Psychology Today

Economic Crisis Hits Men Harder

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Author of "Male Menopause" and "The Irritable Male Syndrome," psychotherapist Jed Diamond has made a name for himself by focusing on the angst of the modern male. His Web site,, and online counseling business have recently seen a surge in users. Freelance writer Sindya N. Bhanoo asked Diamond whether the country's sagging economy is taking a greater toll on men than on women -- and if so, why.

Excerpts of their conversation follow:

Q So, what is male menopause? Does it really exist?

A Male menopause is a change of life for men that has a hormonal basis but [also] has psychological, interpersonal, social and spiritual aspects to it. Another way to think of it is to think of puberty, but [this is] a transition between first adulthood and second adulthood.

So it's similar to female menopause?

Many of the symptoms are the same, or similar, particularly the emotional ups and downs. Although hot flashes and night sweats are less common in men than in women, they are present. The [symptoms] that are the most common include loss of sexual functioning, erectile dysfunction and loss of libido. Irritability and anger and loss of energy are also common.

And what about male irritability syndrome? When does that occur?

Well, we looked at irritability, anger and depression in men. There were two main times when it was most common, between [the ages of] 15 and 25 and then again when men were between 40 and 55.

The four main causes are stress, hormonal shifts and changes in brain chemistry, and changes in male identity and male roles.

The unemployment rate is 7.6 percent; could this be worsening the symptoms of male menopause and prompting irritable male syndrome?

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