Harvard Men's Health Watch

Men: Don't ignore signs of depression

Anger or aches and pains can hide underlying depression. Seek prompt treatment to protect your heart and mind.

Most people think of depression as persistent sadness or "down" feeling. But the blues can come in different colors in men. Depression may also show itself as irritability and angry outbursts, or physical aches and pains. "A man with depression is more likely to practice denial of feelings, often trying to mask them with other behaviors," says Dr. Gregory Fricchione, director of the Division of Psychiatry and Medicine at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

A doctor can offer options for treating depression, such as antidepressant medications or counseling, but only if men ask for help. For mild to moderate depression, antidepressant medication, in combination with talk therapy such as cognitive behavior therapy or interpersonal therapy, can start to turn things around within a few months. Then, regular exercise can help to keep your mood afloat.

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