Mental health statistics show a growing disparity between the rate at which men and women seek treatment. There are numerous reasons for this, but perhaps the biggest obstacle men face is the stigma surrounding mental health struggles. Men prefer not to talk about their feelings over worries that they’ll seem weak, which can lead to their mental health problems going unnoticed. To get a better understanding of these issues, let’s discuss different treatment options and how they can help men recover.
Mental Health Issues in Men
Even when men and women have similar issues, they have different experiences regarding that specific mental disorder. Therefore, it’s quite common for a disorder to look different in men versus women. Men are more likely to exhibit symptoms like aggression, irritability, and, most commonly, substance abuse. Some of the common reasons why men develop mental health issues include unemployment, relationship problems, major life transitions like having a baby, and financial worries.
According to the APA, over 6 million men struggle with depression, but very few seek treatment. Surveys show that men are far less likely than women to get mental health treatment. In fact, they’re also less likely to talk about their mental health problems with friends or family members.
Mental Health Treatment Options for Men
While mental health treatment options are similar for men and women, therapists take a different approach when helping male clients. That’s because men have different life experiences that shape their perception of the world. Not to mention, they may be less trusting of healthcare professionals in some cases. Mental health treatment by United Recovery offers the following:
Because men are more likely to deal with mental health struggles on their own, it’s rare for them to seek therapy. Even when they do, they prefer quick solutions rather than time-consuming sessions. Therefore, mental health practitioners prescribe medications to increase the efficacy of the treatment process. Pharmacotherapy also makes men more receptive to therapy, which ensures positive results in the long run. Men may receive a prescription for antidepressants, antipsychotics, mood stabilizers, or anti-anxiety medication depending on their diagnosis.
Often, men have a hard time opening up about their feelings, so individual psychotherapy provides an opportunity to practice. Therapists work on building a rapport with you, which allows you to form a trusting relationship. Gradually, men feel more comfortable talking about their symptoms and, depending on the therapist’s approach, about life events that may have contributed to the issue.
The private and confidential setting of individual psychotherapy encourages men to be honest about their feelings. And because they’ve formed a rapport with their therapist, they feel comfortable receiving feedback.
Men with mental health struggles have a tendency to isolate themselves when faced with difficult symptoms. Even when they do interact with peers, they may use unhelpful methods to cope with negative emotions. Group therapy provides a community environment where they can interact with other men facing mental health struggles.
It’s where men can bond over shared issues regarding relationships, work, and family and realize they’re not alone. One of the benefits is that you can speak up about your struggles with people who understand you. Secondly, you learn about how others cope with mental health concerns and can try similar techniques. Most importantly, it offers a support network where you can seek guidance and build coping skills.
Because of gender norms and societal expectations, men are under immense pressure to pursue a successful career, earn a living, and keep their families happy. These can lead to various mental health struggles like depression, but most men end up hiding these thoughts from their families.
In family therapy, the therapist invites the client’s family to attend and participate in a session. During the session, men can open up about their struggles with their families. It’s also a suitable opportunity to psychoeducate family members about the client’s mental health concerns.
Your therapist will also speak to your spouse, parents, siblings, or children about the symptoms you may experience and how they’ll affect your behavior. Since men have a tendency to drop out of therapy prematurely, your therapist will guide your family on how they can support you. When your loved ones are part of your mental health journey, they ensure that you stay on the path to recovery, which ensures better outcomes.
Statistics show that men are 50 percent less likely to seek medical attention than women and have poorer mental health literacy. Consequently, they engage in relaxation therapies less frequently. Holistic treatment involves the use of wellness techniques like therapeutic massage, yoga, and acupuncture. Such measures enhance relaxation and alleviate stress, which reduces the intensity of symptoms.
As mentioned above, men have a higher rate of dropping out of therapy after attending a few sessions. This can reduce the efficacy of the treatment process and undo the progress that you make with your therapist. Residential treatment programs are designed to provide men with a relaxed environment where they can focus on recovering.
This mode of treatment can increase adherence because the environment reduces the risk of exposure to stressful situations. It also eliminates other worries that prevent men from concentrating on therapy.
The best programs combine evidence-based treatments such as psychotherapy and holistic treatments. These are combined with an emphasis on exercise, recreation, and healthy coping methods to ensure better functioning later on.
Dual Diagnosis In Men
Statistics show that substance abuse rates are higher among men than women. One of the reasons for this is the use of illicit substances and alcohol as a way to cope with mental health struggles. Consequently, more men have a co-occurring substance use disorder and require dual diagnosis treatment.
Having a dual diagnosis refers to being diagnosed with a co-occurring mental disorder and substance use disorder. Consequently, you receive treatment for both concerns to prevent the cycle from perpetuating.
Stigma Surrounding Men’s Mental Health
Men face different types of mental health-related stigma, such as cultural, professional, social, and self-stigma. The most common is social stigma, which refers to the disapproval of people with mental disorders. This negative attitude comes from the faulty perception that people develop mental illnesses because they’re ‘weak.’
It can cause men to internalize this stigma and feel ashamed about their symptoms. Unfortunately, stereotypes in the media can reinforce this stigma and prevent men from seeking the help they need. There’s a need for strategic initiatives to reduce the effects of such stigma and encourage men to speak up about their mental health struggles.