While depression is a common illness that affects both genders, recent research has found middle-aged men to be the most affected.
Surprisingly, the telltale signs of this illness often tend to be overlooked, especially among the male population. And since women generally report cases of being depressed, their diagnosis and treatment are often easier than for middle-aged men.
Experiencing depression and keeping quiet about it can only distract you from living a normal, healthy life. It may lead to a breakup of your marriage, loss of job, excessive drinking or use of drugs and thoughts of suicide as well. To avoid all these negative effects, you need to watch out for the signs and symptoms of depression.
Here are 5 common symptoms of depression:
1. Anger and Irritability
Depression can be caused by a host of many things including marital/relationship problems, death of a loved one, constant money problems, prolonged work stress or long-term isolation. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms then you are most likely to suffer from irritability and uncontrolled anger. That’s because anger and outbursts are mostly ways of scorning vulnerability to depression. So if you become angry and start throwing things or yelling at other people even on trivial matters, that might be a sign that you’re depressed.
2. Distractive or Escapist Behaviour
While it’s perfectly okay to engage in distractive activities when you’re suffering from low mood, it can become a big problem if the distractions become addictive or prevent you from living a normal life. When depressed, you may resort to engaging in a number of activities including watching TV, playing video games, web-surfing, watching pornography or masturbating.
Overindulging in any of these activities when feeling low or empty can possibly lead to increased depression levels. Hence you should seek professional help at the first instance you discover overdependence on these activities.
3. Increased Dependence on Alcohol and Other Substances
When suffering from prolonged low mood, you are more likely to turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication. A little booze may trigger pleasure and alter your mood but won’t work well, especially when you’re trying to blunt your despondent feelings. Once you get used to boosting your mood using a couple of beers, it’ll soon become a dangerous habit that will be hard to quit.
So if you realize you’re taking alcohol or using other substances more than you usually do, that could be a clear sign you’re suffering from depression.
4. Sulking Combined With Aloofness
When depression takes a toll on you, you are most likely to be silent, bad-tempered and socially aloof. Even in the company of people, you’ll appear to be in low mood and might portray irritable emotions.
Everyone usually has bad days but the sadness that comes with depression is usually severe. That’s mostly because it combines or comes with a set of other crippling symptoms like fatigue, irritability, physical pain, loss of appetite and more.
5. Decreased Sex Drive
Uh Oh! A decreased sex drive is usually among the earliest symptoms you can experience when depressed. That can be attributed to limbic impairment and/or blunted dopamine sensitivity.
Depression is also linked to decreased testosterone production, something that could explain the low sex drive. In the event you feel you don’t want to get intimate with your partner because you’re feeling low, it might be time to seek professional counseling.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you might be suffering from depression. But it’s not a big deal and it’s reversible with some effort and assistance.
Most pressing for you is to honestly look at your mood and behaviors and honestly face the idea that you might be suffering from depression because what can’t be seen, can’t be fixed.
I know, you’re a tough guy. Me too. But this is one thing that’s pretty damn hard to white knuckle through. Just man up and go talk to somebody.