• Derek Schumm, MD

Depression is Not a Failure of Masculinity!


Major Depression is a serious medical illness, affecting people worldwide from all demographic groups. Conservative estimates suggest that at any point in time, 10 percent of men from all ages struggle with depression. Yet, only 25 percent of affected men end up seeking treatment - this is truly alarming! Lack of recognition of depression in men can be devastating as untreated depressed men are almost twice as likely to complete suicide than women.

Why aren’t men with depression seeking treatment?

Women are more likely to report depression and get appropriate treatments than men. Why are not enough men seeking the treatment they need? Young boys are often taught to stifle their feelings in order to conform to a cultural model of being “tough and in charge.” Boys are also less likely to receive encouraging and supportive responses when they do share their struggles with friends or family. This pattern, carried into adulthood, contributes to the notion that depression is a moral or masculine failure and the attendant shame keeps men in the proverbial closet about their illness. Men are also increasingly concerned about the stigma of “taking something,” for depression. The potential side effects of antidepressant medication, such as erectile dysfunction, can be devastating to the male psyche. These phenomena represent a significant hurdle that can and must be overcome in order to get men the help that they both deserve and need.

What can be done?

Fortunately, effective treatments are readily available. Psychotherapy, medications, and neurostimulation such as Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) have all been shown to be effective in treating depression in men. TMS therapy has the added benefit of having few side effects, including no erectile dysfunction. However, we must find a way to encourage the depressed men in our lives to seek treatment in order to get better. Oftentimes, family members and friends are in a unique position to notice that something is off or different about a man they care deeply for, such as a spouse, male friend, father or grandfather. Signs of clinical depression in men include apathy, sadness, withdrawal, irritability, insomnia and reduced ability to experience pleasure.

How can you help an important man in your life?

We can help the men in our lives receive the treatment they need by challenging the notion that depression represents some sort of weakness or moral failure. We can share the knowledge that depression is a real, brain/body illness. For example, when we look at functional imaging of the depressed brain we can see areas of reduced blood flow and metabolic activity in key brain centers.

This suggests that the depressed brain is in a sense broken, much like a torn meniscus in a knee joint that needs surgical repair. By noticing the signs of depression, challenging the stigma of mental illness in men and providing encouraging and empathic responses when they share their treasured concerns with us we will encourage them to get help.

At Bay TMS we have treated many men suffering from depression and have achieved very positive results. Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS therapy) is FDA approved for depression and stimulates the brain by providing repetitive magnetic pulses to the prefrontal cortex, which is often underactive in the depressed brain. The treatment is local and non invasive, which means that side effects are minimal. If you are concerned that an important man in your life is suffering from depression, please give us a call at 510-809-1599. We are here to help!

Helping Men with Depression

  1. Its not a moral failure, it a medical condition.

  2. Medication side effects, like ED, can be overcome or averted altogether with TMS.

  3. Woman, friends and family members can make a difference in helping a man identify depression and guiding them to seek help.

  4. Here are helpful articles to share: Men’s Health, Promises Treatment Centers, Men and Mental Health

More Information about BayTMS & TMS Therapy

#antidepressants #depression #mentalhealth #healthyliving #MenandDepression #TMSTherapy

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