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The 5 Most Common Male Mental Health Disorders





May is National Mental Health Awareness Month. Millions of Americans are affected by one or more mental health disorders, and men are more likely than women to go undiagnosed and untreated. This occurs because societal norms pressure men to prioritize "emotional strength" from a young age, discouraging them from showing vulnerability, which is often perceived as "weakness" and unmanly. As a result, men are often reluctant to seek help from trained professionals for fear of being seen as weak.

In this article, I will explore the top 5 Mental Health Disorders among men, the common symptoms associated with each of them, and links to resources that can help you or loved ones in need. By raising awareness and having open and frank conversations about the state of our mental health we hope to reduce the stigma associated with Mental Health Disorders and encourage people to get the help they need and deserve.


The CDC  estimates that nearly 11% of all men experience some form of depression. However, the rate jumps to 15% among young men aged 18 to 25. Nearly half of all men feel more depressed than they're willing to admit and 45% believe  they can overcome depression on their own. These statistics speak volumes about the stigma still attached to mental health issues, especially among males. This stigma often leads men to suffer in silence, reluctant to reach out for support due to fears of being perceived as weak or incapable.

Furthermore, the belief held by highlights a significant barrier to seeking professional help. While self-reliance is commendable in many situations, mental health challenges like depression often require professional intervention and support networks to effectively manage and overcome,

Symptoms of depression vary from person to person and can include:

  • Prolonged Bad Moods: your thoughts weigh you down.
  • Anger increases: you are irritable and discontent, sometimes for no apparent reason.
  • You Engage in reckless behavior 
  • You turn to alcohol or other substances to "cope".
  • Your libido diminishes.
  • Fatigue and or difficulty sleeping.
  •  You experience persistent feelings of sadness and hopelessness.
  • You lose interest in activities you once enjoyed. 
  • You experience changes in appetite or weight, 

You have thoughts of suicide or self-harm.


Anxiety knows no boundaries when it comes to gender. Research suggests that about one in every five men experiences some form of anxiety. While Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) and Panic Disorder tend to affect women twice as often, rates of Social Anxiety and Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) remain similar across genders. Additionally, anxiety in men can heighten the risk of Substance Abuse Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD) manifests as persistent feelings of worry or apprehension, often without a clear trigger.

Social Anxiety entails an overwhelming fear of social situations, leading to excessive distress.

Panic Disorder involves recurrent episodes of intense physical symptoms of anxiety, such as chest pain and heart palpitations.

Performance Anxiety encompasses various scenarios, including Sexual Performance Anxiety, where concerns about performance hinder arousal, and concerns about presentations at work or public performances for musicians and actors.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) involves recurring unwanted thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) performed to alleviate anxiety.

Common symptoms associated with anxiety include:

  • A persistent sense of worry, apprehension, dread, or hopelessness
  • Feeling fearful, paranoid 
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Panic Attacks
  • Extreme stress
  • Mood swings
  • Low self-esteem
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Tension
  • Nausea
  • Increased heart rate or palpitations
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pains


Research indicates that men exhibit a higher propensity for substance abuse compared to women, encompassing drugs like marijuana, hallucinogens, and prescription painkillers. Men are also nearly twice as likely as women to engage in binge drinking a pattern of excessive alcohol consumption within a short period, which consistently leads to elevated rates of alcohol-related fatalities and hospitalizations among males.

This prevalence of substance abuse among men is often intertwined with societal norms that view drinking and other substance use as socially acceptable, even marking them as a "masculine rite of passage." Consequently, these behaviors are less frequently recognized as symptoms of underlying mental health conditions in men.

A study conducted jointly by Johns Hopkins University, the University of Minnesota, and the Bloomberg School of Public Health highlights that these societal attitudes contribute to a heightened risk of substance abuse among males, potentially leading to dependence on multiple substances. Notably, data from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) underscores that substance use disorder ranks among the most prevalent mental health disorders affecting men.  

Symptoms can vary depending on the substance but may include :

  • Cravings 
  • Tolerance
  • Withdrawal symptoms,
  • Neglecting responsibilities
  • Relationship problems.


Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a complex psychological condition that can profoundly affect individuals who have endured traumatic events, leaving lasting imprints on their mental and emotional well-being. While PTSD can manifest in anyone who has experienced trauma, it often takes a significant toll on men who have faced life-threatening situations or extreme adversity.

Men who have encountered harrowing experiences, such as combat situations, physical or sexual assault, or natural disasters, are particularly susceptible to developing PTSD. These experiences can shatter their sense of safety and security, triggering a cascade of distressing symptoms that persist long after the traumatic event has ended.

In combat scenarios, soldiers may witness the horrors of war, including death, injury, and destruction, leading to profound emotional scars. The constant threat to their lives, coupled with the pressure to remain vigilant and perform under extreme conditions, can overwhelm their coping mechanisms, leaving them vulnerable to PTSD.

Similarly, men who have been subjected to physical or sexual assault may struggle with feelings of powerlessness, shame, and fear long after the traumatic incident. The violation of their physical integrity and loss of control can fuel intense psychological distress, making it challenging to trust others or feel safe in the world.

Natural disasters, such as earthquakes, hurricanes, or tsunamis, can also trigger PTSD in men who have survived these catastrophic events. The sudden upheaval, loss of homes, and witnessing widespread devastation can destabilize their sense of reality, leading to symptoms of anxiety, hypervigilance, and intrusive memories.These symptoms can significantly impair daily functioning, strain relationships, and diminish quality of life if left untreated.

Symptoms may include:

  • flashbacks,
  • nightmares, 
  • hypervigilance, 
  • avoidance of triggers, 
  • mood swings
  • difficulty trusting others.


Although eating disorders are commonly linked with women, it's crucial to recognize that men also grapple with these conditions, albeit often underreported or misunderstood. Among the various eating disorders, men can experience anorexia nervosa, characterized by extreme calorie restriction and a distorted body image, as well as bulimia nervosa, involving cycles of binge eating followed by purging behaviors like vomiting or excessive exercise. Additionally, men may suffer from binge eating disorder, marked by recurrent episodes of consuming large quantities of food accompanied by feelings of loss of control. Despite societal perceptions, eating disorders do not discriminate based on gender, and understanding their manifestation in men is essential for effective identification and intervention. Factors such as societal pressure, body image ideals, trauma, and genetic predispositions can contribute to the development of these disorders in men, highlighting the importance of inclusive awareness and support systems.

Symptoms may include:

  •  preoccupation with food
  • distorted body image
  • extreme weight loss or gain
  • secretive eating habits, and purging behaviors.


It's essential for men to know that seeking help for mental health disorders is a sign of strength, not weakness. Whether through therapy, support groups, or online resources, there are many avenues for support and healing. By breaking the silence and reaching out for help, men can take the first steps toward improved mental well-being and a brighter future.

At ALPHX, our mission is to help men feel more comfortable in their own skin.  We believe being healthy is holistic and includes both body and mind.  Here's a list of resources that can offer support and assistance for men's mental health disorders:

  • Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

  • Shatterproof

  • The Trevor Project

  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: Provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, including prevention and crisis resources. Call: 1-800-273-TALK (1-800-273-8255).

  • Crisis Text Line: Offers free, 24/7 support for those in crisis. Text HOME to 741741 in the United States.

  • HeadsUpGuys: An online resource that provides information, tips, and support for men battling depression.

  • Man Therapy: A mental health campaign aimed at men, providing resources, information, and a humorous approach to breaking down stigma.

  • Veterans Crisis Line: Specifically for veterans, this service provides support for those in crisis. Call: 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, or text 838255.

  • Online Therapy Platforms: Websites like BetterHelp and Talkspace offer online therapy sessions with licensed professionals, which can be a convenient option for men who prefer privacy or have busy schedules.

  • Local Support Groups: Many communities have support groups specifically for men dealing with mental health issues. These can often be found through community centers, hospitals, or mental health organizations.

  • Books and Literature: There are many books and online resources dedicated to men's mental health, such as "I Don't Want to Talk About It" by Terrence Real and "The Mask of Masculinity" by Lewis Howes, which offer insights and strategies for coping with mental health challenges.

Remember, seeking help is a sign of strength, and it's important for men to prioritize their mental well-being just as much as their physical health.


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