Thursday, 5 July 2012




     We all feel a little sad sometimes, but in true Orwellian fashion, some of us become sadder than others. Sadness is relative in perspective, just as a religious practice, or a social practice has to be accepted across cultures, so do we have to consider cross-social definitions and boundaries when it comes to an illness such as depression. The following is an analysis and summary of three sources that I have researched, and attempted to make understandable to the layman, but there is some terminology and data that, without destroying its impact, could not have been “dumbed-down”.

Recognizing Symptoms

     As a person who has had to live with depression for virtually his entire adult life, recognizing the symptoms of depression is still a formidable task at the best of times. In Wendy Moragne’s book, Depression (p 30-31) she explains – and I have to concur – that there are nine generally accepted signs for recognizing depression:

1.      Feelings of frustration, irritability, sadness, or anger.

2.       Loss of interest in activities that were once enjoyable.

3.      Significant increases or decreases in appetite and weight.

4.      Insomnia and/or sleeping too much.

5.      Restlessness, fidgeting, or experiencing slowed movements.

6.      Feeling tired and lacking in energy.

7.      Feeling worthless or guilty.

8.      Having difficulty thinking, concentrating, or decision-making.

9.      Having repeated thoughts of death or suicide.

Forms of Depression

     When a person is diagnosed with depression, it is important to correctly identify the type of depression that the person has. In Moragne’s book Depression (p 27-28), there are several forms of depression discussed, and each one appears to have its own level of severity. It is now that I would like to point out that when a person is depressed, the only thing that is foremost on their mind is getting better. Therefore, I should say that there really are not any levels of seriousness from one person’s illness to another’s, as each case is unique and requires its own form of diagnosis and treatment.

These recognized forms of depression are:

1.      Major Depression – includes the symptoms mentioned above. These symptoms interfere with everyday functioning.

2.      Dysthymia – is a milder form of depression that can last a very long time, sometimes even years. Some young people who suffer Dysthymia go on to develop major depression or Bipolar Disorder.

3.      Bipolar Disorder – is a disorder where patients experience mood swings. These alternate from moments of sheer elation to points of major depression.

4.      Atypical Depression – is associated with people who are generally extremely sensitive to rejection. Symptoms also tend to be chronic in nature.

5.      Seasonal Affective Disorder – seems to be related to seasonal changes, as well as changes in levels of sunlight.

Assessing Male-Specific Depression

     Assessing depression in males is satisfied using several different techniques. These techniques are designed to determine the level of, and the extent that a male meets established criteria for depression. These tools also include the use of questionnaires, and self-checklists, which are designed to gather more information about their depression. Appointments and hospitalization are also often required – but generally for the more/most serious cases. In S.V. Cochran’s, and F.E. Rabinowitz’s Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspectives (p 80), evidences have been shown that, “men may mask or hide depressive moods,” because of established cultural norms, and “internal psychodynamic” processes, which often take on forms sufficient enough to “mask” (ibid) the underlying condition.

A diagnosis of depression is not a death sentence, if it is properly diagnosed – IN TIME. In a recent study, life-long symptoms of reported depression ran the gamut of the symptoms mentioned earlier in section two – Recognizing Symptoms. Below is a summary of these symptoms as discussed on page 83 in Men and Depression: Clinical and Empirical Perspectives:

Symptoms Lasting Two Weeks or Longer
% Of Men Reporting (n=8311)
% Of Women Reporting (n=10,971)
Thoughts of Death
Changes in Appetite
Changes in Sleep Habits
Diminished Concentration
Psychomotor Dysfunction
Loss of Interest


     As can be seen by this data, men are more likely not to report their feelings of depression to clinicians. However, the specific symptoms that were most frequently reported were the same for men and women. So, if the depression is reported, and subsequently diagnosed, it can be treated, but what methods are currently available?

Treatment for Depression

     Depression has often been linked with an array of biological factors. These scientifically concluded assumptions have been reached because of the recent advances in the treatment of depression with newer, more effective anti-depressants. These recent advances in include relatively fewer side effects, as compared to the multiple side-effects that patients experienced as recent as ten years ago. Medical treatment of men through anti-depressants has shown that it is men who experience, and present the most complaints of side effects.


     There is significance to the sources used in this report. Finding suitable printed material and legitimate information on the Internet is analogous to finding that one doctor with whom you quite literally put the health of your mind in their hands. These are the most up-to-date, and from my perspective, reliable sources that are available, but the science and treatment of depression is always advancing, and there is always a wealth of information on this very treatable illness.

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