Many different issues confront people regardless of their gender, age, ethnicity, social level, or any other classification. Other issues may be unique to men or confront them in unique ways. Sometimes people struggle silently with issues without recognizing that they may be struggling with a diagnosable condition that can be treated.
Going to a mental health professional for a proper assessment and diagnosis can save you from years of struggling with something you don’t have to.Some of the more common issues that confront men are in the following areas:
- Relationships with one’s spouse, children, colleagues. Being able to communicate effectively helps relationships to flourish, and one may struggle to listen and communicate, leading to relationship difficulties.Men may also struggle in maintaining their relationship with God as it gets crowded out by concerns such as finances and their identity gets rooted in their work and accomplishments.
- Mental health concerns, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, body image issues, eating disorders, and suicidal thoughts or attempts. Though men may attempt suicide less than women, their attempts are more likely to be fatal due to the means they use.
- Reproductive health concerns such as sexual impotence, which has physiological and other dimensions
- Midlife crisis concerns, and the challenges associated with aging and coming to terms with one’s mortality, facing unrealized goals, and an impending loss of function in retirement.
- Stress, whether induced by pressures from work, financial problems, strained family and other personal relationships, and so on.
- Personal and professional development. Many men want to advance in their careers and personal lives, and obstacles come up in those areas. Lacking fulfillment in these areas, not meeting goals, not having a set direction in one’s personal and professional life, may cause consternation and need to be addressed.Other concernsare tied to relationships and identity. Work can become a source of identity for a man, causing problems in their relationships and creating an idol out of work.
- Anger management. While anger and irritability are certainly not the preserve of men, it is one of the more socially acceptable emotions for men to display. Men feel angry, sad, lonely, heartbroken, etc., but they are socialized to express and understand anger more easily. Anger may also function as a cover for other emotions, and it also manifests as one of the symptoms of mental health issues such as depression.
- Addiction takes many forms and one can be addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs. Socialization can normalize substance use. Other addictions that may affect men (although not exclusively) are addictions to sex and pornography.According to the American Psychological Association, various international studies have put porn consumption among men at 50%-99%, and 30%-86% among women. Though pornography addiction is not an official diagnosis according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of mental disorders (DSM-5), the ubiquity of pornography and the struggle of many to quit can make it a problem in relationships.
- Intimacy and bonding. Being able to connect with others emotionally and be vulnerable can be a struggle for men. This may be a result of abandonment, trust, or other issues.
- Making friends can be challenging for many men, and that can lead to loneliness. Additionally, the desire not to burden others in their life can leave them feeling isolated and going it alone.
These and many other issues confront men and challenge their ability to navigate life well and flourish.