One in three drink before going out

A RANDOM telephone survey of 300 men across Australia has revealed that many men still think that taking a mate to the pub, or telling him to put on a brave face, would be helpful to someone with depression.

The survey, commissioned by beyondblue: the national depression  initiative,  also revealed that many more men, who may unknowingly be experiencing an anxiety disorder, are likely to drink alcohol to boost their confidence when they go out.

A third of men aged 18 to 34 (33 per cent) said they’d ‘drunk alcohol to help them go out’, as did around a quarter of men aged 35 to 54 (23 per cent).

Around half of the men surveyed (51 per cent) said that they or someone in their family had experienced depression and more than three-quarters (77 per cent) said that the person with depression had sought help.

beyondblue Deputy CEO Dr Nicole Highet said: “It’s great news that so many men know that professional help is available, but not everyone knows what is helpful and that means many men don’t get the assistance they need.”

When asked about depression, just under a quarter of the respondents (22 per cent) thought it would be helpful to ‘take the person to the pub to help him forget his worries’. The same number said they thought it would also be helpful to tell the person to ‘put on a brave face and push on’.

“We’ve obviously still got more work to do on some attitudes – especially as 17 per cent of the men surveyed said they thought ‘people with depression who had jobs of high responsibility should quit’.

This indicates that many men still may not think depression and other mental health problems are treatable, in the same way that physical health problems like diabetes or asthma are treatable and manageable,” Dr Highet said.

Research shows around a million adults in Australia live with depression and over two million have an anxiety disorder.

On average one in five women and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime – and one in four people will experience an anxiety disorder.

Dr Highet said: “Encouragingly, just under half the men surveyed (40 per cent) recognised that anxiety is more common than depression. When asked where they would seek information about anxiety, half (50 per cent) said they would search the internet – and just over a quarter (27 per cent) said they would go to a doctor.

“Disappointingly, only around one fifth (19 per cent) of the respondents said they would seek professional help if they had an anxiety disorder and a slightly higher number (22 per cent) said they would talk to a family member,” she said.

beyondblue Clinical Adviser, Associate Professor Michael Baigent said he is very concerned that almost one in ten men surveyed (9 per cent) said they couldn’t leave the house for fear of having a panic attack and that so many reported drinking alcohol to help them go out.

“Anxiety disorders can severely disrupt people’s lives, but they are very treatable and people should be aware that you don’t have to put up with it. A doctor can help.

“Research shows that more than half the people with depression are likely to have a co-existing anxiety disorder.

And when it comes to either trying to help yourself or your mates deal with anxiety or depression, alcohol is not the answer.

“When men use alcohol to try to avoid anxiety, it’s more likely they’ll become dependent on alcohol in the long-term and that the anxiety will get worse.

They can also put themselves in a very dangerous situation by drinking alcohol as people with anxiety also frequently have suicidal thoughts. This fact alone emphasises how important it is to get help,” he said. 



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