While mental health issues in men are just as common as in women, men go undiagnosed and untreated far more often. Mental struggles do not discriminate among age, race, gender, or other characteristics. However, the onset can be different for everyone. Learn more about the common mental health issues that men face and where you can turn to get the help you need.
What Are the Most Common Mental Health Issues in Men?
Mental health has been a taboo subject for many years. As a result, many men, younger and older, suffer from undiagnosed psychological struggles. Even with the recent boost in mental health awareness, some men feel uncomfortable discussing their symptoms, which often fall under the umbrella of these five most common psychological issues:
- Anxiety plagues nearly every age group and gender. However, it often manifests in men as obsessive-compulsive disorder, social anxiety, panic disorder, phobias, or generalized anxiety disorder. Male children and young adults are more likely to receive attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder diagnoses.
- Depression is a common cause of suicide in men, who are 3.88 times more likely to die by suicide than women, even though women typically attempt suicide more often.
- Trauma-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, affect a significant number of men. Typical traumatic events include witnessing an injury or death, suffering physical assault, or participating in combat.
- Borderline personality disorder affects the ability to control or manage emotions. Men who suffer from this commonly avoid seeking treatment out of shame or embarrassment.
- Bipolar disorder typically first presents in males from ages 15 to 24. A significant number are severe cases, and they are commonly undiagnosed or misdiagnosed in young men.
What can men do when they assume these conditions may affect them? Self-diagnosis is often the first step in understanding mental health, and it starts with awareness.
Are There Warning Signs for Mental Health Issues in Men?
Mental illness can develop in men and women in similar ways. However, the warning signs are not always the same. For example, men are more likely to turn to substance use to feel better, which can lead to addiction. They may seem more angry or aggressive or feel hopeless or stressed more often. Other common symptoms in men include:
- Changes in appetite
- Losing interest in socialization or their favorite activities
- Becoming more reckless or compulsive
- Struggling to focus or having issues with sleeping
- Noticing a decrease in energy or change in mood
Sometimes the symptoms cause physical discomfort. Men may feel increased fatigue, develop headaches, or have digestive issues without explanation. Symptoms can also vary from person to person and manifest differently based on the individual.
Potential Gender Differences in the Early Stages
Age and gender can both affect how mental health struggles present. For example, in young adult males, angry outbursts and obvious acting out are common signs. However, young adult females often show signs of insecurity or depression, sometimes drifting into eating disorders.
As adults, men often turn to substance abuse as a method to self-medicate. Women are more likely to speak out about how their mental health affects their lives and seek professional help before the situation becomes dire.
Different Factors Influencing Mental Health Issues in Men
Many elements can increase a man’s risk of developing or worsening mental health issues. For example, white men over the age of 84 are more likely to commit suicide, often as a result of depression caused by end-of-life crises. Substance abuse can exacerbate certain mental health conditions, often leading to excessive use of illicit drugs to combat the symptoms.
Environmental factors also play a key role in causing mental health struggles. For example, men with legal or financial issues, employment struggles, recent family deaths, or marital breakdowns often suffer from some mental health crisis and sometimes equate talking about it with weakness. If they have a history of trauma, that can drastically affect their ability to cope with unfortunate circumstances.
Family history is also a significant factor. Studies show there is a genetic element to certain disorders, such as schizophrenia, depression, and bipolar disorder. Awareness and ongoing treatment can profoundly impact how it affects someone’s life.
Where Can Men Get Help for Their Mental Health?
Mental health issues in men do not have to go unchecked. As more and more people talk openly about their experiences, it sets the stage for people to feel more comfortable reaching out for help without fear of judgment. Given the number of factors that can affect anyone’s mental health, some hotlines allow you to reach out to someone anonymously and speak to a professional with experience in situations similar to your own:
- The Crisis Text Line offers confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week, by simply texting HELLO to 741741.
- The 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers support to anyone in emotional distress by calling or texting 988 to connect with someone trained to help people in a crisis situation.
- The Disaster Distress Hotline at (800) 985-5990 helps people experiencing a tragedy in life. This is an information outlet for men and women struggling with any issue negatively affecting their mental health. People struggling with substance abuse can speak to someone anonymously.
Not everyone can afford to seek attention from mental health experts on their own. Even with insurance coverage, the copays and deductibles can be substantial. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a wealth of resources for anyone in search of help.
Where Can You Learn More About Mental Health Issues in Men?
Mental health issues in men are overwhelmingly underestimated, but the good news is that awareness continues to grow, creating an atmosphere where men can feel comfortable speaking out and seeking help. So many of the most common psychological conditions relate back to a traumatic experience, and so too often men feel ashamed to discuss their symptoms of depression or anxiety. Thankfully, they can access resources to help improve their mental health.
For more information about men’s health, check out The Rugged Standard.