November 01, 2017
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Study explores best practices for treating depression in men

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Zac E. Seidler

An action-oriented functional treatment with targeted goals was the most engaging treatment style among men with depression, according to recent findings.

“A lot more of men now seek help but many aren't engaging with their treatment and therefore don't stay as long as they should,” Zac E. Seidler, BS, of the University of Sydney, said in a press release. “With available data suggesting many men who commit suicide seek professional help beforehand, this is a critical period in many people's lives, and one we ought to be getting right.”

To develop strategies for improved engagement with men receiving treatment for depression, researchers conducted individual, semi-structured interviews among 20 men aged 23 to 64 years who received psychotherapy for depressive symptoms in the past 3 years.

Men reported preference for a transparent orientation to treatment, including a clear structure for therapy.

Preferred structure included focusing on individual goals and expected progress, establishing trust and sharing decisional control.

Men reported an action-oriented functional treatment with targeted skills attainment was most engaging.

Focusing on “doing” in treatment, distinct from talk therapy, produced feelings of strength and empowerment among men, which bridged self-management of symptoms and wellness.

The majority of the cohort did not receive a treatment style that properly engaged them and reported clear recommendations for necessary changes.

“This perceived unstructured approach juxtaposed the action-oriented, functional treatment these men were seeking,” Seidler said in the release. “It would be more appropriate to use masculine traits like risk-taking and wanting to regain strength to our advantage. Men tend to want an idea of how treatment is going to work from the outset, a structured plan for working towards recovery, the power to gain skills that help them deal with depression and to feel in control of their lives.” – by Amanda Oldt

Disclosures: Please see the study for all other authors’ relevant financial disclosures.