Across the globe, the number of people suffering from depression is increasing.The World Health Organization (WHO) has identified depression as the fourth most significant health problem today. By 2020, it will become the most important cause of disability in the developing world. Experts have estimated that at least one in ten men will experience an episode of clinical depression during his lifetime.
We live in an age of rapid cultural changes. Strong competition in the workplace has become a part of life. There is also a great pressure to provide one’s family with the latest status symbols; fancy cars, watches and designer clothes. Loss has also become much more common – lifelong marriage and employment is becoming a thing of the past; many more men have to cope with job losses and relationships breaking up. Gender roles are also changing faster than most men can cope with.
The core feature of depression is a sense of pessimism and a loss of pleasure in activities that were earlier enjoyable.Most also manifest a persistent sad feeling associated with a loss of will and a feeling that life is not worth living. Many complain of a sense of emptiness and a loss of confidence and self esteem. The majority who are depressed suffer sleep disturbances – insomnia or in some cases, sleeping too much.Some people gain or lose weight due to change in appetite.
Men manifest depression differently from women, are likely to conceal their feelings. It can be difficult to tell if a man is depressed or not.Many depressed men will self medicate using alcohol, drugs,cigarettes and even tranquillizers to cope with their unpleasant feelings,over time this worsens things. While most men lose interest in sex when depressed, some become hyper-sexed or even have an affair. Others become workaholics to cope with feelings of inadequacy or to distract themselves from the pain.
Men are often unwilling to seek help considering that in most cultures it is unmanly to show signs of vulnerability or weakness. Depression must be treated for it can be deadly and last for months destroying relationships at work and among loved ones. Suicide is common among men who feel that they aren’t measuring up or are no longer useful. Worse it has a toxic effect on health. Men who have had an episode of depression are twice as likely to have a heart attack, as those who have not.Death due to heart attack is much more likely in depressed men.
Don’t tell someone who is depressed to snap out of it. It only makes them feel more helpless because they are unable to get out of it or they would have. Don’t offer platitudes like,’Things are not as bad as they seem” or ‘lt will soon pass”. Really ca ring or comforting someone means to lovingly sup port him, and most important draw on your courage to insist that he seek treatment. The revolution in the treatment of depress ion ensures that modem psychotherapy and medication are effective within weeks. Psychotherapy is most important, as it can reduce the need for and length of medication as also, the attendant side effects. Psychotherapy halves the risk of a recurrence and increases your chance of a happier future.