Many women experience a “change of life”—the transition from their forties to menopause—as a time of emotional upheaval. But for some, it is also a period marred by depression.
Now, however, research suggests that men may be at equal risk for developing depressive symptoms in middle age too.
The findings are noteworthy because they run counter to the classical view of depression as a disease that is more common in women than in men. According to this traditional view, major depression is “a disorder of women” because so many more women are afflicted by it than men.
But people have been rethinking this premise for several years now. More experts noted that recent epidemiological studies show that although women are more likely than men to be clinically depressed, the difference “is not as great as people thought.”
Other studies have shown that once depression is diagnosed, men and women tend to present with similar symptoms. Still, others suggest that biological mechanisms common to both sexes may predispose them to depression.
5 Ways Men Can Manage Depression
How can then men cope with depression? If you are one of them experiencing symptoms, these tips could be helpful for you:
1. Don’t Try to Deal with It on Your Own
Depression is a mental illness that needs the help of healthcare professionals. If you are feeling depressed because of your work or relationship, don’t just deal with it on your own. Talk to a professional. They can help you by diagnosing the condition and prescribing treatment. Treatment for depression may include medication, therapy, or both.
Together, you can explore both tried-and-tested and experimental options to help you manage your condition. For example, they might try cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), which works by modifying thinking and behavior patterns. In therapy, you can also improve your coping skills and give yourself a sense of purpose in life.
You can also discuss an IV infusion therapy with ketamine. Ketamine is an anesthetic that is currently being used off-label to treat symptoms of depression. It can create changes in sensory perception, so you can feel a sense of detachment.
2. Manage Your Stress
Stress doesn’t cause depression, but it can worsen the symptoms. If you are feeling stressed out, find ways to relax. You can start with simple tasks like writing in a journal or relaxing with your favorite drink. It’s also important that you take time for fun and hang out with friends more often.
Exercising regularly is also another way to deal with stress. When you sleep, you can restore your body and mind. You may also want to limit your caffeine intake, especially in the evening. Drinking too much caffeine can keep you up at night and further affect your mood the next day.
3. Get Support from Your Loved Ones
Depression is a mental illness that can affect not only your physical health but also your relationships with other people. While you are going through a difficult time, reach out to those who care for you. Take a break from the things you’re doing and just spend time with your family.
You can also join a social activity group. You can join your neighborhood book club or start a new project at work. This activity might also help you get back on track and give you some fulfillment.
Talk to friends and family members about how you’re feeling. It’s important to limit your isolation and let your loved ones help you. You can also volunteer for a local charity. Volunteering for a cause that you believe in can give you a sense of purpose.
4. Do the Bare Minimum
When you’re depressed, everything can seem like a chore. What’s worse is that even basic tasks such as eating, showering, and going to work may become insurmountable to-dos.
While it may be difficult for you to muster the energy or motivation to complete these everyday activities sometimes, it will do you good if you could just make the minimum effort to get by.
Doing the bare minimum can also help you avoid getting back into bed, which will only prolong your recovery. Just understand that it’s okay if you don’t do everything perfectly or on time. As long as you’re doing your best and taking care of yourself, everything else will follow in due time.
5. Take Care of Your Body
When you’re stressed out and depressed, it’s easy to neglect your body. But this isn’t a good time to take things lying down. Treat yourself well as you deal with the challenges of depression.
Maintain a healthy lifestyle by eating right and exercising regularly even when you’re depressed. Exercise can help you boost your mood and sleep better, which in turn will help ease the symptoms of depression.
You might find this hard to believe but even small changes such as taking a walk or yoga can make a big difference. You may also want to gradually work yourself up from physical activities such as walking and swimming so that it becomes easier for you to move around.
If you’re living with depression, remember that there are resources available to help. While it may not be easy to feel better sometimes, recovery is possible.