It’s a topic that exists under the radar. The most important thing to do is to first acknowledge that there may be a problem, and more and more males are starting to talk about depression. Dr Joe Kosterich discusses some of the signs of depression, particularly ones seen more in males than in females, and what can be done to treat depression.

Transcript

Okay. Today we’re going to talk about something that affects males and is going to be of interest to all of those who live with, or care about, or have family members who are males. That topic is depression.

Now twenty five years ago you wouldn’t have heard of this at all; doesn’t mean it wasn’t there but you wouldn’t have heard about it. Fortunately today, through a lot of initiatives and better understanding, we know that depression does affect males and more and more males are actually starting to talk about it.

Statistics suggest that as many as one in five people may have a depressive illness through the course of their life. And what we recognize now is that having a depressive illness is pretty much no different to having high blood pressure, diabetes or asthma, or any other condition that you may have that may require some form of treatment.

Okay, when it does come to males though it is still a little bit under the radar. As I said before, much less than before, but there’s still a bit of a reluctance sometimes for males to talk about it. Some males see it as a bit of a threat to their masculinity and some just try to ignore it. It’s important not to do any of those things because depression is very treatable and it’s not just you and it doesn’t mean that you’re less of a man and it doesn’t mean that people will think any less of you.

So what are some of the signs of depression?

There are the obvious ones: feeling bad, feeling sad in yourself, feeling lack of motivation, for some people there’s impaired sleep, some will lose appetite. There’s some other behaviours that we see more in males than females and sometimes these are aggressive and angry behaviours, things like rage, sometimes acts of violence, we see more in males than females and they can be signs of depression.

Turning to substances, and that can be alcohol or sometimes illicit substances, can sometimes be a sign of depression and a call for help. Withdrawing from activities that you normally enjoy.

The first step of course is to go and see your GP and have a chat with them about it. A GP can make a diagnosis and obviously work out whether or not you are depressed. Some of the symptoms we talked about before may just at times be people having a bad day. If it goes for only a day, then that may well be the case – if it’s going on for longer then we may be talking about depression, so you need to see your doctor.

Treatments do divide into as we said, pharmaceutical and non-pharmaceutical. There are a number of different medications that can be used and obviously that’s something, if that’s appropriate for you, your GP and you can have a discussion about.

Other forms of treatment may involve counselling, and there are different forms of that as well. It may be just straight out counselling and that is very helpful for people to get things off their chest and talk about things that may be worrying them or getting them down.

There’s also treatments known as cognitive behavioural therapies and other therapies that can be used to help people get coping strategies and mechanisms. Other forms of treatment can be helpful and these days there are things like art therapy and music therapy. Journaling, writing down your thoughts can be helpful, and sometimes going to self help groups can be useful as well. It’s going to be slightly different things for different people.

So the most important thing is to acknowledge that there may be a problem going on, that you may be suffering from depression. If that’s the case, even if you’re not sure, go along, have a chat with your doctor. That’s the first step. After that, if it turns out that you do have depression, then there’s lots of treatment options available and that will in turn be the first step to you being on the road to recovery.

More information

Depressed man sitting on a bench For more information on the risk factors, symptoms and treatment of depression, see Depression