Depression is a serious mental illness that affects more than 19 million teens and adults in the United States.
While it’s normal to occasionally feel sad, depression can cause feelings of hopelessness and distress to take over your life. These feelings can change the way you think, feel and live your life on a daily basis.
If you’re feeling sad, helpless or hopeless, it’s often difficult to tell whether you’re depressed or simply going through a bad mood.
Unfortunately, many people aren’t familiar with the specific feelings that depression can cause, meaning nearly 60 percent of people with depression don’t seek out professional help.
Below, we’ve explained what depression feels like, as well as the common symptoms you may experience if you’re depressed. We’ve also explained how depression can occur in a variety of different types.
Finally, we’ve explained how depression can affect your life as a man, as well as the treatment options that are available if you’re feeling depressed and need to seek help.
Depression, or major depressive disorder (MDD), is a common mood disorder that can affect the way you think, feel and go about your day-to-day life.
It’s common and completely normal to experience feelings of sadness. Most of the time, these feelings are temporary and fade away over time.
Depression can cause lasting, persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness that don’t get better on their own. If these feelings are present for most of the day and last for two weeks or longer, they’re usually viewed as symptoms of depression.
Depression can feel different from person to person. You may experience a range of symptoms that last for weeks, months or years. It’s common for these symptoms to interfere with your life, affecting everything from your relationships and career to your everyday function.
The precise symptoms of depression can vary from person to person. If you’re depressed, you may notice several of the following symptoms:
Contrary to popular belief, depression isn’t a one-size-fits-all mood disorder. Instead, medical professionals recognize several distinct types of depression, each of which may cause you to feel slightly different:
As a man, it’s easy to write off feelings of sadness, hopelessness and other potential symptoms of depression as nothing more than a bad mood. It’s also common to hide your emotions when you’re feeling down and keep your feelings to yourself when you’re around other people.
Because of this, many men affected by depression don’t recognize their symptoms or seek help and treatment. In fact, it’s common for many depressed men to only seek treatment when they experience physical symptoms such as aches, pains or digestive issues.
This is a common mistake. Far from only being a bad mood, the feelings caused by depression are real symptoms of a serious but treatable mood disorder.
It’s important to be aware that if you’re depressed, you may not experience all of the symptoms and feelings listed above. Instead, you may only notice a few symptoms that come and go over time or fluctuate in severity and intensity.
Whether you only have one symptom of depression or numerous similar, related symptoms and feelings, it’s important to take the situation seriously.
Depression is treatable. Seeking help, whether from a professional or a loved one, is a first step towards treating your depression and making progress towards an eventual recovery. Take your symptoms seriously and don’t be afraid to seek help if you feel depressed.
Several methods are used to treat depression, including medications such as antidepressants, several forms of therapy and changes to your lifestyle.
Depression is typically treated using antidepressants. These medications adjust the levels of certain neurotransmitters in your brain, improving your mood and making some symptoms of depression less severe.
Several different types of antidepressants are used to treat depression. Popular types include selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), serotonin–norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs).
Our complete list of antidepressants lists medications used to treat depression, how they work and their potential side effects.
Depression is often treatable through psychotherapy. Several different types of therapy are used to treat depression, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), interpersonal therapy (IPT) and others.
In combination with medication and/or therapy, making certain changes to your lifestyle can help to reduce the severity of depression and help you recover.
Lifestyle changes that can help with depression treatment include remaining active and ensuring you get regular physical exercise, setting goals for yourself, spending time with your friends and family and setting realistic expectations for your recovery.
Depression is a serious mood disorder that can worsen if ignored. If you’re experiencing one or several of the symptoms of depression, it’s important that you seek out medical help.
The best way to seek help is to talk to a medical professional. If you have a regular primary care provider, try reaching out to them to discuss treatment options.
You can also contact a mental health professional directly. Using our platform, you can talk to a licensed psychiatry provider online to learn more about your options and, if appropriate, receive a prescription for medication to treat your depression.
Finally, if you don’t feel comfortable seeking help on your own, try reaching out to a close friend or family member. They can help you connect with an expert to get the support and assistance you need to treat your depression and make real, measurable progress towards recovery.