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Men urged to watch for depression
[Posted: Sun 12/06/2011 by Deborah Condon www.irishhealth.com]
Irish men are being urged to watch out for signs of depression.
The call comes from the Irish College of Psychiatry of Ireland ahead of Men's Health Week, which runs from June 13-19. The theme of this year's event is ‘Promoting and supporting the health and wellbeing in men and boys during challenging times'.
According to the college, depression is common, but can be successfully treated once recognised. It outlined a number of symptoms which people should watch out for, including:
-Feeling unhappy, miserable, down or depressed. The feeling will not go away and can be worse at a particular time of day, often first thing in the morning
-Being unable to enjoy anything
-Losing interest in seeing people and losing touch with friends
-Being unable to concentrate properly
-Feeling guilty about things that have nothing to do with you
-Starting to feel hopeless and perhaps even suicidal.
The college noted that along with these symptoms, many people with depression also experience difficulty sleeping, a loss of interest in sex and poor appetite. Most depressed people find they have very little energy and tend to notice more aches and pains. Sometimes people who are depressed can be convinced they have a serious physical illness.
Other people meanwhile may notice that the affected person is making mistakes at work, or seems unusually quiet or withdrawn. They may seem more irritable than usual and may stop looking after themselves or their home as well as before.
Anxiety, such as feeling on edge all the time, loss of confidence and finding it difficult to go out and face people,can also be part of depression. Anxiety can cause distressing physical symptoms such as dry mouth, sweating, shakiness, heart racing, breathlessness and stomach churning.
"Men need to pay attention to signs of depression. It is recognised that in the current recession, men are more likely than women to lose their jobs and it has long been recognised that, for men, work and relationships are the key factors in maintaining good mental health," the college explained.
It said that many people who are experiencing depression ‘do not recognise that what they are going through is a condition, which responds very well to support, exercise, reducing stress and for a proportion of people to medication'.
The college emphasised that everyone has times in their lives when they feel low in mood, however for most people this feeling does not last and does not dominate their life. If it does, this may be due to clinical depression.
"This is not a sign of weakness. It can affect anyone and many well known and successful men have experienced episodes of depression," the college said.
It noted that while many women when they are depressed are obviously sad, men are often more irritable, have angry outbursts and are likely to take greater risks. Men are also more likely to abuse alcohol when depressed and are more likely to commit suicide.
If men or their family notice these symptoms, it is important to act. The college suggests the following actions:
-Talk to someone - let your family and/or friends know how you are feeling. Get support online, through www.aware.ie or for younger men www.headstrong.ie
-Keep active - exercise can treat depression
-Avoid alcohol and street drugs. Alcohol may make you feel better for a few hours, but it is a strong depressant and will make the depression worse overall
-If you have money problems, contact the Money Advice and Budgeting service, at www.mabs.ie This is a free and confidential advisory service.
-Inform yourself about depression through organisations such as AWARE www.aware.ie
-If the symptoms are severe, or you have any suicidal ideas, contact your GP.
See also our Depression Clinic here
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