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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Depression in Men. More common than you think

 by bethlevine


Many readers probably know men who are actually depressed and not realize it.. Some male readers, in fact may might be depressed and not even know it. How can that be? Depression among men can be difficult to identify because society pressures men to be stoic and strong, thus hiding many of the common symptoms of depression.

In fact, depression in men is often extolled by society, by valuing over-work, over–exercise, or other activities that are performance-based measures of value. Depression among men can take two different forms. In “I Don’t Want to Talk About It”, Terrence Real, a well-respected clinician and researcher, writes “in overt depression, the anguish of shame…is endured. In covert depression, the man desperately defends against such an onslaught (p. 55).”

Overt depression is how many of us typically think about depression, and symptoms can include:

1. too much/too little sleep,
2. sad mood,
3. loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed
4. fatigue without explanation
5. feelings of hopelessness
6. loss of a sense of self-worth

Covert depression is when a person distracts and distances himself from feeling worth less than others. This process can be considered an addiction, with addiction to work, to exercise, or to alcohol or drugs as examples.

Covert depression is prevalent among men because boys are pressured not to be dependent or emotionally expressive, or value relationships. Instead, boys are encouraged to accomplish tasks, problem solve, not cry. The damage is disconnection from themselves, from others, and from the world around them.

I have had success in treating depression among men. An important part of the treatment is connection: at home, the work place, within his community and with himself. I have also had success in providing marriage and relationship counseling to couples where the man is experiencing covert depression. The focus of the work is similar: connection to his partner.

I have years of experience dealing with just these kinds of issues. Contact me at for more information.

Beth Levine, LCSW, based in Rockville, Bethesda and the surrounding Maryland (MD) and Virginia suburbs, is a social worker, therapist, counselor and psychotherapist who provides marriage counseling, family therapy, individual psychotherapy and emotionally focused therapy ( EFT ) to help people deal with divorce, pre-marital issues, teenage children, anxiety, depression, loss and grief. Visit to learn more.


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