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Brain Illnesses Found in Men & How to identify them

June is not just another month—it's Men's Mental Health Awareness Month, a time to shed light on the unique challenges men face in managing their mental well-being. Despite progress in destigmatizing mental health discussions, many men still suffer in silence, hesitant to seek help due to societal expectations of stoicism and self-reliance. In this blog post, we'll delve into the significance of Men's Mental Health Awareness Month and explore the top five mental health illnesses found in men.

Why Men's Mental Health Matters:

Men's mental health is a critical issue that often goes overlooked. Societal pressures to conform to traditional notions of masculinity can prevent men from acknowledging their struggles and seeking support. As a result, men are disproportionately affected by mental health conditions, leading to devastating consequences such as suicide and substance abuse. By raising awareness and fostering open conversations about men's mental health, we can break down barriers and ensure that men receive the care and support they deserve.

The Top Five Brain Illnesses Found in Men:

1. Depression: Despite common misconceptions, depression affects men as frequently as women. However, men may be less likely to recognize and seek help for depressive symptoms, leading to undiagnosed and untreated depression. Like many other health related issues men usually wait till the very last minute to get treatment.

2. Anxiety Disorders: Anxiety disorders, including generalized anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder, and panic disorder, are prevalent among men. Men may experience symptoms such as excessive worry, irritability, and physical discomfort, yet may be hesitant to seek professional help. They always tend to wait until there is “pain”. Very similar to heart disease they always wait until there is already platform in the heart or a heart attack to then start making changes to their lifestyle.

3. Substance Use Disorders: Men are more likely than women to engage in risky substance use behaviors, leading to higher rates of substance use disorders. Substance abuse can be both a cause and a consequence of mental health issues in men, creating a cycle of dependence and distress. This is the real “toxic relationship” that many men face today and they have a hard hard time letting go of that “toxic girlfriend”.

4. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): Men are at increased risk of experiencing traumatic events, such as combat exposure, accidents, or violence. As a result, they may develop PTSD, characterized by intrusive memories, hypervigilance, and emotional numbness. PTSD can have profound effects on men's mental health and quality of life. A lot of the time they’re not even realizing that they are PTSD symptoms because they never even acknowledge the fact that they experienced traumatic events. This happens quite often, mainly because they believe that by “toughing it up“ they are going to surpass their internal struggles, but unfortunately is usually too late.

5. Suicide: Tragically, men account for the majority of suicide deaths worldwide. Societal expectations of strength and resilience may prevent men from seeking help when they are in distress, leading to a higher risk of suicide. It's crucial to recognize the warning signs of suicide and provide support to men who may be struggling.


10 Steps to Identify Mental Health Issues in Men:

1. Recognize Changes in Behavior: Pay attention to any significant changes in a man's behavior, such as increased irritability, withdrawal from social activities, or changes in sleep patterns. this is what I call the aggressive puppy at the dog shelter. They are typically hurt. Therefore they’re going to fight back with aggression and irritability so a lot of the time who is inside is a small puppy very fearful.

2. Notice Physical Symptoms: Be mindful of physical symptoms that may indicate underlying mental health issues, such as headaches, digestive problems, or unexplained aches and pains. These types of symptoms, usually go unnoticed or even mentioned by most men because again at the fear of being seen as weak. Another thing that they tend to do, is blame other other factors for those physical symptoms, and not realize that there is a connection with brain health and your senses specially the sense of physical pain.

3. Listen to What They're Saying: Take note of what a man is saying or not saying. Are they expressing feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or worthlessness? Are they making statements about feeling overwhelmed or unable to cope? by the time this happens, we are already in the chronic phase because that’s when they’re actually trying to speak up, but this is the way that they do it with certain phrases and quotes the sound different from things that they would normally say.

4. Pay Attention to Substance Use: Monitor alcohol or drug use, as excessive substance use can be a sign of self-medication for underlying mental health issues. When there’s a sudden increase in substance use, to me as a psychiatrist, that is a sign of the beginnings of a brain health disorder. They’re typically trying to self medicate their anxiety or their depressive symptoms, not knowing that that substance is making those symptoms worse. For example, downers like alcohol, marijuana, and nicotine, tend to be used by men who are suffering from anxiety disorders, and the way of self-medicating.

5. Consider Changes in Work or School Performance: Notice any decline in work or school performance, including increased absenteeism, difficulty concentrating, or decreased productivity. A lot of the times this is when men come to visit my office, complaining of poor concentration and poor work performance and a lot of the times they leave after that initial evaluation surprised that they have a mood disorder because it was something that they had even realize that they were experiencing. Typically when I describe the symptoms of major depressive disorder, then is when they realize that they are having depressive and anxiety symptoms.

6. Assess Relationship Dynamics: Look for changes in relationship dynamics, such as increased conflict with family members or friends, or withdrawal from social connections. This is very similar to the aggressive puppy in the corner always think when they are becoming aggressive and angry for the smallest thing they are hurting deep inside. At times, this could also be from my brain injury that they experience many years ago. Something that you can see on brain spec imaging something we do at Amen Clinics.

7. Evaluate Coping Mechanisms: Evaluate how a man is coping with stress or adversity. Are they engaging in healthy coping mechanisms, such as exercise or seeking support, or are they using unhealthy coping strategies, such as avoidance or aggression?

8. Be Aware of Risk Factors: Understand common risk factors for mental health issues in men, including a history of trauma or abuse, family history of mental illness, chronic stress, or significant life changes. this is usually better addressed by a professional, it will be hard for a loved one to dive in and ask these kinds of questions and I really don’t recommend it because it could be triggering and damaging towards that relationship so leave that in the hands of a Professional.

9. Consider Cultural and Societal Influences: Recognize the impact of cultural and societal norms on men's mental health, including expectations around masculinity, emotional expression, and help-seeking behavior.

10. Trust Your Instincts: If you have concerns about a man's mental health, trust your instincts and reach out to offer support and assistance. Your intervention could make a significant difference in their well-being.


Men's mental health awareness month serves as an important reminder of the unique challenges men face when it comes to mental health. By understanding the signs and symptoms of mental health issues in men and providing support and resources, we can help break down stigma and ensure that all men have access to the care they need. This June, let's shine a light on men's mental health and work towards a future where all men can thrive.


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