Men don’t feel emotional pain. At least that’s how we were taught. The reality is that men can be depressed, anxious, and suicidal. Mental illness in men is an alarming topic and we need to pay more attention to the signs during Men’s Mental Health Month.
Mental illnesses in men
Mental illness in men is a public health problem that affects millions of men around the world, and yet it is a silent epidemic desperately begging for attention. Adult men, especially men in their 50s, suffer from a range of mental disorders, but they choose to remain silent. As men, our self-esteem and self-esteem are closely related to what society considers success –
Ability to provide for the family
But nobody talks about the sacrifices men should make to seek those goals, how fierce the competition can be for them, and the toll it takes on their mental health. When ordinary, hard-working, decent men fail to meet our society’s impossibly high standards of masculinity and success, they are shamed and despised. This failure can lead to signs in men that they have mental health problems.
A 2022 study states, “Too often, many men don’t talk about feeling down, sad, or depressed, and they don’t even get to mention emotional or behavioral difficulties.” But even if they do voice their problems, go it’s not about their feelings, but about “functional issues” like performance at work. Therefore, we need to pay more attention to recognizing men’s mental health symptoms and encouraging them to seek medical help.
Signs that men suffer from mental health problems
Although men and women can suffer from the same mental disorders, the signs of them in men can be very different from those in women. The 5 most important signs are
1. Dramatic mood swings
A man suffering from a mental illness is likely to experience extremely high and/or low mood levels accompanied by high and/or low energy levels. Such extreme mood swings are common in most mental illnesses.
2. Severe anxiety
When a person is struggling with a mental illness, they are likely to experience excessive anxiety, worry, and fear. Coupled with overthinking and intrusive thoughts, paranoia is also common among men with mental disorders.
3. Persistent sadness
One of the most common signs that men are suffering from mental health problems is prolonged sadness. They are often associated with depression and related illnesses, and feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, emptiness, and irritability are common.
4. Changes in appetite and/or sleep
Men struggling with mental illness often experience dramatic changes in their appetite: they eat either less or more than they used to. Their sleeping habits may also change drastically, or they may have trouble sleeping.
5. Social withdrawal
Social isolation and withdrawal are among the most commonly observed signs that men have mental health problems. They may avoid socializing or interacting with others, become increasingly shy and withdrawn, and may even self-isolate by even avoiding contact with loved ones.
Other signs that men are mentally ill
In addition, there are other signs that a man has mental health issues that you can look out for. Some of these are listed below.
- Strong stress
- Aggression or uncontrollable anger
- Difficulty concentrating or being easily distracted
- Intrusive or obsessive thoughts
- Lack of interest in life
- Inability to experience positive feelings
- tiredness or exhaustion
- Physical symptoms such as body aches, headaches, digestive problems, etc. with no apparent cause
- Feelings of guilt, inadequacy, or worthlessness
- Compulsive or compulsive behaviors
- delusions and/or hallucinations
- restlessness or nervousness
- Talking too much or too fast
- Risky or reckless behavior such as gambling, spending sprees, or unsafe love
- Drug or alcohol abuse
- Self-harm or suicidal thoughts
Unrecognized signs that a man has mental problems
In addition to the above signs of mental health problems in men, there may be other symptoms that cannot be formally recognized by mental health professionals. This can include
- Escapist behaviors such as B. Spending too much time with friends or playing video games or sports
- Being abusive or controlling in a relationship
- Getting angry easily, being rude, or showing inappropriate anger
- You drink more than usual or experiment with drugs
- Avoiding work, family responsibilities, and/or other responsibilities
- Make grand plans
- inability to function normally
- Unusual or uncharacteristic behavior
- Illogical thinking
- Low love drive
- refusal to get help
Signs that men in their 50s have mental health problems
Although mental health problems can occur in men of any age, men in their 50s are particularly at risk of developing psychiatric disorders. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ( CDC ), over 20% of people age 55 and older are prone to some form of mental illness, such as severe cognitive impairment, bipolar disorder, mood disorders, and anxiety. In fact, older men have the highest suicide rate of any age group,” the CDC report said.
Several factors can contribute to the development of mental illness in older men, e.g. B. Changes in the structure of their brains, decreased attention, poor memory, and lower testosterone levels. Also, hormonal and mental changes in men over the age of 50 can lead to a range of mental health problems.
