need to compensate by demonstrating that he is still strong, capable and in control.


9. Reckless Behavior

  • A man with depression may exhibit risky behavior such as pursuing dangerous sports or driving recklessly.
  • Substance abuse frequently accompanies depression in men. American culture views expressing emotion as largely a feminine trait, so men keep their problems bottled up. Alcohol or drugs are used by men to mask their negative feelings and escape from them. Some men begin to gamble compulsively.
  • These behaviors are much more common in depressed men than depressed women. Men may use drugs and alcohol as a means of coping with their depression whereas women tend to open up to friends and family.


10. Suicidal Tendencies

  • Men with depression are four times more likely to commit suicide than women. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more than four times more likely to succeed in their attempts. Our culture is one where men are supposed to be strong and able fix their problems. They are also less likely to talk about their depressed feelings to others or to seek medical help than women.  This means they become isolated in their depression.
  • Suicide is most common among men who are separated, widowed or divorced.

Both men and women experience depression but men are less likely to talk about it than women. This increases the risk of men’s depression going unrecognized and untreated. This in turn, increases their risk of suicide. It’s important to know the signs of depression in men, and for men with depression to talk with a friend, loved one, or doctor.