Mental health often takes the back burner when it comes to a man’s priorities. In most cases, men are affected by mental health issues just as frequently as women are. However, all too often, men decline to discuss their mental health and fail to seek treatment from trained professionals. Unfortunately, when a man does not address his struggle with mental health, the underlying mental health issues will worsen.
In this article, we discuss men’s mental health, including symptoms, common issues, and treatment options. We hope that by sharing information on men’s mental health, we can help men start conversations on the topic and help remove the stigma surrounding mental health treatment for men.
Symptoms of mental health issues among men
There is never a particular day or single moment when a mental health condition starts. Instead, men are likely to notice signs and symptoms gradually. A man needs to be able to recognize those signs and symptoms and know what to do if he or a loved one may have a mental health condition.
The most noticeable symptoms of mental health issues include significant shifts in mood. Some men may notice that they feel more angry or irritable in response to minor annoyances or difficulties. Other times, men may feel persistent sadness or a lack of motivation. Symptoms of an underlying mental health condition can also include physical symptoms. Physical symptoms include changes in appetite and changes to sleep patterns or sleep duration. Also, some men who suffer from a mental health condition may experience digestive issues. A man’s observable actions, such as episodes of escapist, risk-taking behavior or isolation, may also be telling of an underlying mental health problem.
When a person does notice symptoms and finds that they are struggling with their mental health, they should reach out to a trained mental health professional for help. A mental health professional can help the affected person manage their situation and get on track with an appropriate treatment program.
Treatment for men’s mental health issues
In many cases, men who suffer from mental health difficulties do not seek the treatment they need. Many men consider mental health conditions as a sign of weakness and are hesitant to admit that they need help. Instead of seeking treatment from a trained professional, many men either attempt to ignore their struggle with mental health or the attempt to self-treat their problems.
Some men turn to drugs or alcohol to self-treat their mental health issues and escape the pain that they may be experiencing. Men who suffer from a mental health condition and a substance abuse problem simultaneously have a “dual diagnosis” or “co-occurring disorder.” Substance abuse does not cure mental health issues, and in many cases, substance abuse only makes mental health issues worse. If left unchecked, substance abuse can lead to long-term organ damage and adverse cognitive impacts.
Instead of attempting to self-treat or turning to substance abuse, men who struggle with mental health can get help from a variety of mental health treatment programs. Outpatient treatment programs are appropriate for some cases, and they allow the individual to participate in home and family life while undergoing treatment. As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many facilities have adapted outpatient treatment programs to include a telehealth option. Via telehealth appointments, patients can receive the care they need from home over video-conference technology while maintaining social distancing.
In other cases when the individual needs more clinical attention, inpatient treatment programs are appropriate. With inpatient treatment programs, men can access care from trained mental health professionals 24/7. This around-the-clock care is particularly needed when treating co-occurring disorders, as the individual typically undergoes a monitored medication regime. The medication component can help with withdrawal symptoms that may come from treatment for substance abuse issues.
Receiving treatment for a mental health issue is not a sign of weakness. Instead, it is a smart action that can help a man return to a healthy lifestyle as quickly as possible. Treatment for mental health issues is also important because mental health conditions typically worsen without treatment. In some cases, mental health issues can lead to the tragic outcome of suicide. Over three times more men commit suicide than women, and the suicide rate among men is the highest with middle-aged white males. If you or a loved one has suicidal thoughts, please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at +1 (800) 273-8255 at any time.
How Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute can help
For men suffering from mental health conditions in the greater Austin, TX area, Georgetown Behavioral Health Institute can help with a variety of treatment programs. We offer outpatient programs for mental health and inpatient treatment options, too. If you or someone in your life struggles with mental health, please call our hotline at (512) 819-1154. We accept calls 24/7, and we can help you determine the best next step. You can also check out our mental health resources pages to learn more about a variety of mental health topics.
Remember, if you or a loved one is ever in immediate danger, please call 911 immediately.