Home Health Depression, Suicide, and Men

Depression, Suicide, and Men

by Alex McGee

The recent suicides of rock stars Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington have brought depression to the forefront of national conversation, and for good reason. Depression is becoming increasingly prevalent all over the world. From 2005 to 2015, incidences of depression increased by 18% and became the world’s most widespread illness.

While women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression, that may be partly due to the reluctance of men to recognize the disease and seek treatment. This has led to a disastrous epidemic of suicide in men. In fact, 7 out of 10 suicide victims are white, male, and between the ages of 45 and 65. It now represents the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.

According to the Brookings Institution, much of this tragic loss has also come from lack of economic opportunity, especially for those without college degrees. Alcoholism, drug abuse, and poor health are other factors that are driving this demographic out of the workforce and to suicide.

However, it’s important for men to understand that anyone can suffer from depression, and to identify the symptoms. Men are less likely to show more “typical” signs of depression such as sadness, instead choosing to keep their feelings hidden. Increased irritableness and aggression are more typical in men, as is alcohol and drug abuse. Depression even manifests itself as exhaustion or physical pain, such as backaches or headaches. This often leads to a misdiagnosis from healthcare professionals and even friends and family.

If you think you might be depressed, it’s important to seek help. As you can see, you’re far from alone. And it’s not your fault. Several factors contribute to depression that you can’t control, such as genetics, brain chemistry, and stress.

The first step is to simply visit your doctor to talk about your symptoms. You may be prescribed medication, therapy, or a combination of both. Research shows that the sooner treatment is made, the shorter treatment lasts. And as always, if you or someone you know is in a crisis, call the toll-free, 24-hour National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.

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