Men’s Health Month: Addiction and Mental HealthPat Fontana
June is Men’s Health Month, with Men’s Health Week being celebrated from June 14 through June 20 this year. Although we usually think about physical health during this time, it’s important to focus on other areas as well. Addiction and mental health are also very important aspects of men’s overall health.
Addiction and Mental Health Facts
Mental Health America shares some statistics and facts about mental health and substance use disorders in men that are important to be aware of during Men’s Health Month especially. In the US:
- Over 6 million men suffer from depression each year.
- Approximately 3.5 million people are diagnosed with schizophrenia. Ninety percent of those diagnosed by age 30 are men.
- Over 3 million men have a panic disorder, agoraphobia, or another type of anxiety disorder.
- Half of the 2.3 million adults with bipolar disorder are men.
- Males account for 10% of individuals with anorexia or bulimia and 35% of those with a binge-eating disorder.
- Approximately 1 in 5 men develop alcohol dependency during their lives.
- More than 4 times as many men as women die by suicide.
Men are less likely to seek help for stressful life events, depression, and substance abuse because of social norms, a reluctance to talk, and downplaying their symptoms.
Stressful Life Transitions
Stressful life transitions such as divorce or losing a job can lead men to engage in substance abuse more so than women. When a man feels loss and separation, they can become isolated and are less likely to talk about their feelings and their concerns. This sense of alienation and isolation may cause a man to feel as though his sense of purpose and meaning in life is lacking. However, rather than seek treatment for his addiction or mental health issue, he may just shrug it off or try to ignore it.
Mental Health Signs and Symptoms
The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that men experience different symptoms when they have a mental health disorder. Some of these signs may indicate that a man needs to seek treatment. The warning signs for a mental health issue for men include:
- Changes in sleeping habits, including difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
- Anger, aggressiveness, irritability
- Changes in mood and energy level
- Changes in eating habits and appetite
- Feeling restless and difficulty concentrating
- Increased feelings of stress or worry
- A sense of hopelessness or sadness
- Engaging in high-risk activities
- Behaviors or thoughts that interfere with daily activities and responsibilities
- Headaches or digestive issues
- Using and abusing alcohol and/or drugs
- Suicidal thoughts.
Addiction and Mental Health Findings
Men’s Health magazine conducted a survey in December 2020 and found that:
- 69% of the men participating said they considered alcohol to be addictive, 63% said the same about gambling, and 59% said recreational drugs were addictive. Though “workaholic” is now a common term, most of the people responding to the survey said they didn’t consider work to be addictive.
- 65% of survey respondents identified with at least one of three mental-health challenges. 58% identified with depression, 66% with anxiety, and 24% with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you have one of these mental health conditions, it increases your risk for addictive behaviors, which in turn may increase your risk of developing the mental health conditions.
- 75% of the survey participants stated they were close to someone who struggles with addiction, with extended family members accounting for 44% and close friends accounting for 40%.
- 7% of people surveyed said they wished someone would intervene in their addictive behaviors.
- 37% of the survey respondents have tried at least one type of treatment, with the most common being individualized counseling (15%).
It’s important to know that mental health treatment services are not on pause during the pandemic. Providers have adjusted to providing online counseling and there are a number of virtual 12-step meetings available. In fact, Ken Duckworth, M.D., chief medical officer for the National Alliance on Mental Illness, says that “some people would say that AA on Zoom is better because you can actually see one person at a time and you’re not as distracted.”
SOBER AUSTIN HAS THE RESOURCES YOU NEED
During Men’s Health Month and throughout the year, at Sober Austin, we want you to find the resources you need to address your addiction and mental health. We also understand that life can be even more challenging during the coronavirus pandemic. The dangers of denial are greater, though, so it’s important for you to know when it’s time to get help and how to get that help for your addiction.
Browse our site to learn more about finding support in Austin. Please feel free to contact us directly by calling 866-319-8865 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.