Mental disorders can be the greatest leveler as they do not discriminate among the sufferers on the basis of age, gender, race, status, etc. But when it comes to stress, men are in a more despicable position than women.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says that more women are affected by depression than men across countries, including the United States. However, a recent study has revealed that stressful life events are more likely to trigger depression in men than in women. In fact, men are more prone to the depression-inducing effects of each additional stress event over long-term periods, the study said.
When looking at the data from a nationally representative study that examined the effects of psychological factors on the physical and mental health of individuals over time, the researchers found that men were 50 percent more affected by each life stressor.
The researchers studied the effects of stressful life events reported by men and women at the beginning of the study and compared them to their rates of depression 25 years later. They found that men were more than half likely to get affected by each life stressor on the risk of clinical depression.
Dealing with stress makes one habituated to it
The findings also matched with a previous study conducted in 2015 by the same researchers that had predicted that white men may have the most vulnerable to the effects of stress on depression, probably because they have a lower exposure to stress compared to any other demographic group. This belief also suggested that those who are constantly exposed to stress will become resilient to it or get habituated to stressors. Coping with stress all the time makes one used to it. This explains why white men with depression are more likely to kill themselves than women with depression.
Thus, the study brings to the fore the fact that people who lead the most privileged lives are also the most vulnerable to each additional stressors. They lack the innate ability to cope with stress, compared with those who are perennially under stress. Maybe, it is the price of living an easier, and therefore, less stressful life.
Men not willing to seek treatment
Another reason why men may be more vulnerable to the effects of stress is their reluctance to seek treatment for depression. For them, it is unmanly to talk about emotions or to seek help for an emotional problem. Such a belief is more prominent in developing countries where misogynist views are quite rampant.
Gender bias may influence the risk of depression in numerous ways, and it also determines the risk factor of exposure to adversity. It predicts the vulnerability of men to stress and whether they would go on to seek help for the same.
Recovery road map
Whatever be the reasons for making men more vulnerable to stress and emotional problems, one should not refrain from seeking help. People should not ignore the problem of depression when it develops as it could go on to become more complicated later.
No mental condition should be taken lightly, instead it should be treated with utmost urgency. When left untreated, symptoms could exacerbate for the worse, irrespective of whether it is a mild depression or a more serious disease like bipolar disorder.