How do older German men treat women

Irritated and willing to take risks: Men with depression sometimes suffer differently

ams series "Men's Health" (8)

08/27/19 (ams). Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses: Around one in five people in Germany will suffer from depression or a chronic depressive mood at least once in their life, according to the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG). Women are affected more often than men, older people more often than young people. But only about a third of those who are sick in Germany receive professional help. Depression often goes undetected, especially in men. It is perfectly normal to be in a bad mood and depressed. That's a long way from being sick. Depression, on the other hand, is a mental illness that manifests itself as a prolonged feeling of depressed mood, listlessness and loss of joy and interests. In order to raise awareness of the widespread disease depression, the European Depression Day takes place every year on October 1st. Because depression can be treated. The earlier it is recognized, the better the chances of recovery. "Typical are lack of energy, dejection and the feeling of not being worth anything, of not being able to get up to anything or not being able to afford anything. Often the depressed sufferers have no hope of recovery and are pessimistic about the future. Those affected usually lose interest in social contacts and Activities, "says Dr. Astrid Maross, specialist in neurology and psychiatry in the AOK Federal Association. As a result, they withdraw, so that social and professional interests are at risk. But the nature of the symptoms can vary from person to person and can also be expressed, for example, in tension, restlessness, sleep disorders and physical symptoms, says doctor Maross. "In the case of depression, it can also happen that the person concerned no longer wants to live. In the worst case, the disease also leads to suicide."

Ready-to-broadcast radio interview with Dr. Astrid Maross, doctor in the AOK Federal Association

In men, however, depression is not always recognized because the typical characteristics are often less visible in them. Instead, symptoms such as increased aggression and violence or physical complaints such as headaches, stomach problems or erectile dysfunction can be in the foreground. In men, the disease can therefore be indicated by low stress tolerance and inappropriate social behavior. Those affected get upset quickly, get tantrums because of small things and are prone to reproach and resentful behavior. They are generally dissatisfied with themselves and others and take high risks, for example when doing sports or driving a car. Some are prone to addictive behaviors, particularly excessive or uncontrolled consumption of alcohol. Depression can have many causes; usually different causes come together. In addition to a corresponding disposition and unfavorable coping strategies for the everyday adversities of life, stressful events such as the death of a relative, a separation or a relationship crisis can increase the risk of depression. The disease occurs more often in people who seek or experience little social support. Unfavorable working conditions also have an impact on the psyche, for example when the demands in the job are very high, but at the same time there is little scope for personal decisions. Men find themselves in particular distress when they see their social status threatened, for example through unemployment, professional graduation or low recognition in the job. Men, especially older men, are at higher risk of suicide than women.

"In contrast to women, men seek help far less often and less intensively because they often attribute disturbances to their mental or physical wellbeing to stress and work-related stress. They tend not to consider a mental illness," says Dr. Maross. However, early therapy is important in order to stop the course of the disease or at least to alleviate it, because depression can generally be treated well.

After the doctor determines that you have depression, he or she creates a treatment plan. Depending on how severe the disease is and what the person's preference is, psychotherapeutic or drug treatment is used, sometimes in combination. The doctor discusses the advantages and disadvantages of treatment as well as the fears of the person concerned. "Anyone who goes to the doctor has already taken an important step," says doctor Maross. In addition, regular exercise is good for you and can lighten your mood. A meeting with friends or a hobby can also increase well-being. It can be helpful to set up a small weekly schedule and record the planned activities in it.

Support through online self-help programs

Many studies now show that online self-help programs can help treat depression. One of them is moodgym - an interactive training program for the prevention and reduction of depressive symptoms that is supported by the AOK. The program is based on cognitive behavioral therapy and was developed by Australian scientists. The AOK enables the German version of moodgym, which can be accessed anonymously and free of charge by everyone at Here, for example, patients learn to rearrange negative perceptions and thoughts in such a way that they can better deal with stressful situations in the future and positively influence their mood. In a current test by Stiftung Warentest, moodgym was the only free online offer to receive the rating "Recommended". The AOK also offers an online program for relatives and friends of those affected: The "Family Coach Depression" was developed by scientists from the Freiburg University Clinic for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy in cooperation with those affected and is intended to help relatives to better everyday life with a person suffering from depression deal with. The program is based on the content of psycho-educational courses, which have been shown to reduce the stress on relatives.

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