Similar to many other ailments, mental health problems affect both men and women. However, the
scientific literature shows an evident prevalence of mental illness in women and lower incidence in men.
That is why some people think that men do not suffer from common problems such as depression or
eating disorders. Is that the case?
In this article, we are going to cover the topic of mental health in men. We will name and briefly describe
the most common mental disorders affecting men, and give you a series of warning signs and symptoms
you should be aware of.
Mental health problems in men
It is commonly believed that mental health problems affect a higher number of women than men, and it is
true. However, something must be happening with statistics because men are more likely to die by suicide
compared to women. There’s a simple explanation to this apparent inconsistency: Men are more likely to
be underdiagnosed and incorrectly treated.
They are less likely to look for professional help when they suffer from problems such as depression and
anxiety. Even major disorders that may compromise their social and working life are not appropriately
diagnosed, as it happens with post-traumatic stress disorders.
Moreover, there are certain diseases and mental health conditions that are more likely to happen in men
compared to women. This is a list of the most common mental health problems in men:
- Attention-Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): This disorder includes symptoms of
hyperactivity, inattention and impulsivity, and it is commonly diagnosed in children and more
common in boys. However, even adult men have been diagnosed with ADHD because during their
infancy there were not enough diagnostic tools to understand their behaviour and learning
- Autism Spectrum Disorder: It is associated with a significant genetic predisposition, and it affects
plenty of boys. Autism Spectrum Disorder is a very wide term that includes higher functioning
forms of autism such as Asperger’s syndrome and more severe cases of autistic disorder.
- Obsessive-compulsive disorders: There are many adults with obsessive-compulsive disorder,
characterised by obsessive thoughts that won’t go away until you do something in particular to
relieve it (which is clinically called compulsion).
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): Popular cases of PTSD include males who served in the
army and came back home with traumatic and gruesome memories that changed their
personalities and the way they interact with their loved ones. However, there are many varieties
and causes of PTSD to consider, and it is not rare in males.
- Anxiety disorder: Men are commonly exposed to working environments and places where stress
and anxiety are widespread. As a result, men experience many forms of anxiety, and sometimes
they are not able to deal with them appropriately.
Warning signs and early symptoms
As you can see, mental health problems are not only a woman’s concern. There are many other ailments
to list and describe, including schizophrenia, eating disorders, substance abuse, and borderline
personality. However, we can be aware of them and prevent their consequences by keeping an eye on a
series of signs and symptoms that may serve as a warning:
- Sudden and unexplained irritability and anger: Mood swifts and having negative feelings without
any apparent cause should be assessed by a mental health professional. You may need to rule out
diagnoses such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, PTSD, and much more.
- Unexplained changes in appetite or energy levels: You should probably look for justification if
there are unexplained changes in the way your body behaves and how this affects your daily life. If
you’re having constant changes in your energy levels and appetite, consider talking to a
- Recurrent sleeping problems: Sleeping disturbances increase the risk of mental health problems
in men and women, and it is sometimes a serious problem by itself.
- Suicidal thoughts: They are often underdiagnosed or not reported, but they are probably the most
critical warning signs given the higher prevalence of suicide in men.
- Obsessive or unusual thinking: Look for professional help if you have recurrent thoughts you can
handle or if your thoughts or actions are causing concern to your loved ones or problems at work.
- Flat emotions: Men are not as emotional as women, but their emotions are not flat, either. If you
have serious problems experiencing positive emotions, report this unusual problem to your
doctor, even if it is not yet giving much trouble as far as you’re concerned.
Why is it more challenging to treat men with mental health problems?
As we mentioned in the first paragraphs of this article, men with mental health problems are probably
underdiagnosed because they do not seek professional help so often. This is not only an assumption; this
claim is backed up with scientific evidence that consistently indicates how men seem more reluctant than
women to seek professional help, even when they have clear mental health concerns.
Even governments and organizations have realized this trend and tried to impulse special campaigns and
give men more access to mental health services. However, even policies trying to raise men’s awareness
of mental health issues have not reached a conclusive end in some cases. It is difficult to fight against
social stigma and beliefs that men are not allowed to hold or express certain emotions or accept their
vulnerability and their need for communication and understanding by a psychologist.
Men also have more difficulty than women to engage in some parts of the psychological treatment, and it
is more difficult to reach a therapeutic relationship. Thus, they commonly drop out mental health services
and avoid any future contact with these professionals as a result of a bad experience in the past.
As shown in this article, mental health problems are not only experienced by women. Plenty of men have
concerning signs and symptoms, and they would have various consequences if not properly addressed.
Men are not less masculine if they look for professional help. On the contrary, doing so will guarantee a
significant improvement in how they face their everyday challenges and the level of satisfaction in their