1. Alcohol and Other Drugs - Men are more prone to substance abuse, according to researchers. Our culture socializes men to avoid emotional expression, and sometimes they turn to alcohol and other drugs to suppress emotion.
2. Depression - Women are more prone to bouts with depression. Whereas men tend to deal with stress through externalizing problems (substance abuse, aggression, “acting out” behaviors), women tend to deal with stress by internalizing problems (low self-worth, depression, anxiety).
3. Eating Disorders – Women comprise about 90% of the eating disorder population. However, numbers of men with eating disorders are growing, particularly with Binge Eating Disorder. The proposed diagnosis of Muscle Dysmorphia is also more common in men.
4. Psychiatric Medications - According to a study completed in 2000, women are more likely to use psychiatric medications compared to men. This finding could be linked to men having difficulty asking for help.
When dealing with a mental illness, taking into consideration the person’s gender can prevent a misdiagnosis and can facilitate individualized treatment. Men and women tend to deal with stress differently, and we have lots to learn about how gender affects mental health. What we do know is that men and women have trouble understanding each other!