Top 5 Causes of Depression in Men
Openly acknowledging and discussing depression can be challenging for anyone. Unfortunately, there is a persistent stigma that surrounds mental illness, which makes it difficult for people to come forward or speak up when they are having depressive thoughts.
However, men often have more difficulty acknowledging and confronting their symptoms of depression than women, because of the harmful stereotype that in order to be manly, they need to be both tough and self-reliant.
But depression is a serious condition that can easily affect all of us. Because we are taught at a young age that our value is dependent upon the approval of others, it is common to internalize external negativity and blame ourselves for situations that we cannot control.
Understanding and recognizing the external causes of depression is the first step in overcoming these feelings of overwhelming and paralyzing sadness.
Below is a list of the 5 most common reasons men feel depressed.
Money makes the world go ’round is a common adage in today’s day and age. And despite the massive gains we have made in terms of gender equality – there is still a pervasive belief that men should be the breadwinners of their families. Men commonly internalize societal norms – and when they feel as though they have failed to live up to cultural expectations, particularly ones related to their financial success, they can easily slip into depression.
Unemployment or Prolonged Stress at Work
Losing a job, changing careers, or failing to achieve important career milestones is another common cause of depression in men. The worth of a man is typically entwined with his professional success, and when he fails to meet “socially-approved” milestones, he can often experience heightened levels of anxiety and depression.
Although it is less likely for men to speak up when they feel lonely – for fear of feminizing their emotions – it is common for men to feel depressed when they lack a strong support system. Additionally, major life changes, like moving away from home or being separated from family, can trigger symptoms of loneliness and depression.
Death or Loss of a Loved One
Although prolonged exposure to any form of stress can lead to depression, there are often events that trigger more immediate symptoms. Losing a loved one is a traumatic and often unexplainable event that can create severe emotional shock. When dealing with the stress caused by this loss, men will often feel out of control. This sense of helplessness can lead them to place blame on themselves and internalize the experience – prompting symptoms of depression.
Family and Relationship Problems
Family responsibilities, unhealthy or abusive relationships, or divorce, can all lead to depression. Men often feel societal pressure to become the head of their households. As a result, when faced with familial crises or challenges, men will frequently place their family’s burden entirely on their own shoulders. Moreover, men can often be on the receiving end of an abusive relationship, and due to the stereotype that in order to be manly they need to be strong, will avoid revealing their situation to others. Additionally, a traumatic event, like divorce, can trigger feelings of failure and provoke symptoms of depression.