Signs of depression in men – Symptoms of depression in men

While the symptoms of depression in men are more or less the same as for women, often the chief signs of depression in men can be different from those in women. Moreover signs of depression in men are harder to detect than they are in women.

Main signs of depression in men and symptoms of depression in men


People who are depressed undergo a series of physical and emotional changes. They can experience fatigue, as well as psychomotor retardation, or a slowing down of physical movements, speech, and thought processes. The most common symptom of depression in men is fatigue.

Sleeping too much or too little

Another sign of depression in men is sleep problems—such as insomnia, waking up very early in the morning, or excessive sleeping. Like fatigue, sleep troubles are one of the main symptoms of depression in men discussed with their doctor, experts say.

Stomachache or backache

Health problems such as constipation or diarrhea, as well as headaches and back pain, are common in people who are depressed. But men often don’t realize that chronic pain and digestive disorders go hand in hand with depression.


Instead of seeming down, men who are depressed often show signs of irritability. In addition, negative thoughts are one of the common signs of depression in men. Men will report feeling irritable because they are having negative thoughts constantly.

Difficulty concentrating

Psychomotor retardation can slow down a man’s ability to process information, thereby impairing concentration on work or other tasks. Depression fills one with negative thoughts, almost like an intrusion,” Klapow says. “You’re slowed down and constantly thinking about negative things in your world. As a result it makes it very difficult to focus on anything.”

Anger or hostility

Some men manifest depression by being hostile, angry, or aggressive. Anger and hostility are different than irritability. “Anger tends to be a stronger emotion,” Klapow says. “Irritability is a crankiness.”


On of the most likely reported symptoms of depression in men is stress. It’s not that they have more stress. It’s that it’s more socially acceptable to report it. Research has shown that prolonged exposure to stress can lead to changes both in the body and brain, which can in turn lead to depression.


Research has shown a strong link between anxiety disorders and depression. Men may be no more likely than women to experience anxiety — in fact, anxiety disorders are about twice as prevalent in women — but it’s often easier for men to talk about feeling anxious rather than sad. Men may discuss concerns about work and whether the loss of a job will impede their ability to provide for themselves and their family.

Substance abuse

Substance abuse frequently accompanies depression. Research has shown that alcoholics are almost twice as likely to suffer from major depression as people without a drinking problem. It can happen for both men and women, but using drugs or alcohol to mask uncomfortable feelings is a strategy many men will employ instead of seeking health care.

Sexual dysfunction

Depression is a common reason for loss of desire and erectile dysfunction (ED), and it’s one symptom that men are inclined not to report. However, ED can be the result of other medical conditions or medications (including antidepressants), and ED by itself does not signal depression, although it is many times associated with it.


Some people naturally have a hard time making decisions, so an inability to make choices is usually worrisome only if it’s a new behavior. It’s an information-processing issue and depression slows down your ability to decide.

Suicidal thoughts

Women are more likely to attempt suicide, but men are more than four times as likely to die if they do attempt suicide. One reason is that men tend to choose more lethal methods. Older men are at highest risk for suicide, and doctors may miss depression symptoms in this group. In fact, more than 70% of older suicide victims saw their primary care physician within the month of their death. Depression is not a normal part of aging in men or women.

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