In a recent study, researchers have observed that while depression was regarded as a ‘woman’s disease’, men also suffer from this disorder. This answers the question; why men are four times more likely to commit suicide than women.
Depression can be different looking in men and women and most symptoms can remain hidden from plain sight. Researchers said that when symptoms in men are properly diagnosed, it could well be that men suffer from major depression much more in magnitude than women.
This clearly overturns long-standing statistics that women are seventy percent more likely to suffer major depression in their lifetime than men. Dr. Andrew Leuchter, Psychiatrist at UCLA has stated that we put on blinders and disregard depression in men. Dr. Leuchter said that bias in what we know and how we define depression could have fostered the thought that depression is a woman's disease and men do not need help for emotional suffering.
Researchers from Vanderbilt University and University of Michigan have now designed two checklists in order to help diagnose depression in women and men with higher accuracy. The list includes symptoms like aggression, anger attack, hyperactivity, substance-abuse, risk-taking tendency apart from widely known symptoms like sleep disorder, feeling of worthlessness or guilt, sadness or disinterest in pleasurable activities.
Researchers devised two scales; 'gender-neutral scale' and 'male symptom scale'. Results of tests conducted on approximately 5,700 American adults, of whom 41 percent were male for these diagnostic criteria were analyzed. On 'gender inclusive depression scale' in which widely recognized depression symptoms and symptoms mostly seen in men were included; 30.6 percent men and 33.3 percent women were reported to have experienced depression at some point. On the 'male symptom scale', 26.3 percent men and 21.9 percent women were reported to have experienced depression at some point. Women acknowledge their condition while men respond to these symptoms by taking actions which look like the opposite including bullying or blustering.
This study could change the manner in which depression is measured or conceptualized. Researchers suggest that as a first step, doctors should be educated to look for an expanded set of symptoms to diagnose depression in men.