How to help your partner who has depression
It can be hard to be in a relationship with someone with depression. Also, depression can make someone more irritable, angry, or withdrawn. The symptoms of depression may lead to more arguments, frustration, or feelings of alienation. Although depression can be challenging, most people want to do what they can to help.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Mental illness consumed my marriage -- until this epiphany
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Depression in Men
Home Mental Health Depression. Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This illness erodes emotional and sexual intimacy and suffuses a relationship with pessimism and resentment, anger and isolation, she explains.
Not sure if your spouse is depressed? And trying to fight or make peace with this often misunderstood illness on your own raises risks for both of you. The longer a non-depressed spouse lives with a depressed partner, the higher his or her own risks for depression, the researchers found.
The deeper a depressed spouse sinks, the tougher it may be to finally treat the depression—and the greater the risk for alcoholism, drug abuse, violence, and even suicide, according to the Department of Health and Human Services HHS. The stakes are high, but the odds are that things will improve. An estimated 19 million Americans are currently going through depression.
But there was an unexpected ray of hope: One in four said depression had a positive outcome for their marriages. But when you do, your chances for significant improvement are 80 to 90 percent. Almost everyone gets some relief. These are 17 other facts psychologists wish people knew about depression. Genetic predisposition, or a family history of mental illness, can make some people more susceptible than others to depression; any number of factors can trigger the slide, including prolonged or severe stress, financial problems, a big loss or change in your life, the birth of a child, parenthood, and even some health conditions and prescription drugs, Walfish says.
Up to half of all women and men in unhappy marriages may be depressed, perhaps due to marriage problems , the researchers added. Though it may be a case of chicken-and-egg, as undiagnosed depression can cause relationship problems too, Walfish adds. If you think your partner may be depressed, your first step is to pay attention to the clues—and help him or her get a diagnosis and treatment. These steps can help. Depression can come on slowly, almost imperceptibly.
They may feel too lethargic or withdrawn or may think they can fix it alone. Depression may be the reason your spouse is working extremely long hours, drinking too much, using recreational drugs, or looking for thrills in risky activities. It can also look different in men and women, she adds. Letting a depressed person sink low before offering help is an old-school approach borrowed from the early days of alcohol and drug addiction treatment. But the reasoning behind it is flawed and dangerous.
Long-term depression is harder on your marriage, tougher to treat, and more likely to recur—plus, it leaves its victim in despair, Walfish says. The most chilling risk: It leaves open the very real possibility of suicide. About 60 percent of people who attempt suicide have major or minor depression or another mood disorder—and depressed men are four times more likely than depressed women to take their own lives, according to the National Institutes of Mental Health.
You deserve to feel better. Next week, I can go on Wednesday or Friday. Dozens of health conditions—including heart disease, diabetes, lupus, viral infections, and chronic pain —can trigger the same symptoms as depression, Walfish notes. So can scores of prescription medications, including some birth-control pills and drugs that treat acne, herpes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and cancer.
You need an ally in the room. Up to 80 percent of people report seeing an improvement within four to six weeks of starting treatment, according to statistics from the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance. Usually, the road back is relatively simple: antidepressants, counseling, or a combination of the two, they report.
That said, recovery may take time and patience, Walfish says. There may be an initial trial-and-error period while you try various antidepressants or see whether various therapy techniques, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy and interpersonal counseling, are helpful. Thinking about starting therapy?
The results are worth it. Depression affects both of you—and your whole family. The Lowes suggest finding a therapist or counselor who has worked with depression in couples. Read books, check out websites, ask your doctor about advances in treatment and understanding of this illness. The more you know, the better you can cope and fight. Both spouses should also stay alert for signs that the illness is returning, Walfish adds. Caring for a depressed spouse can be lonely, overwhelming, and emotionally draining, she says.
You may blame yourself, feel helpless, grow pessimistic, lose your sense of humor, and even consider leaving. Then I would feel really guilty and try to make up for it by taking on more and more around the house. Then I would get angry all over again. These steps can help the non-depressed spouse stay well—and protect your marriage and your family while helping a depressed partner.
Use your love to get help and to remind your partner of his or her intrinsic worth during this challenging time, Walfish advises. Seeing it this way can allow both of you to talk about its effects without blame or shame. This shift in thinking can clear the air. Depression was the elephant in the room that no one wanted to talk about, and I felt even guiltier.
Seeing it as the intruder was an accurate perspective. So can accepting help. We had people bringing us dinner several nights a week. One neighbor took our sons to spend the night, and it was so nice to know they were having fun. Depression can suck the energy right out of a household. You may conclude that you must leave to save yourself.
If this sounds familiar, get help for yourself—and insist that your mate do the same. Depression can wreak major havoc in your marriage. But looking for major changes while your spouse is under the influence of depression may simply create more frustration. Focus on lifting depression first. If your spouse has depression, you still deserve everyday niceties—a neat house, regular meals, a calm family environment—as well as friendships, a social life, and time to pursue meaningful interests, Walfish says.
