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21 Jan 2017

'Depression makes men helpless and women hopeless'

Priyanka Dasgupta | TNN | Jan 20, 2017,Priyanka Dasgupta | TNN | Jan 20, 2017,KOLKATA: Men want a quick fix and women want to talk about their feelings. This is one of the findings of a recent study that was presented at the annual conference of the British Psychological Society's Division of Clinical Psychology in Liverpool. Incidentally, psychologists in Kolkata have also noticed a similar trend when it comes to dealing with depression between men and women.
Incidentally, John Barry of University College London, who co-authored the study, had said that despite the fact that men commit suicide at three to four times the rate that women do, men don't seek psychological help as much. Barry had analysed that this could be because the types of treatment on offer are less appealing to men because many psychological interventions are more about talking than about fixing problems. Such a finding gains relevance in the context of the death of class-XI student Samprit Banerjee who had posted a goodbye message on Facebook on Wednesday night before he was found hanging. The boy is suspected to have taken his own life as he was upset over being rebuked for his poor performance in his half-yearly examination.
According to Dr Jairanjan Ram, co-founder of Mental Health Foundation, experience has shown him that it is a very tough task to get young male adults to attend therapy sessions. "Those between adolescence and 35 years don't want to look at depression as a problem," Ram said. Men, Ram said, are never good at expressing their feelings. "They don't tend to deal well with emotional problems. They would rather attribute their depression to practical problems and resist from talking about them," Ram added.
In Kolkata, the further problem that men with depression face is the acute crunch of male therapists to help them out. "Finding a male therapist in Kolkata is like finding gold dust. Men often don't want to reveal their vulnerable side to women therapists," he analysed.
Kolkata-based psychologist Shubhika Singh, who is also a member of British Psychological Society, said that societal norms predisposes men to appear strong than women. "Men are supposed to be strong and society expects them to deal with their own problems. In cases of depression, men appear helpless. Women, in contrast, appear to be hopeless," Singh said.
Incidentally, men and women also have different ways of coping with depression. While women first talk and then tend to bottle up their emotions, men are more into externalising their problems. "They take to alcoholism and even get destructive. Women, in contrast, would be more withdraw," Ram pointed out.
Singh has come across cases of depressed men who have gravitated towards substance use. Their frequency of drinking and smoking has increased. "They also engage more in virtual relationships. Women will first try and reach out to friends and family members. But soon after, they then get inside a cocoon. Some use food as comfort which results in weight gain. The fact that people then start pointing out to their weight gain makes the situation worse. It only elongates their tryst with depression."
Does a man take lesser time to get rid of depression? "We can't generalise that. At the end of the day, recovery depends on the willingness of a person to overcome depression," Singh concluded.

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