Symptoms of depression differ for men and women

Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression in Men:

  • Feeling hopeless and helpless
  • Loss of interest in work, friends, activities, and things you used to enjoy
  • Feeling much more irritable, short-tempered, or aggressive than usual
  • Consuming more alcohol, engaging in reckless behavior, or self-medicating
  • Feeling restless and agitated
  • Sleep and appetite has changed
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Having difficulty concentrating or productivity at work has declined
  • Unable to control negative thoughts
  • Recurrent thoughts of death, recurrent suicidal ideation without a plan, or a suicide attempt or suicide plan

Sometimes depression can show up as physical symptoms as well, such as backaches, frequent headaches, sexual dysfunction, or digestive disorders.

Depression is a treatable health condition. If you are noticing signs and symptoms of depression, it is important to seek help immediately as the consequences of untreated depression can be fatal. 

Treatment for Depression in Men:

People may pursue therapy or take medication to treat their depression, but research suggests that a combination of both is the best route for many people.

Ways to Improve Your Mood:

  • Join a men’s group or support group for depression
  • Talking to someone (who is a good listener) about your feelings
  • Help others by volunteering, or doing something nice for someone
  • Take care of a pet
  • Get a good amount of sleep, aim for 8 hours per night
  • Destress by learning relaxation techniques
  • Exercise about 30 minutes each day and spend time outside in the sun
  • Practice mindfulness
  • Eat a healthy balanced diet
  • Identify the type of negative thoughts that are fueling your depression (counselling can help with identifying these negative thoughts)

How to Support a Man with Depression:

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are many ways to support your loved one.

  • Engage him in conversation and listen carefully. Do not disparage the feelings he expresses, but do point out realities and offer hope.
  • Do not ignore remarks about suicide. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255.
  • Invite him for walks, outings, and other activities. Be gently insistent if your invitation is refused.
  • Encourage participation in activities that once gave pleasure, such as hobbies, sports, or cultural activities, but do not push him to undertake too much too soon.
  • Do not expect him ‘to snap out of it.’ Instead, keep reassuring him that, with time and help, he will feel better.
  • You may need to monitor whether he is taking prescribed medication or attending therapy. Encourage him to follow orders about the use of alcohol if he’s prescribed antidepressants.
  • Remember, you can’t “fix” someone else’s depression. You’re not to blame for your loved one’s depression or responsible for his happiness. Ultimately, recovery is in his hands.


Blog post by Vanessa Amundson, Volunteer.