Should Don Draper have been diagnosed with depression?More likely than not, commercials for depression drugs feature a woman whose mood has magically been lifted by the latest pharmaceutical "miracle." It's much rarer that we see a man struggling with clinical depression in any form of media. Sure, male characters on TV shows might be alcoholics, addicts, workaholics, etc., but just plain depressed? Not so much. It's no wonder we -- consciously or subconsciously -- believe depression is a "woman's disease!" Even long-accepted statistics that say women are 70 percent more likely to have major depression than men echo this idea.
Well now, it turns out, men are at just the same risk for depression as the ladies, according to new GROUNDBREAKING research. You don't say!
A study published last week by JAMA Psychiatry says when its symptoms -- like anger attacks, aggression or irritability, substance abuse, risk-taking behavior and hyperactivity -- are properly recognized in men, major depression may be even more common in guys than gals. Hellloooo! I really am struggling to figure out why it took them so long to reach this conclusion. I've known more than a handful of men who have struggled with diagnosed depression and anxiety. In fact, personally, I know even more men than women!
Still, it's not the easiest thing for them to acknowledge, treat, or even discuss it, because, well, they're men who are told they're supposed to be stoic or "in control" or whatever other antiquated stereotype. So thank goodness for this study, because hopefully it'll raise awareness and start a new conversation about how important it is to realize that yes, men are just as or more susceptible to the condition as women. It'll help doctors, including primary care physicians who now diagnose most depression, know to look for an expanded set of symptoms and better understand how seemingly separate diseases such as substance abuse and depression relate to each other. They'd also be able to help guide patients toward more targeted treatments based on their symptoms.
And with hope, it'll break down some of the stigma that surrounds depression in general, stopping the vicious cycle that leaves men with depression feeling lost and as if they're the odd ones out ... because they're clearly not alone at all.
Have you ever thought of depression as a more "feminine" issue? Do you think there's stigma surrounding men suffering from depression?
Image via AMC