Everyone suffers from depression, including men. In fact over six million men are affected by depression in the U.S. each year and not that does not make them weak. According to Todd Patkin and Dr. Howard J. Rankin, depression is not a sign of weakness—it’s a medical condition that men need to know about and watch for. It’s a matter of health!
Read on for seven things Patkin and Dr. Rankin think all men should know about depression now:
Depression is more prevalent than ever. America is becoming a nation of overworked, overstressed, and (often) unhappy people. More than that, though, increasing numbers of Americans are being diagnosed with depression—and that includes men. Studies show that each generation is more likely to become depressed than the one that came before it—and more likely to become so at an earlier age, too. Not surprisingly, antidepressant use in our country continues to grow.
Men experience different symptoms from women. If you were asked to picture depression, you’d probably think of someone who is quiet, sad, apathetic, and lethargic. Those symptoms are characteristic of depression, but they’re more commonly seen in women. Because most people don’t realize that depression manifests differently between the sexes, many men fail to even suspect the true nature of what is bothering them.
There’s a connection between depression and stress. None of us like stress—that’s a no-brainer. On the flip side, though, stress is so prevalent that we tend to ignore it and write it off as normal, despite the fact that we’ve all heard the statistics about how chronic stress can cause high blood pressure, heart disease, and other health problems. But did you know that long-term stress can also increase your risk of becoming depressed?
Depression can damage your physical health. You may consider depression to be a disorder that’s rooted in the brain. But that doesn’t mean it can’t affect your body, too. As Dr. Rankin has pointed out, depression is accompanied by a loss of energy. It can also cause muscle pain, joint pain, digestive problems, headaches, reduced sex drive, and more—and it’s easy to see how those symptoms can disrupt your life.
Depression can also hurt your family. Don’t make the mistake of believing that depression affects only you. To put it bluntly, if you’re lacking energy or if you’re anxious, irritable, or in pain, your family will notice. And their daily lives—in fact, their basic well-being—will be impacted, too. Your spouse and children might feel that they have to walk on eggshells around you, for example, and might become anxious themselves because they can’t ease your burden. You won’t be able to give them the attention, support, and love that you used to, either.
Depression is not a cause for stigma. Patkin has said it before, and he’s adamant about saying it again: Depression is not something to be ashamed of. While clinical depression is very different from a disease like cancer, they have one major thing in common: No one chooses to suffer from either, and no one can power through these ailments unaided. Untreated, depression can be just as devastating to you and your family as any other major illness.
Depression is treatable. Many people suffer from debilitating depression for months or even years, and if you’re one of them, you may believe that a “normal” life is—and always will be—beyond your grasp. Depression is treatable, though—and with a combination of counseling and medication, most people are able to completely regain their quality of life.
“If you suspect that you might be suffering from depression—or even heading toward it—I promise you that talking to your doctor is the best thing you can do for your health, your family, and your future,” concludes Patkin.
About the Authors:
Todd Patkin grew up in Needham, Massachusetts. After graduating from Tufts University, he joined the family business and spent the next eighteen years helping to grow it to new heights. After 2005, he was free to focus on his main passions: philanthropy and giving back to the community, spending time with family and friends, and helping more people learn how to be happy.
Dr. Howard J. Rankin is the creator of www.scienceofyou.com and founder of the American Brain Association. He is a licensed clinical psychologist with a private psychotherapy practice, the Rankin Center for Neuroscience and Integrative Health, on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.
About the Book:
Finding Happiness: One Man’s Quest to Beat Depression and Anxiety and—Finally—Let the Sunshine In (StepWise Press, 2011, ISBN: 978-0-9658261-9-8, $18.00, www.toddpatkin.com) is available at bookstores nationwide, from major online booksellers, and at www.toddpatkin.com