6 Male Depression Myths Debunked
Jul 26, 2014 (updated Oct 7, 2014)
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Myth: Only women get depressed
Fact: Men get depressed. In fact men may be just as vulnerable to depression as women. It can also hit men hard as evidenced by the fact that male suicides outnumber female suicides by 4 to 1.
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Myth: Men hide depression
Fact: It’s true that some men hide or try to cover up their depression, but plenty don’t. Some popular helplines report that fifty percent of their calls come from men. Men sometimes quite genuinely don't recognize the symptoms of depression in themselves. They may put off seeing the doctor more than women but even when they go their symptoms may be misunderstood.
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Myth: Depression is a sign of emotional weakness
Fact: Dr. Tim Cantopher's book, Depressive Illness: the Curse of the Strong points out that people with depression struggle through pressures others would refuse to take on until physically they can take no more. Depression is like the body blowing a fuse, he says. ‘You have done too much, been too strong and tried too hard for too long . . you are worthy of praise and admiration’.
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Myth: Real men don't get depressed
Fact: Let’s not get caught up with what defines a ‘real man’, because it doesn’t matter to depression. Depression doesn’t discriminate on the basis of intellect, muscle mass, occupation, sexuality or physical prowess.
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Myth: Talking therapies are for women
Fact: Men have to dig deep to find the words they are unaccustomed to using. It’s effortful and embarrassing and if they open up to the wrong person they know they could be on the receiving end of ridicule or disapproval. Talking does help to ease the pain of depression and many men would actually find cognitive therapies helpful because of the goal driven and problem-solving focus.
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Myth: Depression treatments are addictive
Fact: No they aren’t. Psychological therapies are very effective for mild to moderate depression and no drugs are involved. Antidepressants are not addictive either. An addiction requires increasing levels of a substance in order to maintain its effect. Antidepressants are not habit forming.