June 19, 2015
Mental health has become a major topic and area of concern, especially among men. Studies show men are much more likely than women to suffer from undiagnosed depression. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the suicide rate among men is four times higher than among women.
“Men tend to minimize symptoms in general, and this happens frequently with mental health issues,” says Dean & St. Mary’s Family Medicine physician Dr. David Shearer.
“Because depression and anxiety have a lot of physical symptoms, sometimes that’s the only way to tell that they may be suffering from a mental health issue.”
Those physical symptoms include fatigue, changes in sleep patterns, increasing aches or pains, a racing heart rate, tremors and changes in appetite or weight.
Dr. Shearer shares other warning signs of mental health issues:
- Avoiding social activities;
- Not participating in recreational pastimes they used to enjoy;
- Being more grumpy or moody with family members or coworkers;
- Experiencing frustration;
- Finding it hard to focus at work;
- Increasing use of alcohol or recreational drugs.
Dr. Shearer says anyone seeing these physical symptoms or warning signs in their male family members should encourage them to see their doctor.
“Sometimes, it is helpful to not use words like ‘depression’ or ‘anxiety’ to get men to be seen,” he says. “A better route would be to mention that a doctor may be able to help with those physical symptoms and urge them to come in for evaluation.”