There are several reasons why the symptoms of clinical depression in men are not commonly recognized. For example, men tend to deny having problems because they are supposed to "be strong." And American culture suggests that expressing emotion is largely a feminine trait. As a result, men who are depressed are more likely to talk about the physical symptoms of their depression -- such as feeling tired --- rather than symptoms related to emotion.
Depression in men can affect sexual desire and performance. Unfortunately, some antidepressants and other medications can do the same. Men often are unwilling to admit to problems with their sexuality. Many mistakenly feel that the problems are related to their manhood, when, in fact, they are caused by a medical problem such as clinical depression.
Men are less likely to show more "typical" signs of depression such as sadness. Depression in men may cause them to keep their feelings hidden. Instead of expressing a depressed mood, they may seem more irritable and aggressive.
A staggering 75% to 80% of all people who commit suicide in the U.S. are men. Though more women attempt suicide, more men complete the act of actually ending their lives. This may be due to the fact that men tend to use more lethal and violent methods for committing suicide, such as using a gun rather than taking an overdose of pills.
Depression in men often can be traced to cultural expectations. Men are supposed to be successful. They should rein in their emotions. They must be in control. These cultural expectations can mask some of the true symptoms of depression. Instead, men may express aggression and anger -- seen as more acceptable "tough guy" behavior.
Men generally have a hard time dealing with the stigma of depression. They are more likely to deal with their symptoms by drinking alcohol, abusing drugs, or pursuing other risky behavior. Many men avoid talking about depressed feelings to friends or family.
Although depression is not a normal part of aging, senior men may have medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, or other stressors that may contribute to depression.