How To Spot the Symptoms of Depression in Men

September 23, 2022

Nue Life

Nue Life

Men are only half as likely to be diagnosed with depression, but almost four times more likely to die from suicide than women.

So, what exactly does this mean?

One likely explanation for this statistic is that men are much less likely to report depression than women. This hesitancy to talk about mental illness can make it difficult to spot depression in men, but the unfortunate odds are that you have a man in your life who is struggling with or will struggle with depression to some degree.

We want you to become the best support you can be so you can help them on their journey toward healing. Today, we will discuss some tips you can use to spot depression in men.

Does Depression Impact Men Differently?

Men tend to have a different experience with depression than women do. This is not a hard and fast rule, but, in general, depression may express itself externally in men and internally in women.

This means that women are more likely to feel deep sadness or despair, while men are more likely to turn to substance abuse, abusive anger, or attempted suicide.

Men are also more likely to try and cover up their depression by burying themselves in their work. Society tends to encourage overwork and discourage emotional expression in men, so this only makes sense.

What Are the Symptoms of Depression in Men?

Major depressive disorder, and other forms of depression, can express themselves in all sorts of ways in men. The following list contains many of the different possible depression symptoms, but not all men will experience all of them when they have depression. Depression expresses itself differently in every man.

It’s important to remember that you can overcome these symptoms and find healing from depression. You don’t have to suffer in silence.

By understanding the following symptoms, you can pick up on some of the warning signs of depression, either in yourself or in those around you.

Feelings of Sadness and Hopelessness

When you think about depression, you may think about feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness. With depression, the sadness is persistent and can be difficult to shake.

It can be hard to find hope or see purpose in the future. Depression is a mood disorder, and it can drastically affect your feelings and emotions, keeping you in a state of emptiness or numbness for extended periods.

Extreme Tiredness or Fatigue

Depression can also cause physical symptoms such as a severe lack of energy. When men are depressed, they may not find the energy to engage in activities like they used to.

Oversleeping or Having Trouble Sleeping

A depressed person may also experience unhealthy changes in their sleep cycle. It’s different for everybody. Some people might sleep for incredibly long hours each night, sleeping through their alarm.

Others may experience insomnia, with their depressed feelings causing an inability to sleep.

Loss of Interest in Activities

Depression can also cause men to lose interest in work or hobbies they previously enjoyed. This could be their job, a sport, music, or any other activity they engage in regularly.


Escapism is common in men who experience depression. When you’re depressed, it might feel easier to escape from your sad feelings rather than confront them. This is why many men might become workaholics when they are depressed.

Substance Abuse

Another form of escapism is substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol offer a short-term, momentary solution that is hollow and unsubstantial. But regardless, many men still turn to substances as an attempt to help them manage their depression.

Aggressive Behavior

Depression in men tends to show externally. Often this can present in the form of aggressive behavior. Men might try to combat feelings of loss of control or numbness by asserting dominance with aggressive behavior.

Inappropriate Anger

Some men might also find themselves more easily angered, but it goes beyond just irritability. Small situations could cause intense anger, even when that feeling isn’t justified.


Depressed men may also turn to reckless behavior when they are depressed. Some turn to sources of adrenaline to feel something. But this sort of risky behavior often puts men in danger and is very unhealthy.

How Is Male Depression Treated?

Male depression may be treated slightly differently than female depression. Different treatments tend to be more or less effective, depending on the situation.

Let’s go through some treatment options and discuss how effective they are for depression in men.


These medications are one of the most common methods of treating depression. Common antidepressant medications, like SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors), are regularly prescribed to both men and women dealing with depression.

But antidepressants are not necessarily as effective as you might suspect. One study found that antidepressants are only effective in about 20% of people. This leaves a large portion of the population still struggling to find relief.

The issue of ineffective antidepressants gets worse when it comes to men. Multiple studies have found that men don’t respond to antidepressants as well as women do.

For these reasons, antidepressants might not be the best treatment for a depressed man.


Psychotherapy can be an effective treatment for men. There are various types of therapy out there, from cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) to psychodynamic therapy, and they all show some effectiveness in treating depression.

However, for more severe cases of depression, therapy might not be enough. Although it can help you wrestle with the roots of your depression, a man might still need additional medical assistance to find effective healing.

Ketamine Therapy

Another, more innovative treatment for depression is ketamine therapy. Ketamine was originally created as an anesthetic but has now been shown to be an effective option for relieving depression.

