In addition to the below risk factors, there are other theories as to why men are at a greater risk of not seeking mental health assistance.
It is important that friends and family support their loved one and encourage him to visit a doctor or mental health professional for an evaluation. Men often avoid addressing their feelings and, in many cases, friends and family members are the first to recognize that their loved one is depressed.
Because men who are depressed may appear to be angry or aggressive instead of sad, their families, friends, and even doctors may not always recognize the anger or aggression as depression symptoms. In addition, men are less likely to recognize, talk about, and seek treatment for depression. The most common symptoms of depression are:
In 2017, death by suicide occurred 3.54 times more often among men. Not every attempt at suicide results in completion, although unsuccessful first attempts are often followed by successful second attempts. The most common risk factors for suicide are:
Domestic violence (also called intimate partner violence (IPV), domestic abuse or relationship abuse), is a pattern of behaviors used by one partner to maintain power and control over another partner in an intimate relationship. Domestic violence does not discriminate. Anyone of any race, age, sexual orientation, religion or gender can be a victim – or perpetrator – of domestic violence.
Ongoing homophobia, stigma (negative and usually unfair beliefs), and discrimination (unfairly treating a person or group of people) can have negative effects on your health. Research also shows that, compared to other men, gay and bisexual men have higher chances of having:
Gay and bisexual men may also face other health threats that usually happen along with mental health problems. These include more use of illegal drugs and a greater risk for suicide. Gay and bisexual men are more likely than other men to have tried to commit suicide as well as to have succeeded at suicide. HIV is another issue that has had a huge impact on the mental health of gay and bisexual men. It affects men who are living with HIV; those who are at high risk, but HIV negative; and loved ones of those living with, or who have died from HIV.
Keeping your sexual orientation hidden from others (being “in the closet”) and fear of having your sexual orientation disclosed (being “outed”) can add to the stress of being gay or bisexual. In general, research has shown that gay and bisexual men who are open about their sexual orientation with others have better health outcomes than gay and bisexual men who do not. However, being “out” in some settings and to people who react negatively can add to the stress experienced by gay and bisexual men, and can lead to poorer mental health and discrimination.
Bipolar Disorder, formerly called manic depression, is a mental health condition that causes extreme mood swings that include emotional highs (mania or hypomania) and lows (depression). When one becomes depressed, they may feel sad or hopeless and lose interest or pleasure in most activities. When one's mood shifts to mania or hypomania (less extreme than mania), they may feel euphoric, full of energy or unusually irritable. These mood swings can affect sleep, energy, activity, judgment, behavior and the ability to think clearly. Episodes of mood swings may occur rarely or multiple times a year. While most will experience some emotional symptoms between episodes, some may not experience any. Although bipolar disorder is a lifelong condition, one can manage their mood swings and other symptoms by following a treatment plan. In most cases, bipolar disorder is treated with medications and psychological counseling (psychotherapy).
The most common types of bipolar disorder are:
Scientists have not yet discovered a single cause of bipolar disorder. Currently, they believe several factors may contribute, including:
The most common symptoms of a bipolar disorder are:
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a disorder marked by an ongoing pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity-impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development.
Some men with ADHD are more likely to have work problems — trouble getting along with others at the job; quitting (out of hostility toward the workplace or out of boredom); being disciplined; and getting fired. Many men define themselves in large part by their work. For them, job difficulties lead to shame and depression. Even when men excel, low self-esteem and ADHD symptoms may make it tough to hold a job.
Emotional dysregulation, responding quickly and intensely to stimuli, is a core characteristic of ADHD. Some men have anger-management issues and our society accepts raging men. The result is that fewer men with ADHD see their anger and rage as a problem. In fact, a good number of men use their rage as a legitimate way to get a partner to back off, and blame their partner for their outbursts.
Research suggests that men have greater difficulty recovering from conflict. Their blood pressure remains elevated after conflict, and they have more trouble calming themselves. Conflict feels physically uncomfortable, so men tend to avoid it. Men with ADHD may feel bombarded with constant critiques of their underperformance at home and at work. The struggle to become reliable in the face of distraction and planning problems causes many men to retreat from conflict. This may lead to cover-up behavior, like lying, and being emotionally distant.
There are three different types of ADHD, depending on which types of symptoms are strongest in the individual:
Scientists are studying cause(s) and risk factors in an effort to find better ways to manage and reduce the chances of a person having ADHD. The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Research does not support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos. In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including:
Men with symptoms of inattention may often:
Men with symptoms of hyperactivity-impulsivity may often:
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after you have been through a trauma. A trauma is a shocking and dangerous event that you see or that happens to you. During this type of event, you think that your life or others' lives are in danger. The symptoms of PTSD usually occur within a month after experiencing a traumatic event. However, in some cases, symptoms may not appear until years later.
PTSD can happen to anyone. It is not a sign of weakness. A number of factors can increase the chance that someone will develop PTSD, many of which are not under that person's control. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.
Anxiety is a broad term for a variety of disorders. While excessive fear and worry is at the heart of the disorder, it may manifest and be triggered in several ways. The most common types have constant, uncontrollable fear that interferes with their lives. Anxiety manifests itself in many ways, from general anxiety disorder to social anxiety disorder, making it the most common type of mental illness in the U.S.. The condition is highly treatable, but the majority of men who experience anxiety don't receive treatment, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.
The most common types of Anxiety are:
Mental health professionals aren’t sure what actually causes anxiety. But studies suggest several factors combined may contribute to the illness. These include:
Schizophrenia is characterized by thoughts or experiences that seem out of touch with reality, disorganized speech or behavior, and decreased participation in daily activities. Although it is a serious disorder of the mind and brain, it is also highly treatable especially when treatment is available and started early. Currently there is no cure, you can treat and manage it with medication, self-help strategies, and supportive therapies. The exact causes are still unknown but research suggests a combination of physical, genetic, psychological and environmental factors can make it more likely to develop the condition. Men who do develop schizophrenia do so with the average age of onset being around 18. One of the most easily avoided factors linked to the development of schizophrenia are brain-altering street drugs like marijuana and cannabis.
The most common early warning signs include:
Common misconceptions about Schizophrenia:
Research indicates that many men engage in substance abuse in response to stressful life transitions including unemployment and divorce. Indeed, almost 50 percent of marriages end in divorce. Many men report negative experience in family courts, with data suggesting that only about 1 in 6 men have custody of their children, often with minimal visitation rights. This separation and loss can be soul-destroying for a man, again leaving him isolated and alienated from mainstream society. As such, substance abuse may be a maladaptive response to a bitter situation.
Substance abuse, also known as drug abuse, is use of a drug in amounts or by methods which are harmful to the individual or others. Drugs most often associated with this term are: