Mental illness affects every gender, but it’s often overlooked when it comes to men. Usually stereotyped as a weakness if they are struggling with it, or never taken seriously. The result of this leads to men struggling with mental illness having a hard time speaking up about it, or seeking help.
In return, without seeking help men cannot receive the proper treatment for their mental illness, or get help to manage their symptoms.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health, around 15.1% of adult American men were diagnosed with any type of mental illness in 2017.
It’s been shown that men will usually only seek treatment for their mental illness when they hit rock bottom. Other men struggling don’t ever seek help for it. Treatment is the most important and effective way that anyone can improve their life while suffering from mental illnesses.
Majority of the time mental illness looks different in men, than it does in women. Affecting them both differently and holding different symptoms. Seeking mental illness treatment from a professional in men’s health is a good place to start.
The Stigma Around Men and Mental Illness
When it comes to men with mental illness, there are old fashioned societal expectations, as well as traditional gender roles that lead them to believe seeking help for, or even admitting to having a mental illness is frowned upon.
It’s important to understand why these stereotypes, or expectations against men and mental illness can be extremely damaging.
For example, men are usually believed to be the “breadwinners” for themselves and families. They are brought up to think that being strong, dominant and successful is a must. These aren’t potentially bad things to believe, but they can definitely be an obstacle in men reaching out for help, or opening up if they’re struggling.
There is even some research that suggests those men who don’t/cannot speak up about their everyday emotions, are a lot less likely to recognize their own symptoms of possible mental illness. Therefore they’re even less likely to seek help.
As a result, men not seeking professional help for mental illness increases the amount who turn to more harmful coping mechanisms for how they’re feeling. Such as drugs, alcohol, or other substance abuse.
Leading to distance between them and loved ones and the chances of reaching out to them for help.
However, other research possibly shows that men do seek help under certain circumstances. Such as:
- It meeting their preferences,
- Being easily accessible,
- Or being meaningful and engaging.
Mental Health Disorders and Men
Having a mental illness is very hard for anyone. Though it can show up differently in men and women of varying ages. These different symptoms from mental illness in men make it harder to recognize some disorders.
For example, men struggling with depression might have symptoms like: irritability, short temper, etc. These symptoms may not look like the typical depression that’s known to make patients sad and withdrawn.
This also may add to it being difficult for men to seek help. They see their symptoms as being weak, rather than an illness they’re struggling with that’s treatable.
Let’s go over some of the common mental illnesses in men:
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
If a man suffering from symptoms of BPD does seek help, it’s pretty common for them to be misdiagnosed with another condition.
- Bipolar Disorder
- ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder)
- PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder)
- IED (intermittent explosive disorder)
This may be because a lot of mental health professionals may be under the influence of the common bias: BPD is more common in women, than in men. This interferes with the chance of detecting BPD in men, when they are suffering with it.
Not to mention, the fact that women seek treatment for it more. Those symptoms women experience have gained the default definition of BPD symptoms and diagnosis. This makes it harder for psychiatrists/psychologists to recognize possible BPD symptoms in men. Only because they look different from the common women symptoms.
When it comes to looking at borderline personality disorder overall, the symptoms can be largely the same. Though there are some differences in the way different genders manifest the disorder.
Depression is a more common mental illness affecting men. Although, it is again more commonly associated with women.
Men and women both experience similar symptoms of depression, such as:
- Extended periods of sadness/hopelessness
- Irritable moods.
- Trouble concentrating
- Change in appetite and energy
- Extreme guilt
- Lack of interest in normal activities
- Suicidal thoughts/self harming behaviors
Though some symptoms may be similar, some signs of depression in men might not be the same as women. Men who are suffering from depression might not talk about those feelings, become emotional, or ever hint about thoughts of suicide.
Men with depression will usually hide their symptoms, which often leads to angry or aggressive behaviors.
Once again, they may seek relief from their depression by abusing substances.
A very serious mental disorder, schizophrenia leads to patients interpreting their reality abnormally, or incorrectly. Leading to things like: hallucinations, delusion, disordered thinking on an extreme level and even their daily life function being impaired by their own behavior.
Schizophrenia can be extremely debilitating to living a normal life.
When it comes to men with schizophrenia, their symptoms will typically start showing around the age of mid-20s. Those with the disorder will usually lack the ability to realize their difficulties are coming from a mental disorder.
In turn, the need to get them help will often fall into the hands of loved ones. If you have a loved one suffering from schizophrenia, get them treatment today.
Also known as manic-depression, bipolar disorders are mental illnesses that manifest from depression and mania episodes.
Causing back and forth symptoms from both, mania can look like extreme euphoria or high energy. The depressive episodes are known to be very low, often putting patients at risk of self harm, or suicide.
Other symptoms of bipolar disorders include:
- Racing Thoughts
- Talking Fast/Too Much
- Irregular Sleep Schedule
- Making Crazy Plans
- Engaging in High Risk Activities (impulse spending, unsafe sex, erratic driving, etc.)
Like women who have the disorder, men may experience ongoing problems with work, sex, and relationships. Without treatment, many turn to substance abuse, act out aggressively and in anger, and/or consider suicide.
Treatment for Men and Mental Illness
The fact that the chances of men seeking treatment for their mental illness is so low, recognizing those signs that someone you love might have a mental disorder is crucial. It can be the first step towards them receiving the proper treatment.
The earlier men seek treatment for their mental illness, the more effective it can turn out to be for them.
If you’re someone who is worried about a loved one that may be struggling, or you yourself need help, start by keeping an eye out for common signs.
These signs might indicate someone in need of treatment for their mental health:
- change in mood
- difference in work performance
- weight changes
- sadness, hopelessness
- physical symptoms, such as headaches and stomach issues
If you or a loved one are showing any of these symptoms, we at New Roads Behavioral Health recommend seeking out professional resources for help.
As well as reminded them, or yourself, that getting treatment for mental illness is not a sign of weakness. Getting the help you need is not always easy and a huge sign of strength.
Contact us to find information about substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders and other behavioral health treatment programs. Find more information about our treatment center or schedule a tour of our facility.
Our treatment programs are heavily researched and we focus on results. Our team of highly skilled professionals are well educated and trained to treat even the most severe cases. Come see what makes us different by calling to schedule a tour of our facility.
Address: 2450 E Fort Union Blvd. Cottonwood Heights, UT 84121