June 7, 2018
According to the CDC, more than 50% of U.S. adults will be diagnosed with a mental illness or disorder at some point over the course of their life. Mental illness, including depression, affects people of all races, ethnicities, genders, socioeconomic statuses, and geographic locations. Mental illness does not discriminate.
There are many potential causes of depression, including trauma, genetics, life circumstances, brain changes, other medical conditions, and drug or alcohol abuse. Additionally, there are many treatment options. These include talk therapy, medications, brain stimulation therapies, light therapy, and many other approaches.
In general, men are far less likely to reach out for treatment than women are. Some are hesitant out of fear of appearing weak or overly emotional, while others are uncertain of what treatment entails or how others may view them for seeking help.
Occasional bad moods or sadness are common, however you may have depression if you experience persistent feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness, or hopelessness. Talk to your provider if you notice increased irritability or frustration, loss of interest in normal activities, change in sleeping patterns or energy levels, changes in weight, or thoughts of suicide. Both men and women can experience similar symptoms of depression but prominent irritability may be more common in men then tearfulness or sadness due to cultural norms. As men age into their 60’s, it is not uncommon to experience heavy physical fatigue, loss of sexual desire, and loss of muscle mass as main symptoms of depression. In some cases, this can be caused by low testosterone, and replacing it helps greatly.
Most people affected by depression feel better with medication, psychotherapy, or a combination of both. You can find what works for you by recognizing your symptoms, educating yourself, and asking for help.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, explain your feelings to someone you are close with, make an appointment with a healthcare provider, and ask how they may be able to help. Managing and monitoring your depression is important; get help today.
Dr. Ryan Shackelford,
Psychiatrist and Associate Medical Director at Terry Reilly Health Services