This original article was first published here: Men And Mental Illness
Mental health awareness is a thing in today’s world. It is a grave concern for almost everyone, whether they have been affected by it or not. It can influence anyone of any age, not giving validation to age or gender. Many factors contribute to mental illness and it is when the doctor augments the case, which he stumbles upon the reasons that led to the person being mentally disturbed.
But what’s notable here is that it causes different effects in different genders. While women appear withdrawn or sad, men are most often cranky, grumpy, or irritated. You might have never heard of any man undergoing depression or trauma. The reason being that it is very hard for men to seek help because it is considered a sign of weakness instead of being seen as a sign of illness.
There are many types of mental illness that men undergo when their mental health is compromised. We will discuss a few of them here; shadowing the causes and ways to fight back the symptoms.
PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder)
PTSD is a form of serious anxiety that is caused by fretfulness, violence, or any life-threatening event. It occurs commonly in men who have served in combat. They feel rather insecure afterwards, having terrible nightmares. Panic attacks, numbness, detachment from social situations, anger, and aggression are common symptoms. Patients often lead themselves to alcohol abuse as a way to tackle this illness.
Depression hits men more than women but the linkage to women is far more widespread. The symptoms are almost identical but the way both genders respond is varying in many contexts. Some major symptoms are trouble in focusing, lack of interest, suicidal contemplation, feeling of worthlessness, or guilt surrounding any major incident, followed by a terrible loss in appetite and fatigue. This suppression of negative emotions results in anger and aggressive behaviour.
Anorexia and body shaming disorders
With the rise of social media and various online platforms, many people are engaging in a never-ending battle to look perfect. They fail to comprehend that everyone is perfect in a unique way. The beauty standards of the commercial world are far cry from reality. But these have made a very negative remark on our society, not just for women but for men too.
Anorexia and body image disorders are common in both genders but the way men react to them is worth noting. Men get obsessive about their weight, skin, muscles, nose, hair, skin tone, genitals, face shape, etc which leads them to either spend excessive time at the gym working to shed those pounds off, crazily counting calories before every meal, or indulge in binge eating to overcome the gaps.
Men with bipolar disorders can turn to violent activities or suicide in extreme cases. The common symptoms surrounding this mental illness are raging thoughts, talking too much or too fast, not sleeping for days, getting easily distracted, involving in high-risk activities, etc. For many men; change in their relationships, work issues, and relationships can shove them into the pits of bipolar disorder.
How To Tackle Mental Illness
The good news is that all of these grave symptoms around mental health are treatable. After getting treated you can go on with leading a productive and happy life. There are various treatments through which thousands have benefitted. The most familiar treatment methods include counselling sessions, medications, and a shift in lifestyle and mindset.
Besides the aforementioned management features, there are a few things that you can do to tackle them yourself.
- Look out for medical care. The warning signs you are facing is not uncommon. There are millions of people out there who are undergoing the same symptoms. But the difference is that you are choosing to opt for medical help as an alternative to your pain and suffering. In most cases, patients don’t even have to take medications as counselling jobs will work for them.
- Exercise regularly. You can treat your body to a rigorous workout or simply go for brisk walks along the park to inhale the goodness nature has to offer. Along the way, you will exhale all the anger and negativity that is doing you no good. Take deep breaths and reaffirm to yourself that you have to do it for yourself.
- Eat fresh foods and stay away from excessive carbohydrates and fats. Eating healthy can bring a much-needed change in your mental health. When you start taking care of your body, your mind responds positively too.
- Take care of your thoughts and don’t let them overpower you. This is very significant as it will allow you to channelize your thought process. Don’t pay heed to absolutely anything that sprouts. Focus on where your energy and determination are heading towards. If they are heading in the wrong direction, it is you who has to nip the evil in the bud.
- Find ways to manage your stress. Your stress is inevitable because that is how your body responds in times of nervous tension. The way you choose to respond is in your control. You can indulge in activities that can serve as a positive distraction for you. Find creative hobbies or learn some new skills etc. Do whatever makes you feel good.
- Seek help from a friend or an acquaintance with whom you are comfortable about sharing your feelings. Never feel shy to ask for help. Do it before it is too late. If you can’t help it on your own, seek medical/professional help. Professionals in psychology or psychiatry are trained in this department of human health, and they have expertise in dealing with these symptoms with complete secrecy. There are loads of people who have benefitted from these sessions.
You don’t need to feel shy, embarrassed, or ashamed about them. Ask for help instead of feeling intimidated. Inform your health care provider if you are feeling or facing any symptoms mentioned above. Open up and seek help instead of withdrawing from your social circle.
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