The real problem is that men and women respond differently to depression. While a woman suffering from the initial symptoms of the onset of depression knows she is feeling sad and unable to handle her emotions, the first signs of depression in men are sleep disorders, fatigue, headaches and peculiar pains.
As a man realizes that what he is dealing with is a mild form of depression, he will not seek help like an average woman would, but would react by screaming at his wife and kids, performing poorly at work, getting in to troublesome bar fights and taking unnecessary risks.
Since it’s not easy for men to seek medical help immediately when suffering from mild depression, here are 5 tips for busting depression so that you can take some positive action.
Go Easy On the Booze
Most men who realize they are suffering from depression take to alcohol. They try and drown their misery, sorrows and fear in booze, rather than trying to emote what they are going through. In fact, this has been proven by a study conducted at Yale University under scientist Tara Chaplin. She says, “Men’s tendency to crave alcohol when upset may be a learned behavior or may be related to known gender differences in reward pathways in the brain”.
What doesn’t help matters is the fact that we live in a society where when a man seeks medical assistance for something as simple as mild depression, people label him as ‘crazy’. Hence, alcohol seems like the perfect quick-fix.
However, the truth is that increased intake of alcohol will increase risk for alcohol related diseases. Additionally, it’s very important to realize that alcohol by itself is a ‘depressive’ – while it may make you feel better momentarily; it’s doing a lot more harm in the long run.
Learn How to Deal with Stress
And since you aren’t always feeling great and could be going through your own emotional traumas, you start to feel more stressed out.
Dr. Charles Nemeroff is a renowned psychiatrist who treated the two famous men who brought the real dangers of male depression to light – Tom Johnson, who was the president of CNN during the 90s, and philanthropist J.B. Fuqua. According to him, the higher up you are on the corporate ladder, the more stress your job involves. And that’s precisely the reason why senior executives are more vulnerable to depression.
The best way to deal with depression is to combat stress. And the only way to do that is to practice some calming techniques. Try yoga, meditation and deep breathing exercises. These will make a real difference in a moment you feel panicked and simply don’t know how to handle the stress.
However, if you really want to combat depression, your diet must consist of sensible carbohydrates that can stimulate the production of Serotonin. Limit simple carbs and sugars in your diet but indulge in whole grains. Try the Anti-Depression Diet.
Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and legumes as all of these have healthy carbs along with lots of fiber. Also, limit caffeine intake as it’s known to suppress serotonin functioning. To boost your alertness, eat lots of healthy proteins.
The Tyrosine present in lean meats like chicken, tuna and turkey is known to enhance the functioning of dopamine and norepinephrine; brain chemicals known to improve mood and alertness. Additionally, add natural foods rich in Selenium to your diet, as this mineral is also known to combat depression. Nuts, low fat dairy, whole grains and beans are all healthy options.
So we have covered diet and now proceed to exercise. Why exercise is even more important to you if you are feeling mildly depressed?
Any aerobic activity – be it walking, jogging, cycling or swimming can stimulate chemicals in the brain that combat stress, anxiety and moodiness.
Be Tuned Into Your Body
Most men ignore the initial symptoms of depression, dealing with it either by drinking or simply becoming more aggressive in general. A campaign led by Institute of Mental Health or NIMH found out that 12% of male patients who come to a physician complaining of pains, headaches and fatigue are suffering from severe depression.
Depression left untreated increases risk of heart diseases, stroke, heart failure, hypertension etc. So be in tune with your body and if you notice any of the initial symptoms of depression like sleep problems, fatigue, stomach aches, headaches, joint pain, or other unexplained pains, don’t take them lightly.
We all feel unhappy and depressed from time to time. But as long as you take healthy measures to try and fight your negative feelings, you are going in the right direction. If you don’t find any relief in your symptoms even after trying the above mentioned tips for 2 weeks, its best to book a doctor’s appointment.
But remember that ultimately, you will need to take charge of your mental health and it begins with changing the way you think. The book, Feeling Good: The Mood Therapy helped me a lot during my journey and I highly recommend it.