This week, during National Men’s Health Week, we celebrate men’s healthy bodies and minds, hard exercise, good diet, and regular visits to the doctor! Men can suffer from a number of mental and physical ailments, with some actually being unique to the gender. Common struggles men have related to their mental and physical health consist of depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, cancers, and heart disease. Included in this list are substance use disorders. All these problems can be exacerbated by the abuse of substances.
We talked with one of our trained addiction counselors at ShareHouse about men’s health and how the team at ShareHouse can help, especially during National Men’s Health Week. So, whether you are a man or just love one, take some time this week and learn how to keep the male body and mind in top shape!
- How often should men have a health checkup or physical?
It is ideal for men to seek physicals on an ongoing basis, dependent on their current biomedical issues and concerns. As a man ages, they should seek more regular checkups with their primary care provider to keep on top of any developing concerns.
- Why are men less likely than women to seek help for depression, substance abuse and stressful life events?
There is definitely a stigma behind men’s mental health, this intensifies relative to any cultural subsets a man belongs to where the stigma is normalized. There is the old age adage that ‘men don’t cry’ hence men do not show emotions, insinuating women must if men do not. Because of this, on average, men are less likely to seek help for mental health support and at times physical health concerns.
Interestingly, as an addiction counselor, I have seen more men ask for assistance for their substance use than women. One theory as to why is the law intervenes at a much higher rate on illicit behaviors linked to substance use than most other mental health concerns. For example, driving under the influence, an illegal behavior that can be common in active addiction as appose to any common behavior related to a mental health concern such as depression, a diagnosis where it is more difficult to think of a behavior related to the issues at hand that is illegal. Many times, the legal intervention provides two alternatives, therapeutic interventions such as treatment or imprisonment, there is a level of coercing on the legal entity’s part to enter treatment. The inverse stigma men face about other mental illnesses, such as depression, women face with illegal behavior related to substance use, ‘it is unladylike’ to commit crimes, therefore men might be more likely to complete illegal acts and be coerced into treatment. This is not to say women cannot or are not dependent on substances or do not commit illegal acts, it only suggests why more men seek professional help for substance use rather than other mental health concerns and the opposite seems to be true for women. The issues are still present for both men and women, it is just that our society stigmatizes men and women’s behavior differently.
- When should men seek help from ShareHouse?
Men should seek help from ShareHouse anytime they find themselves in the predicament of facing consequences from the law or other entities such as an employer. Though substance use does not have to get this bad, it is acceptable for men to find haven at ShareHouse on an earlier onset, when they or a loved one have an inkling of a concern. Addiction sneaks up on men, as part of the stigma mentioned above comes the attitude of “I can handle it”, a subjective attitude about one’s own substance use. If you or a loved one do have worries about substance use, at a minimum try something new, reach for help at ShareHouse.
- What are some ways you can observe National Men’s Health Week?
Be your own best man. Support yourself and other men to challenge one another in positive ways. Whether it relates to physical, spiritual, mental, or emotional health, find a way to grow in the direction you desire and deserve. If you always settle for what you get, you will always get what you have gotten.
ShareHouse wants to continue to be a resource to the community for mental health, addiction, and taking care of your body. This week we want to remind you that health is also about happiness! Take a walk, play a round of golf, take a nap, meditate. Do what makes YOU feel good! To learn more about ShareHouse’s services, visit our website at www.sharehouse.org or call our outpatient clinic at 701.478.8440!