Saturday, August 31, 2013

Men Get Depressed Too

From an article in the Los Angeles Times by Melissa Healy

"Depression can look very different in men and women. And many of its hallmarks — rage, risk-taking, substance abuse and even workaholism — can hide in plain sight.
Now researchers say that when these symptoms are factored into a diagnosis, the long-standing disparity between depression rates in men and women disappears.
That conclusion overturns long-accepted statistics indicating that, over their lifetimes, women are 70% more likely to have major depression than men. In fact, when its symptoms are properly recognized in men, major depression may be even more common in men than in women, according to a study published Wednesday by the journal JAMA Psychiatry.....
In addition to familiar depression symptoms such as sadness, difficulty sleeping, feelings of guilt or worthlessness and loss of interest in pleasurable activities, the researchers expanded the list to include anger attacks, aggression or irritability, substance abuse, risk-taking behavior and hyperactivity.......30.6% of men and 33.3% of women were found to have experienced a depressive episode at some point in their lives. In research terms, that gap between men and women was so narrow it may have been a statistical fluke."
This means, among other things, that couples can be on the lookout for the differing signs of depression each gender may exhibit.  The partner is the one most likely to notice subtle changes.  And, although this is trickier, the partner may be the one who can best convince the depressed partner to seek treatment.  Showing the depressed partner this article in the LA Times may be a way of starting a conversation.
This also means that doctors who are too quick to dismiss a woman's health complaints as signs of depression can now do the same for their male patients  ;-)

Have you had to have a conversation with your partner about signs of depression?  Were you able to help him/her get treatment?  What did you find helpful in convincing him/her? 

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