Peer Counseling

    Symptoms of Depression in Men

    by Mary Calvagna. From

    Depression—once thought of as a woman's disease—is appearing
    more frequently in men. Nearly 20 million Americans suffer from
    depression each year; over six million of these sufferers are men.

    Male depression may include symptoms not normally thought of as
    the classic symptoms associated with depression. As a result,
    depression can be difficult to recognize in men, and doctors may be
    less likely to suspect depression as the cause of a man's
    complaints. In addition, men may not be willing to admit that they are
    feeling depressed.

    Symptoms Associated With Male Depression:

  • Using alcohol or drugs to self medicate
  • Working excessively long hours
  • Watching excessive amounts of television
  • Becoming irritable or angry
  • Becoming violent to himself or others
  • Creating conflict
  • Acting overtly or covertly hostile

    Classic Symptoms of Depression:

  • Persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that
    were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening, or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss, or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to
    treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders, and
    chronic pain

    Two-thirds of people who suffer from depression do not seek help. It
    is crucial, however, that depression be diagnosed and treated—
    untreated depression has been linked to suicide. Of those who seek
    treatment, 80% experience significant improvement and lead
    productive lives.

    Retrieved January 16, 2006 from http://www.beliefnet.

    Stress Management: Coping with Duality and Dichotomy in Law
    By Dr. Frank Kardasz, April 8, 2007

    Reflecting sadly upon the 1968 murder of Martin Luther King Jr.,
    Robert F. Kennedy said, "Let us dedicate ourselves to what the
    Greeks wrote so many years ago: to tame the savageness of man
    and make gentle the life of this world." The savageness to which the
    Greeks referred is part of the duality and dichotomy of the human
    condition. Duality is defined as the quality or character of being

    Dichotomy is simply the division into two contradictory parts.
    Humans sometimes experience opposing and conflicting character
    aspects, resulting in dichotomous displays of emotion. Personality
    and behavioral characteristics, tempered by self-control
    mechanisms, determine whether behavior will be ethical or
    unethical. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde are fictitious but extreme examples
    of behavioral duality and dichotomy.

    Regarding the dual instincts of man, Harold S. Kushner, author of
    "Living a Life that Matters" (p. 49) said:

    So what kind of people are we? Are we naturally good and
    pure until external circumstances compromise our
    goodness? Or are we naturally weak and deceitful, needing
    conscience or outside authority to keep us in line? My answer
    is that we are both. I see every human being as having good
    and bad tendencies, impulses to charity and impulses to
    selfishness, the desire to be truthful and the desire to lie.

    Internal psychological struggles occur between human basic
    instincts. Behavioral pathways towards aggression, greed, sexuality,
    substance abuse, depression and anti-social behavior can be
    impacted  by personal and situational factors, challenging our ability
    to maintain ethical conduct. Failure to restrain actions can lead to
    dysfunctions in social, family and professional life.

    Duality and dichotomy of conflicting emotions are often apparent in
    law enforcement situations. Consider for example, a fatal drunk-
    driving accident, where a first responder may experience intense
    sorrow for the mangled innocent victim, and alternating rage towards
    the uninjured impaired driver who caused the accident.

    Challenging situational and social conditions also influence
    behavior. Proper and ethical behavior is controlled by the ability to
    make logical decisions. Logic-based decision-making tools aid in
    selecting the proper course of conduct.

    Psychologists often describe an emotional "bucket" into which one
    deposits and accumulates stressful personal incidents. Unless
    effective stress management is practiced, the bucket fills and
    overflows. When the bucket overflows, the individual may react
    negatively. For example, the emotional bucket may fill when an
    accumulating series of traumatic events occur. Individuals who
    experience events such as bankruptcy, divorce, death of a loved one,
    and job-related traumatic incidents may reach an emotional overload

    The emotional "bucket" can fill quickly and unexpectedly. An officer
    on a busy shift may witness trauma, suffering and injustice several
    times each day: frustrated by an inability to stop the continuing
    unfairness, the emotional bucket overflows. The accumulated
    emotional strain may cause the officer to react. Post traumatic stress
    is a condition that can result from emotional overload.

    Law enforcement personnel are expected to adhere to high
    standards of conduct in accordance with their sworn code of ethics.
    Officers are particularly susceptible to emotional overload.  
    Cumulative and unmanaged stress can contribute to law
    enforcement misconduct when the individual's internal self-control
    mechanisms deteriorate.

    Stress management is important in maintaining balanced and
    healthy behavior. Without effective stress management for the
    release of emotional conflict, some form of misconduct may result.

    Ideally, an individual self-evaluates, monitors one's own emotions
    and participates in activities to release and reduce stress. Stress
    reduction activities may include exercise, proper nutrition, hobbies,
    family outings, fraternal or civic organizations, religion, meditation,
    and other appropriate techniques. Therapeutic stress-reduction
    activities are preferable to dysfunctional activities such as substance
    abuse, aggression, depression and anti-social acts that tend to
    result in added stress.

    Evidence of the untamed savageness of man is experienced daily by
    those who choose law enforcement as a career. Field officers
    witness firsthand the worst that mankind offers. The duality and
    dichotomy of the frail human condition persists, causing stress and
    psychological impact upon law enforcement employees.
    Understanding and coping with accumulating emotions and
    managing stress effectively helps towards maintaining ethical


    Kennedy. Robert. F. (1968, April 4). Statement on the assassination of
    Martin Luther King. Indianapolis,  Indiana. Retrieved October 20, 2007,

    Kushner, H. S. (2002). Living a Life that Matters. South Burlington,
    Vermont.: Anchor.

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