Does depression in men look different than it does in women? Show Notes

Monday, September 02, 2013 Host(s): Dr. Bill Maier
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Could a man you know be depressed and not even know it?

The number of men in our society who experience symptoms of depression may be similar to the number of women with depression--at least when doctors look for “non-traditional” symptoms.

Fox News is reporting on a new study done by the University of Michigan. It found that a full 1/3 of men and women met the criteria for depression when traditional and so called “alternative” symptoms were taken into account.

Currently, about 16 percent of Americans meet the criteria for depression. Previous research has found women are about twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with the condition.

Other studies, however, have suggested that men don't exhibit the same symptoms of as women. Or, they may not be as willing to divulge their symptoms to a doctor.

For example, previous studies found that depressed men are more likely to show signs of anger, self-destruction, self-distractions and irritability rather than outward sadness.

In the new study, Dr. Lisa Martin and her colleagues used a scale that was designed to assess depression symptoms common among men. When they did, they found 26 percent of men and 22 percent of women met the criteria for depression.

When they used a scale that included both traditional and alternative symptoms, there was little difference between the two groups: about 1/3 of both men and women met criteria for depression.

In addition to decreasing quality of life, the US Centers for Disease Control has found that depression is linked to smoking, alcohol use, inactivity and trouble sleeping.

If you think you or your spouse might be depressed, visit the American Psychological Association’s website at apa.org.

I’m Bill Maier for WBCL.

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