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LETTER TO THE EDITOR
Re: Joyful Musings, October 2010 issue
I was gratified to read the article by Ms. Dunstan about Clinical Depression. She succinctly identified many hallmarks of this disease that can often be debilitating and painful.
I would like to expand a bit on the information that she presented in her article particularly as it concerns men. She noted that with depression, “women are affected at nearly twice the rate of men”. A very interesting and apparently conflicting statistic is the one comparing suicide rates in men and women. In the United States, men were three times more likely to commit suicide. As she stated, it is true that many more women are diagnosed with depression. However, this statistic is confounded by two factors. One is that women are much more likely to go for help. The second is that women are more likely to exhibit the “classic” DSM-IV (the diagnostic bible of psychiatry) symptoms of depression.
In my experience, men often deal with underlying mood disorders, depression or anxiety, very differently from women. They are more likely to self-medicate with alcohol or street drugs. They are more likely to exhibit difficulties with managing their anger and their aggression than with displays of sadness. Thus, they are much more likely to receive diagnoses related to addiction or anger management than diagnoses of a mood disorder.
I would add a final note to her advice. Certainly, chronic sadness is one sign that you should seek help but so is chronic anger and irritability. If you find that you cannot remember the last time you had a joyful moment, it may help to find out why.
Dr. Maritza Freyslinger
San Juan Cosalá