Signs Of Depression in Men - What To Watch For

By Sarah Fader |Updated April 11, 2022
CheckedMedically Reviewed By Judson Haynes, MA, LCMHC

Clinical depression is more than just feeling down for a day. It's not the same feeling you get when it's been cloudy for a few days. It's not feeling slightly irritable or struggling to sleep. Depression impairs you from living your daily life. It isn't a choice or something you can snap out of when you want to. It is a struggle that many people face. Many treatment options can help. Many people whoexperience mental health challenges never get diagnosed or treated, and a lot of it is because they don't recognize the symptoms. The symptoms and signs of depression in men can differ from that of women.

Signs Of Depression In Men

Some of the belowsigns of depression in men are ones that everyone experiences. But, some of these are reported more commonly in men. Understanding what depression looks like in men will help men to realize when they can benefit from treatment. Some of these symptoms are not ones that you would automatically connect with depression, which can cause men to ignore seeking help.

If you recognize these symptoms in your life seek professional help to start treatment. There are many effective treatment options to help you, including the therapists at BetterHelp.

Change In Sleeping Habits

This symptom of depression can go in two different directions. The first is sleeping too much. When depression sets in some men shut down and sleep. It's hard to motivate themselves to get out of bed or even to wake up. They can easily sleep for 12 hours or more each night. This can have a big impact on their productivity level throughout the day, but when feeling depressed, they don't usually care.

The other sleeping habit that can present during a depressive episode is insomnia. If men are experiencing depression it can be difficult to shut their brain off to go to sleep at night. This means they stay awake tossing and turning all throughout the night. Without getting proper sleep, it can be difficult to start feeling better. Physical health and mental health are closely related.


Even if sleep habits haven't changed men may experience feelings of fatigue. They struggle to have the energy to make it through their daily tasks. Quick pick-me-ups like coffee or an energy drink make little if any difference. Men may feel fatigued physically, mentally, and emotionally. They don't feel like they have the energy they need to get through the day.

Loss Of Interest

If you are a man struggling with depression, it is easy to lose interest in the things that you normally enjoy in life. There are no boundaries to this loss of interest. Loss of interest in work may lead to difficulties providing for yourself and your family. It's difficult to keep a job without the mental and physical energy to maintain consistent work performance. If you are being affected by depression, it may be wise to speak to your HR department about the situation, so they are aware.

You may also lose interest in things like your hobbies and loved ones. Things that you used to enjoy doing no longer bring you joy or pleasure. You may avoid doing the activities that you used to do because you simply don't care anymore. Unfortunately, this can impact your relationships as well. Even men who are very involved with their family and friends can lose interest in spending time together when dealing with depression.

Irritability And Anger

When most people think of depression, they think of being sad. However, in men, depression often disguises itself as anger and irritability. It's important to understand that irritability and anger are two different things.

When you are irritable, you are cranky. You may find that a small thing that normally doesn't bother you start to get on your nerves. You most likely feel like you are on edge and it feels like everyone is trying to push your buttons throughout the day. You notice all the imperfections around you and everything people are doing that they shouldn't be. You are consistently agitated without a real explanation.

Anger is a much stronger emotion than irritability. When men are dealing with depression, they know that something is not right even if they cannot pinpoint the cause. The more they struggle for unknown reasons, the more the likely the anger is to continue to amplify. Sometimes the anger is constant while other times it erupts periodically. This can cause significant damage to relationships as the focus becomes the anger and not the depression.

Difficulty Concentrating

"Brain fog" is another way to describe difficulty concentrating due to depression. Men may become more forgetful and struggle to remember things. Maintaining focus on the task at hand becomes increasingly difficult. Situations that normally would be easy to solve might seem more confusing. You may grow frustrated and irritable because you must work harder to accomplish things that normally would be a breeze.

Physical Pain And Digestive Issues

There is no denying that mental health is closely tied to your physical health. But what most men don't realize is that physical symptoms can be one of the signs of depression in men. This includes symptoms such as chronic back pain, headaches, and stomachaches. Depression takes a physical toll on the body. Depressive symptoms like stress, anxiety, and guilt can wreak havoc on the digestive system. Other symptoms of depression can also cause these symptoms. Without sufficient sleep, fatigue may lead to headaches. As depression can affect thinking and judgment, poor diet choices may lead to digestive system issues. You may try to treat the physical symptoms without getting to the root of the mental health challenge that you are facing.


While women are likely to experience increased anxiety along with their depression, men often have an easier time discussing their anxiety compared to discussing feelings of sadness or hopelessness. When facing trying times in life, like the loss of a loved one or the loss of a job, men can often communicate how this worries them. They may not be able to communicate their feelings as much, but when they take concrete situations, they can express that they are anxious and worried about them.

Sexual Dysfunction

This is a symptom that most men do not want to talk about or admit, but it is a potential symptom of depression. When dealing with depression men may experience a lack of sexual desire. This often goes unreported because men feel ashamed when they are experiencing erectile dysfunction. This can become a vicious cycle. Sexual dysfunction often leads men to feel more depressed, further reducing sexual desire. As embarrassing as you might think it will be to discuss with a doctor, it is a common symptom of depression in men. It is helpful for your doctor or therapist to know all the symptoms you are experiencing to help you find the appropriate treatments.


Indecision tends to go along with some of the other symptoms that we have described here. It is hard to make decisions when you are struggling to concentrate, or you have an overall lack of interest in the topic. Indecision is a minor issue when it comes to things like trying to decide what movie to watch on Netflix, but it is a much larger problem when it comes down the things like not paying your bills because you couldn't decide if it was the right time to spend the money that you had from your paycheck. A lack of desire and care mixed with indecision can cause problems to snowball, further exacerbating feelings of agitation and hopelessness.

Suicidal Thoughts

If you or your loved one is having any thoughts of suicide, you need to seek help from a professional immediately. This includes thinking things like "my family would be better off without me" or "no one would even notice if I were gone." If this is a symptom that you are experiencing, please speak with someone right away. There are many treatment options to help you effectively deal with depression.

You can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline now (no matter what day or time) at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233).

You Don't Need To Continue By Yourself In Silence

If you recognize any of these signs of depression in yourself or someone you love, then it's time to seek treatment. There are many options that professional therapists can provide to help get your symptoms under control and start enjoying your life. But they can't help you if you don't reach out for help. Take the first step today and contact a professional to talk about your symptoms. You can use this list as a guide.

If you’re wondering about whether online therapy is as effective as traditional therapy, a Men’s Health article weighed in on that. In the article, they outline why therapy is a good idea for men despite old social stigmas that say otherwise. They include that the research to date has shown that online therapy is as effective as face-to-face sessions in treating depression. They also said that an email or video chat might make men feel like they can talk more freely.

It’s true that some people say that online therapy makes them feel like they have greater privacy: you can connect with a counselor anywhere you feel comfortable as long as you have a secure internet connection, and there’s no need to worry about anyone potentially seeing you go into an office. The same article points out that therapy is less expensive than the long-term ramifications depression can have on your health or your career. And online therapy is often even less expensive than traditional therapy.

Here are some reviews by recent BetterHelp users with similar issues of their counselors:

“Good guy, good listener and has experience. As someone who has issues asking for help or opening up, it is very easy to talk to him.” Read more on Joshua Wininger.

“Great guy, easy to open up to, very helpful and knowledgeable. This is my first counseling experience and he made it better than I had expected it to be.” Read more on Nick Zeimet.

You Don’t Have To Face Depression Alone. Our Experienced Counselors Can Help.
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