Men are crumbling under the weight of trying to “take it like a man”
Awareness of the health challenges men face is now expanding. National studies and anecdotal evidence show men finish last in outcomes for chronic medical conditions, and leading the pack in deaths from suicides and homicides.When experts try to explain why, they often use social narratives about how men have lower rates of health care seeking behaviors and poorer coping mechanisms.
The idea of the stoic loner has been ingrained and reinforced through contemporary culture and the media. For men the message has been: “Be in charge, be strong, resourceful and unfazed in every situation.”
This may work in movies and books, but is an impossible order to fill in everyday life. Men are crumbling under the weight of trying to “take it like a man.”
Men Talking About Their Problems = Good Mental Health
No need to present every man you meet with questions about their problems; or urging them to cry and let it all out. That’s not recommended for anyone.
For men’s mental and emotional health – it is important to know that many times just opening the door for a conversation can be effective and helpful. Men are ready for the challenge of exploring their inner emotional experience.
Facing the unknown, being strong and mastering problems are what men are expected to do best!
Studies Show Men are Less Likely Than Women to Seek Help
Men with depression, anxiety, PTSD and more – often don’t seek professional help at all. This leads many mental health professionals to believe that traditional gender roles and societal norms are discouraging men from seeking help for depression and mental health issues. It may be that men feel that by seeking help, they will be stigmatized or viewed as weak.
In an effort to self-medicate, many men turn to alcohol and drugs to dull the emotional pain; leading to co-occurring disorders: addiction + mental health issues.
Suicide Rates Higher for Men
Far more men than women end their battle with mental health in suicide. Women seek help for mental health issues twice as often as men do, according to recent studies. Of the 5,981 deaths by suicide in the UK in 2012, more than three quarters (4,590) were males. In the US, of the 38,000 people who took their own lives in 2010, 79% were men. Dozens of studies and surveys over the past several decades have shown that men of all ages and ethnicity are less likely than women to seek help for all sorts of problems. These mental health issues include depression, substance abuse and stressful life events. Even though men encounter those problems at the same or greater rates as women, men are less likely to seek help.
Addiction Rehab for Men with Depression and Other Co-Occurring Disorders
At Arrowhead Lodge Recovery gender specific rehabilitation center, we help men 30+ years of age to free themselves from addiction; as well as address any underlying mental health issues. Men need a safe place where they can explore painful personal issues and sometimes, fall apart. If rehab is needed for addiction treatment, a gender specific rehab helps create that space.
A mature man may not open up in group therapy when he’s sitting in a group of single young adults who have not experienced life on their own. Especially when early childhood trauma is involved. A man needs to feel safe before he will talk about deeply embedded emotions and the trauma that created them.
The word “depressed” doesn’t work for men. It signifies weakness, defeatism, shame and makes one less of a man if he is depressed. But when men lose their ability to function normally, be it at work, at home, in the bedroom, or at play, that’s exactly what they feel like – weak and a loser.
The disease of clinical depression is much more than a case of the “blues.” It is a bona-fide disease of the brain and affects one’s ability to feel normal, to focus, to be motivated, to sleep, to eat, to have sex and to have a healthy self-esteem. The disease produces many symptoms and one does not have to have all symptoms in order to be successfully diagnosed with depression.
Clinical depression lasts for several weeks, months and even years, perhaps even decades, whereas the “blues” normally lasts for only a few days.
Not all episodes of depression are the same, even with the same person. One episode may be characterized by feeling way down emotionally with daily bouts of weeping, and another episode may be characterized by poor sleep, emotional numbness and/or an inability to complete a simple task or project.
What about when someone becomes hugely successful in his career and has it all– power, money, toys – yet feels hollow inside? While failure is often a factor in depression, successful people also suffer from depression.
Depression is caused by several factors, both physiological and environmental.
Physiological causes include an imbalance of neurotransmitters that affect how we feel. These include:
Serotonin – contributes to feelings of well-being and happiness.
Dopamine – what we feel when we experience pleasure.
Norepinephrine – necessary for managing stress and anxiety.
Depression environmental factors include problems such as:
Loss of a loved one
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
Behavioral factors may contribute to depression, such as:
Alcohol and/or drug abuse
Breaking the law
The good news is that depression is treatable. Everyone’s brain is different and therefore one should not expect a “cure” within a specific amount of time.
Arrowhead Lodge Recovery’s addiction and depression treatment has helped many men with depression (or other co-occurring disorder) recover from the sense of emptiness, hopelessness, darkness and more. We combine effective pharmacological medications (when indicated) with evidence-based therapeutic interventions.
Our addiction and depression treatment program includes:
Mental health professionals are looking for ways to change the way they treat and market to men in order to make the process more palatable for men. A few small changes like this can make a world of difference by for example focusing on skill building like proper parenting or anger management rather than personal development. Hopefully between evolving approaches to treatment – and increasing public knowledge on the subject – more men may soon find the help they need and be willing to accept it.
Looking for a place close to the healing elements of nature and learning to develop inner peace, mindfulness and strength?
Contact Arrowhead Lodge Recovery men’s addiction recovery center in Prescott, Arizona for more information. Your confidentiality is assured when you contact us; speak personally and privately with Executive Director Dr. Kenneth Chance at (888) 654-2800.
If we cannot help you at our addiction rehab for men, we will refer you to an organization that can.