In his book, Unmasking Male Depression (pp. 38-52), Dr. Archibald D. Hart discusses the 6 causes of depression in males. This particular section of his book validated the way I was feeling. It crystallized things for me and though I didn’t necessarily like the reality of the situation, had suffered from it long enough that the information was a welcome load lifter. I hope they are helpful if you’re a male who was as confused as I was.
1. Testosterone-Induced Depressions. Most prevalent in men with a high sex drive, this type of depression sets in when an established rate of sexual release (orgasm) diminishes (39). When this release isn’t met, males become irritable and aggression rises. Men exhibit behaviors described as “sulking” or “moodiness”.
“This type of hidden depression becomes much more complicated and difficult to resolve when the wife’s need for sexual expression is much less than her partner’s, or where the wife has absolutely no sexual need. The frustration of the demands of testosterone can become intensified, and the husband may then enter an almost continuous depression-based state of anger and irritability that makes it very difficult to build a harmonious relationship (41).”
2. Stress and Depression. Stress can produce depression in three ways (41-42)-
- Severe panic anxiety attacks – Due to the combination of the extended release of Cortisol (a chemical that helps us combat what is stressing us), and the blocking of chemicals that keep us calm.
- Postadrenaline depression – Results from the depletion of adrenaline and the recovery time needed by the adrenal system. Symptoms include “reduced energy, irritability, negativity, and low mood” (postadrenaline depression).
- Emotional & mental exhaustion – Caused by the inability to properly cope with life’s demands. “…driven men can be immobilized. When depression strikes , they lie in bed all morning, unable to get up the energy to work. And what is worse, they are too apathetic to care.”
3. Addiction and Depression. Often forms of self-medication, addictions serve to “soothe” the male soul. Or as Dr. Hart states, a “mood bath”. The more depressed the sufferer is, the more the addiction is manifest (43).
4. Postadrenaline Depression. As mentioned earlier, this form of depression comes from stress – an elevated and prolonged exposure to Cortisol and adrenaline. Most people experience this after “a period of extended demand or stress”. For example after a long work week, a husband wakes up on Saturday feeling lethargic and exhausted, finding it hard to get out of bed. Symptoms of postadrenaline depression often take the form of “irritability, grumpiness, low frustration tolerance, and big-time negativity” (47).
5. Messing with the Body’s Internal Clock. This results when we don’t pay attention to our body’s internal cues. We need to try to establish a routine time to go to bed and adhere to that as best we can. On weekdays. On weekends. The more we can do this, the less the effects of depression will be. One such example of this is the origin of “seasonal affective disorder” (SAD). SAD originates from the increase in melatonin in the winter months and produces effects similar to hibernation in winter animals, such as craving carbohydrates, weight gain, oversleeping, and fatigue (50) .
6. Parental Turmoil and Divorce. “Among the most common causes of male depression has got to be the effect of divorce and parental turmoil on boys.” Because of the bonds teenage boys (between 10 and 14) have mainly with their fathers, they are traumatized if their father leaves and are more likely to suffer from long-term depression (50).
SOURCE – Unmasking Male Depression. Dr. Archibald D. Hart, pp. 38-52. ©2001