Men face many stigmas that prevent them from seeking treatment for their mental health. Many believe they must live with a constant state of mental instability. This negative mindset often causes some men to use substances as a coping mechanism. However, as professionals, we know this self-medication only causes more harm. Because stigmas prevent men from seeking addiction and mental health treatment, they are at a greater risk for adverse consequences. That is why reducing stigmas and encouraging men to feel empowered to seek treatment is vital.
Continue reading to learn how stigmas prevent men from seeking treatment and how clinical approaches, such as group therapy or gender responsiveness, offered by West Coast Recovery Centers can help men today.
Stigmas Surrounding Mental Health and Addiction
For decades, mental health and addiction were not discussed in society. It was an incredibly taboo subject, and while it can sometimes still be taboo today, more people are speaking out about their mental health struggles. Despite these brave souls sharing their stories, stigmas surrounding these topics remain, preventing people from seeking treatment.
Stigmas typically consist of inaccurate stereotypes that can harm groups of people. For example, those with mental health conditions may be labeled violent or unhinged. While some people can be, that is not the case for everyone struggling with a mental health disorder.
Unfortunately, society is not the only entity that enforces these inaccurate stereotypes. Many times, we impose them on ourselves. In addition to social and internal stigmas, individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) or mental health disorders often experience stigmas with professionals at work or within their personal cultures.
But what stigmas are impacting men specifically? What unique challenges do men experience when it comes to caring for their mental health or addictions?
Unique Challenges Experienced by Men
What some people may not realize is that there are gender differences when it comes to mental health and addiction. For example, men are typically more likely to use illicit drugs. Men have “higher rates of use or dependence on illicit drugs and alcohol than do women,” but they are also less likely to seek treatment. But why is that?
Men have habits of falling into self-destructive behaviors instead of seeking professional help when their mental health is at risk. That may not include all men, but it happens enough to be a recognizable pattern by professionals. Research also indicates that “depression and suicide are ranked as a leading cause of death among men.” So, while some statistics showcase that the prevalence of mental illness is lower within men, that is because a majority of them are not seeking proper treatment.
Men may refrain from seeking treatment for many reasons. However, the fact remains that stigmas can play a significant role in this prevention. People may not understand why, though.
Why Do Stigmas Prevent Men From Seeking Help for Their Mental Health and Addiction?
Men are more likely to develop alcohol use disorder (AUD) or SUD than women. They are also more likely to die from alcohol-related causes each year. However, stigmas prevent men from seeking help for their mental health and addiction for many reasons. Men are often raised to be unemotional. While the narrative surrounding this topic is slowly changing, the fact remains that for centuries, men were discouraged from embracing and expressing their emotions.
When we suppress complex emotions, our mental well-being suffers. Situations we think our under control can go awry, and many begin spiraling. Men need healthy coping skills to cope with mental illness, AUD, SUD, or life in general. However, because they fear being perceived as weak or are unable to communicate their struggles with others, learning these skills becomes even more challenging. Stigmas prevent men from seeking treatment because so many focus on appearing strong. But the consequences of doing so can be dire.
What Happens When Stigmas Prevent Men from Seeking Treatment?
When stigmas prevent men from seeking treatment, their mental illness and addiction quickly escalate. If untreated, SUD can wreak havoc on your life. For starters, several physical conditions may develop because of excessive alcohol or drug consumption. That includes heart problems, liver failure, and cancer.
Furthermore, untreated problems can also cause additional mental health conditions to develop. Thankfully, many clinical interventions can help initial and other disorders, including:
- Group therapy: Individuals can benefit from both co-ed and gender-specific group therapy. You can connect with and learn from other men in treatment for mental health conditions and SUD.
- Gender-responsive: Because men and women experience life differently, they experience gender-specific issues. West Coast Recovery Centers can take a gender-responsive approach to clinical treatment for you or a loved one.
- Communication styles: Lastly, you can learn specific communication styles to help improve communications, which is why education in communication style through gender-responsive groups is valuable.
Not seeking treatment because of stigmas can be dangerous, which we know from the research pertaining to depression and suicide rates among men nowadays. By reducing the stigma, we can hopefully create a society where men feel more comfortable seeking treatment for their mental health and addiction. Consider West Coast Recovery Centers today if you are a man struggling with mental health and addiction.
Men experience unique challenges regarding mental health and addiction. A primary challenge they face is how stigmas prevent men from seeking treatment for their mental health conditions or substance use disorder (SUD). Though statistics indicate that women are more prevalent to mental health conditions, research shows that most men do not seek treatment, and depression and suicide are the leading cause of death among men. Stigmas prevent men from seeking treatment because, for centuries, men have been taught to be strong, and asking for help may be perceived as a sign of weakness. But upon asking for help, several treatment options are available. To learn about these clinical treatments at West Coast Recovery Centers, contact us at (760) 492-6509 today.