Aside from the above symptoms, some common signs of mental health problems in men in their 50s are:
- Increased stress
- anxiety states
- low mood
- low energy
- Decreased self-confidence
- Decreased motivation
- Altered appetite
- Insomnia or difficulty sleeping
- difficulty concentrating
- Erectile dysfunction
- Get physical weakness on you
- suicidal thoughts
Men and Mental Health: A Silent Crisis
Men’s mental health is a topic we prefer to avoid. We don’t want our men to get weakness on you, be weak, vulnerable, and in pain. Societal stereotypes dictate that men should be strong and stoic, not depressed and suicidal. But the reality is very different from what our society wants to see or believe.
A recent 2018 study found that 75% of substance use disorder (SUD) cases and 75% of suicide cases are in men. Researchers also found that mental disorders classified as neurodevelopmental disorders tend to be more common in men. Various other psychiatric disorders are also more common in men, e.g. B.
- conduct disorder (CD)
- Disorders of the disorder and impulse control
- Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
But does that mean our men get weakness on you? no Instead, what matters is that men are stronger than we think. When it comes to signs of mental health problems in men, researchers have found that there is a certain “unrecognized male depressive syndrome” that resembles masked depression.
While women with depression “play along” in coping with their mental illness, men tend to “act out” rather than show visible signs of it. This “acting out” often includes high levels of alcohol and drug abuse, dangerous risk-taking, poor impulse control, and increased anger and irritability,” the researchers explain.
In fact, studies show that boys and men are at greater risk of “externalizing” their problems – by
- Aggressive and risk-taking behavior
- violence against people and animals
- destruction of property
- irritability and hostility
- escape behavior
- substance abuse
- oppositional defiance
- Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- Antisocial Personality Disorder
- Poor quality of relationships
- Social withdrawal or isolation
Such behaviors, rather than sharing their feelings or crying, are what men have been taught as “dominant notions of masculinity.” These behaviors help men hide their depression, loneliness, sadness, and isolation, which can eventually become pathological. In fact, researchers found that when it comes to coping with anxiety or depression, men are more likely than women to engage in substance abuse.
Sadly, “men kill themselves far more often than women do, even though they suffer far less from depression.” No, it’s not a competition between men and women. But there is an urgent need for awareness of men’s mental health. Because the signs of it are hidden in men, experts consider it a “silent crisis” that isn’t properly addressed.
Stigma exacerbates mental health problems in men
Some researchers are beginning to believe that mental illness in men is a “silent killer” and not just a crisis. This is due to social stigma. It is a strong and powerful obstacle for men who want to seek treatment for mental illness. Traditional male norms and culture affect not only women but men as well. They define what men and masculinity should look like and force men with mental illness to hide their symptoms. As a result, their friends and family may not recognize the signs and encourage people to seek medical help.
The stigma attached to mental health, either socially or professionally, leads to “negative attitudes and rejection of a person or group suffering from mental illness based on the misconception that the symptoms of mental illness are due to a weak character of a person,” explain the researchers. Such negative attitudes lead to –
- Mental Illness Discrimination in Men
Self-perceived stigma also affects men struggling with mental health issues, discouraging them from speaking out about them or seeking help out of shame and guilt. The sad truth is that our cultural norms and standards of masculinity drive men with mental illness to their deaths. Rather than focusing on identifying the signs of mental health issues in men or raising awareness about men’s mental health, we’re here to help you seek help.
Men are meant to be aggressive and rough, they are not expected to express their feelings or cry. And if you do, you’ll be immediately labeled a “wuss.” However, if we are still to hold on to these toxic masculinity norms, the signs of mental health problems in men will only worsen and result in—
- A higher level of mental stress
- Severe anxiety and depression
- substance abuse
- Relationship problems and problems with intimacy
- loss of hope
- Bad self-esteem
- threat to physical health
- discouragement from seeking medical help
Stigma and discrimination against men’s mental health can actually increase the morbidity and mortality rates of men with psychiatric disorders.
We need to look at masculinity differently
Studies show that “Compared to women, men are less likely to seek help for mental health problems.” Men have negative attitudes towards seeking mental health help as it is seen as “unmanly.” Although a mentally ill man can seek help with the physical symptoms of mental illness, chances are he will avoid the emotional symptoms entirely. It gets worse when they try to self-medicate by consuming larger amounts of alcohol and other substances.
Because of this, we need to redefine masculinity and masculinity. We must learn to recognize the signs of mental health problems in men and encourage those affected to get the help they need and deserve. We need to normalize talking about men’s mental health so more men feel comfortable speaking up about their issues and seeking professional help.
It’s okay to have mental health issues and it’s okay to seek help, whether you’re male, female, or the opposite gender that you identify as.
It is time for us to change as a society. As people. And as men.