7 ways you may have overlooked your husband's depression

Men and women show different signs of depression and the signs are more difficult to recognize in men.

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  • Men are more likely to commit suicide than women. The BC Medical Journal calls it a silent epidemic, silent because people don't talk about men's depression. Silent because doctors find it harder to identify depression in men. Men are less likely to express their feelings of sadness or hopelessness, so you have to look for the physical signs of depression.

    If your husband is doing or experiencing more than one of the following seven things it might be time to have a frank conversation with him and, perhaps, receive medical help:

  • 1. Increased alcohol and/or drug use

    Men are always portrayed as strong, independent and not likely to fall into depression. So, when men are depressed they might attempt to self-treat through use of alcohol and drugs. Alcohol and drugs do numb feelings, but often lead to a deeper and more serious depression.

  • 2. Abnormal physical pain with no cause

    If you husband complains about back or stomach pain, but the doctors can't find anything wrong, it might be a side effect of depression. Stress and anxiety (both effects of depression) can manifest themselves as unexplainable and consistent pain. This symptom is almost always present with other symptoms.

  • 3. Increased angry outburst and irritability

    Abnormally angry and irritable behavior is often a sign of suppressed emotions. When men (and women) can't control or choose to suppress emotions, they often lash out at things they can control. Depression can lead your husband to be controlling or to abuse you, but often it's not that extreme. More commonly, men lose their sense of humor, have increased road rage or get upset with any criticism.

  • 4. Isolation and Fatigue

    Both men and women tend to isolate themselves from others when they are depressed. He might feel that he will mess everything up if he is around you, your children, work and so forth, so he just stays away.

    You might have reason for concern if you find your husband not confiding in you like he used to, spending more time playing video games, locking himself in a room by himself, sleeping all day, never sleeping or disappearing for hours on end.

    Some wives see this as signs of their husband having an affair, but accusing your husband of a non-existent affair can push him farther into depression.

  • 5. Sexual dysfunction

    Though depression is not the only cause of this symptom, it's common enough to be considered. If there is no medical reason behind a lack of desire or sexual dysfunction, look out for other symptoms of depression.

    Depression can cause a man to push away anything that made him feel good, confident, worthy or loved.

  • 6. Lack of concentration

    Focusing on things that matter is hard to do when you feel like nothing you do matters. Your husband may lose focus on things he once found enjoyable, meaningful or fulfilling. If your husband is depressed his mind is full of negative hopeless thoughts making it hard to focus on anything else.

  • 7. Suicidal thoughts

    Suicidal thoughts almost always accompany major depression. Though women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to actually commit suicide. If your husband expresses any thoughts about suicide being okay, and it is accompanied by any other depression symptom, pay attention and seek medical help.

    If your husband is depressed, there are a few things you can do along with seeking professional help.

    Help him see that he is depressed.

    Compliment your husband and point out his successes.

    Encourage and go with your husband to work out.

    Keep him out of isolation by engaging him in family activities, dates and day-to-day activities.

    Spend time in the sun.

    Listen and pay attention to him without distractions.

    Encourage him to share his feelings.

    Don't overlook these signs of depression; you and a medical professional can help him if you are paying attention.

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Stacie Simpson is a journalism student. She loves listening to, gathering and sharing stories and advice to help others improve their quality of life. She spends most of her free time with her husband, ballroom dancing, reading and writing.

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