Study Sniffs out Rift Between Male, Female Depression

When it comes to feeling low, it’s clear that there’s no useful way to suppose that any one person has it worse, somehow, than someone else. The state of feeling bad affects people in different ways, but the degree involved is something that’s largely personal and is often hard to represent in the first place. But the way in which people react to these feelings with subsequent behaviors is certainly something that can be measured, and there is growing evidence that men and women react in significantly different ways. In particular, it seems that women are much more prone to seeking professional help from a mental health care worker than men, a fact that can lead to much higher rates of feelings of depression among the male population.

Or at least, that would likely be the case, if reporting was especially reliable. But a new study has reported that men are less likely to seek therapy as well as less likely to report their feelings of unhappiness or loneliness than women. The study, performed at the University of Montreal, has distinguished itself from similar investigations through its look at why men might be more reluctant to initiate treatment or talk to loved ones about their negative emotions from a social standpoint. One possibly important piece of data shows us that while women are generally expected to take the occasional day off of work, typically for a parenting-related situation, men are given a smaller degree of understanding and their choice to take time off is sometimes interpreted as personal weakness or inability to perform.

With a heavy degree of social pressure on males to weather inner storms, it seems likely that many men who could benefit from counseling and psychotherapy, or who might find help in other areas simply by investigating sources of assistance, are suffering alone. The study, as well as many other reports and ideas focusing on the issue of male depression, posits that while a societal change in perception may seem like an imposing task, it may also prove an incredible advantage to scores of men who have been keeping silent.

Source: http://www.vancouversun.com/news/depression+different+dangerous/1662251/story.html

© Copyright 2009 by By Noah Rubinstein, LMFT, LMHC, therapist in Olympia, Washington. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • jackie floria

    jackie floria

    July 10th, 2009 at 2:36 PM

    this news makes me depressed..every guy I’ve ever dated has been depressed about something at some point.

  • LaScala

    LaScala

    July 11th, 2009 at 6:03 PM

    I would bet those bosses that are more unsympathetic towards depression in men are male themselves. Boys are brought up hearing phrases like “big boys don’t cry”, “toughen up”. “Be a man” is another one. What does that mean anyway? It’s no wonder men let it build until the dam bursts into some tragic course of action. It’s time those outdated phrases were dropped from our vocabulary. Male or female, we’re all human and susceptible to life’s ups and downs.There’s no shame in it.

  • runninfast

    runninfast

    July 12th, 2009 at 5:30 PM

    We are trained to think that women are the weaker sex and that men have to be strong but I think that in and of itself does much to damage the psyche of both.

  • Fletcher

    Fletcher

    July 15th, 2009 at 8:00 PM

    Recent analysis by the American Journal of Preventative Medicine and reported in the Alternative Health Journal indicated that suicide is on the increase in both women and men. Between 1999 -2005, the incidence of suicide in the 40-64 age group was up by nearly 60%. Age may be important as well as gender.

    alternativehealthjournal.com/article/u_s__suicide_rates_on_the_rise/3656

  • Jim Gaudet

    Jim Gaudet

    July 17th, 2009 at 8:49 PM

    I think it has to do with men feeling like they can fix anything. It’s what we do. We fix things, why can’t we fix ourselves??

  • Teach

    Teach

    July 18th, 2009 at 10:50 AM

    Hi Jim. If you weren’t a chef and were ordered to prepare a banquet for 100 people, would you start cooking? Of course you wouldn’t. You’d call a professional that could help.

    You wouldn’t feel bad about calling because you’d know you couldn’t do that alone. You wouldn’t know where to begin. This is no different. We can’t know everything about everything and don’t need to. But we can find the experts that make it their life’s work and get their help.

  • Jim Gaudet

    Jim Gaudet

    July 19th, 2009 at 7:46 AM

    That is a true analogy, but we still feel like no one else can fix us, except ourselves. Cooking is different in my mind than dealing with depression.

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