Ketamine boosts the neurotransmitter glutamate, supporting your brain’s neuroplasticity and allowing you to form new and positive thought patterns and neurological pathways.

This treatment has been shown to be incredibly effective for men. One study on ketamine and depression, done exclusively with male patients, found that ketamine reduced symptoms of depression quickly and effectively.

For people who see no effects from antidepressants, ketamine therapy may be able to provide that much-needed relief.

How Can I Help a Depressed Loved One?

There are many things you can do to be a part of the healing your loved one needs. But first, it’s important to remember that you are not their therapist. Leave their treatment to medical professionals. Your job is to be a powerful and loving support system throughout the process.


Take the time to hear about your loved one’s experiences. With men, it may be tough to get them to talk about their feelings, so you may have to take the role of an active listener. Ask poignant questions to get them talking, and then sit back and absorb what they have to say.

Be There for Them

Many men simply just need somebody to be there for them. Knowing that somebody is in your corner can make an incredible difference in a man’s mental health. Sometimes all they need is someone to stick by their side.

Encourage Them To Get Help

One of the most important things you can do for a man struggling with depression is encouraging them to seek treatment. Many men don’t acknowledge their depression and may not seek treatment, making the depression worse.

Helping them find quality treatment for depression is one of the best things you can do to help them on their journey to healing.

Help With Daily Tasks

You can also help them with daily tasks. Many depressed men find it difficult to find the energy to do chores and take care of themselves. Helping them do chores can make a big difference.

Watch Out for Worsening Symptoms

It’s important to be alert and pay attention to their symptoms. Being in touch with how they’re doing will help you to know how to best help them at a given moment.

Why Does Male Depression Often Go Unnoticed?

A common reason why depression goes unnoticed in men is that many men don’t talk about it. Many parts of our culture paint emotions as a sign of weakness. Many men might not want to be seen as weak or ask for help, so they don’t say anything.

It is important to remind the men in your life that being open about your emotions is not a sign of weakness. Rather, it is a sign of great strength. Putting in the work to overcome emotional battles is incredibly difficult, which shows fortitude.

So remind your male loved ones that it is okay to tell people if they’re struggling and that it is important to tell somebody, especially when it comes to a medical condition like depression.

What Coping Skills Can Help Male Depression?

To better our mental health and begin the path toward healing, men need to develop quality coping skills that can help them handle their depression.

Setting Goals

Men are often goal-oriented creatures. They thrive in an environment focused on completing clearly defined tasks, so setting goals is a great practice.

If you’re a man struggling with depression, write down your goals and give yourself a realistic timeline to achieve them. Your mental health goals, career goals, and hobby goals are all great examples.

Seeking Support

It’s also incredibly healthy to seek support. Friends, family, and loved ones can provide emotional support and an empathetic ear to help a man work through his depression.

Engaging in Hobbies

Taking up a hobby or re-engaging with an old pastime is a great way to cope with depression. Picking up an old sport, going hiking with friends, or fishing are great hobbies that can engage the body and help to free the mind.

Hobbies are a great way to inject a little bit of happiness into your life in a healthy way.

Focusing on Your Health

Men also need to take time to rest and practice self-care. It’s okay to slow down and take some time to relax, do something fun, or just do nothing. Mental health takes time and energy, and you must take the time to care for yourself.

The Bottom Line

While mainly discussed in terms of women, depression can also have devastating effects on men. Signs of poor mental health in men include tiredness, sadness, substance abuse, and recklessness.

Depression is a mental illness that you can overcome. It affects many men, but with help, a support system, and quality treatment like ketamine therapy, men can find the healing they deserve.

Treatment at Nue Life

Nue Life believes in holistic treatment, which means that what happens before and after your ketamine experience is equally as important as the experience itself. We want to ensure you have meaningful takeaways from your experiences and help you establish positive new neural pathways.

That’s why we provide one-on-one health coaching and integration group sessions with each of our programs. We’re here to help map out the mind and body connections in your brain and help you discover the insights that lead to true healing.


Depression: How effective are antidepressants? | Informed Health

Efficacy of ketamine therapy in the treatment of depression | Indian Journal of Psychiatry

How New Ketamine Drug Helps with Depression | Yale Medicine

A Hypothesis of Gender Differences in Self-Reporting Symptom of Depression: Implications to Solve Under-Diagnosis and Under-Treatment of Depression in Males | Frontiers In

Men: A Different Depression | American Psychological Association

Sex differences in the psychopharmacological treatment of depression | Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience

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