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Millions of men suffer from depression and don't know it

Millions of men suffer from depression and don't know it (WEAR TV)

PENSACOLA, Fla. (WEAR) - More than six million men a year struggle with depression, and that may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Watching from his comedy videos, you would never know “Johnny C” Alexander was suffering from depression.

"Society expects men to be strong. They expect men to have it altogether, so it's a sign of weakness if we have to go seek out help,” said Johnny C.

Many men don’t even know they have depression because the symptoms aren’t what they thought.

“Everybody thinks of depression. They think of the connotated definition of depression, ‘Oh, you’re just sad,'” he said. “This isn’t sadness. This is a fog inside your head. It’s a fog where you get to the point where you’re trapped in the fog of your own mind. You just get so angry at yourself and the world and the situation that you're in and it is soul-sucking.”

Depression in men can show up as fatigue, lack of motivation, aloofness, anxiety, anger, and even abusiveness. It can be masked by substance abuse or other risky behaviors.

Psychiatrist Dr. Venkata Sompalli said because depression is a disease of the brain, it touches every aspect of life.

“That means your feelings are affected, your thinking is affected, your judgement is affected, your intellect is also affected,” Dr. Sompalli said.

Sometimes, though not always, there are suicidal thoughts.

Dr. Sompalli said only a third of men who have depression get treatment.

"The main issue is the men that need most of the help are the least interested in it because of the cultural barriers,” Dr. Sompalli said.

Eight out of 10 cases can be successfully treated.

Johnny C manages his depression with medication and awareness of his symptoms. He hopes his honestly will open a door for other men.

"I've fought my own demons, I've been through my own, I've fought my own brain, maybe I can help somebody,” he said.

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