26
Nov

Depression and Anxiety in Men

Depression and anxiety are not just disorders that affect women. Men, too, can experience depression and anxiety. However, the way these disorders present themselves is often different because of the differences between the sexes. 

Anxiety and depression are often viewed as emotional problems by men. As a result, they are less likely to seek help when they are feeling depressed or anxious. They usually will deny that anything is wrong, let alone admit there is a problem.

Why Men Attempt to Hide Depression and Anxiety

Men are less likely to show any type of vulnerability, especially those related to depression and anxiety, even when they suffer from either mental health disorder. This is because men are ingrained from an early age that showing emotion is a sign of weakness.

Furthermore, displays of weakness call into question one’s masculinity. So, if a man seeks help for depression or anxiety or admits openly that they are depressed or anxious, they are often unfairly viewed as being “less of a man.” 

As a result, men attempt to mask their symptoms. They often downplay the seriousness of these conditions by saying they are just tired, have a headache, or had a stressful day at work and just need time to unwind and relax.

Some of the common symptoms to watch for that could indicate depression or anxiety in men include:

  • Muscle Soreness
  • Muscle Aches
  • Muscle Tension in the Upper Back and Neck
  • Headaches
  • Short Temper
  • Irritability 
  • Insomnia
  • Feeling Angry All the Time for No Reason

Please keep in mind that these symptoms could also indicate other types of medical and mental health problems. 

How Men Cope with Depression and Anxiety

Most men develop self-treatment methods to help cope with depression and anxiety, such as:

Exercise

Some men visit the gym daily for workout sessions to help alleviate associated symptoms. In addition, physical fitness can increase the release of dopamine – the “feel good” chemical released by the brain’s reward center. 

As a result, working out is reinforced by the good feelings men experience post-workout with a reduction in depression and anxiety symptoms. However, while physical fitness is essential to remaining healthy, regular workouts may not be sufficient for men with more severe cases of depression and anxiety.

Drinking

Another way men cope with depression and anxiety is by drinking alcohol. Alcohol is both a stimulant and depressant, depending on the amount consumed. In smaller amounts, alcohol also causes an increase in the release of dopamine. As dopamine is released, it helps men relax and unwind. Since men feel better, drinking is reinforced as a rewarding behavior. 

Furthermore, most men will drink together and find drinking to be socially acceptable. As such, men that suffer from depression and anxiety rely on drinking rather than seeking help or admitting they have a mental health disorder. 

Drugs

Using drugs is yet another way men will self-treat anxiety and depression. They may experiment with prescription stimulants or prescription pain relievers obtained from others to help alleviate symptoms associated with these mental health disorders.

Other men may smoke marijuana because they find the drug relaxes them and takes the edge off. Unfortunately, marijuana use can lead to trying more potent illicit substances, such as cocaine, heroin, or meth.

How Can Self-Treating Depression and Anxiety Lead to Addiction

Addiction can result from the continued reinforcement of behaviors that help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. For instance, when one drinks or uses drugs and feels better, they will want to drink or use drugs more often.

However, there is a downside to this because the more one drinks or uses drugs, the more the body develops a tolerance to the substances. As tolerance builds, one must consume larger volumes of alcohol or drugs to experience the same feelings they once did. 

In the end, self-treating depression and anxiety with alcohol or drugs spirals out of control. Eventually, men can find that they need to drink or use drugs just to survive. When they reach this point, this is when addiction has taken hold. 

It is worth mentioning that when we talk about addiction, most men assume we are referring to alcohol and drug addiction. However, there are other types of addictive behaviors that could develop when self-treating depression and anxiety.

For example, working out can become addictive. While it is not a harmful addiction like drugs and alcohol, one can exhibit addictive symptoms, such as needing to work out daily just to function or experiencing withdrawal symptoms if one cannot exercise. So, seeking help for your depression or anxiety is highly recommended. 

Depression, Anxiety, and Addiction Treatment for Men in Dallas

Suppose you are self-treating your depression and anxiety and have developed an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or something else. In that case, it is essential to treat the addiction and your depression or anxiety.

Here at Casa Colina in Dallas, we offer dual-diagnosis treatment programs customized to your specific needs and objectives. In addition, we provide you with a caring and supportive environment just for men to help you overcome your addiction and mental health disorder. Please feel free to contact us through our online form or call us for further information about our depression, anxiety, and addiction treatment programs for men today!

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