Use these tips to find a hobby you love. As much as possible, pursue these things. As we noted, you are susceptible to depression too. Pursuing your personal pleasures will not only help prevent that but also better prepare you for aiding your spouse. We are no longer supporting IE Internet Explorer as we strive to provide site experiences for browsers that support new web standards and security practices.
Share on Facebook. Save on Pinterest. Tweet this. Search terms Search form submit button. Sign Up for Our Free Newsletter. Newsletter Sign Up. Sari Harrar Updated: Sep. Medically reviewed by Ashley Matskevich, MD. If you think your partner may be depressed, your first step is to pay attention to the clues to get the right diagnosis and treatment. Here's what to look for and how to take action. Originally Published in Reader's Digest. Fran Walfish , PsyD.
When Depressed Husbands Refuse Help
Home Mental Health Depression. Every product is independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our links, we may earn an affiliate commission. This illness erodes emotional and sexual intimacy and suffuses a relationship with pessimism and resentment, anger and isolation, she explains. Not sure if your spouse is depressed?
Being in a romantic relationship when one or both of you suffer from depression is a massive challenge. Depression can make your partner seem distant. None of that means your relationship is the problem. You two can tackle this together.
How to Help Your Partner Through Their Depression
As men, we like to think of ourselves as strong and in control of our emotions. When we feel hopeless or overwhelmed by despair we often deny it or try to cover it up. But depression is a common problem that affects many of us at some point in our lives, not a sign of emotional weakness or a failing of masculinity. It affects millions of men of all ages and backgrounds, as well as those who care about them—spouses, partners, friends, and family. However, male depression changes how you think, feel, and function in your daily life. It can interfere with your productivity at work or school and impact your relationships, sleep, diet, and overall enjoyment of life. Severe depression can be intense and unrelenting. Unfortunately, depression in men often gets overlooked as many of us find it difficult to talk about our feelings. Instead, we tend to focus on the physical symptoms that often accompany male depression, such as back pain, headaches, difficulty sleeping, or sexual problems. This can result in the underlying depression going untreated, which can have serious consequences.
15 Ways To Support A Partner With Depression That Are Actually Helpful
Depression is tough on a relationship. A psychologist explains how to help a depressed spouse, signs of depression and how to strengthen your relationship. Clinical psychologist Adam Borland, PsyD , shares how you can help a depressed spouse — and yourself — so you can get through the tough times, together. Cleveland Clinic is a non-profit academic medical center.
Standing on the sidelines when a partner battles depression can feel like a helpless experience. You might feel confused, frustrated, and overwhelmed. You are not alone. Depression is an isolating illness that can negatively impact relationships and leave loved ones feeling helpless and afraid.
How to cope when your partner has depression
When your partner has depression, it can affect all aspects of your life at once. While depression brings with it feelings of hopelessness, the opportunities for recovery are anything but hopeless. Eventually, it became a regular part of their daily routine. They were spending less and less time together in the evenings as he would disappear into the office on his computer and stay there until long after she went to bed.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: Helping a friend struggling with depression: Tips from Dr. Randy Auerbach
If you are in a relationship with someone who has depression, you are likely struggling with a mix of emotions and hosts of questions. What's it really like to feel depressed? What can you do to help them through hard times? How will their symptoms and treatment impact your relationship? While every person's experience with depression is unique, here are a few things you can do to help your loved one and yourself.
Supporting a partner with depression
Try these: time management relationship advice healthy lifestyle money wealth success leadership psychology. When you married your partner, you agreed to love and support them for better or for worse, through sickness and in health. Though you may have found it easy to maintain your connection when you were both in a good mental space, your vows are tested when one of you experiences emotional issues. Relationships take work, and those that are marked by a depressed spouse take even more work than usual. Whether you are learning how to communicate better or are striving to keep the passion alive in your partnership, you must continually work on both the relationship and yourself to sustain a healthy union. Dealing with a depressed wife or depressed husband can be very challenging. Your partner is suffering, and as a result, your marriage is now full of tension. Depression is a very serious mental health disorder, especially when it is chronic and not due to circumstances such as the death of a loved one or the loss of a job.
Understanding how depression affects your partner can be key to building a healthy, supportive relationship that cares for the mental wellbeing of both partners. Depression can cause people to withdraw, behave differently or become more irritable. Common symptoms include insomnia, feelings of worthlessness and loss of interest in activities. It can even lead to physical aches and pains. Living with depression for a longer period of time can take a toll on your partner's levels of energy, motivation and passion.
When your spouse has depression , you might be very worried, and feel utterly helpless. After all, depression is a stubborn, difficult illness. Your partner might seem detached or deeply sad.
When you're in a relationship, whatever your partner deals with, you deal with. And vice versa. So if your partner is depressed , it's imperative that you know how to handle it in a healthy, helpful, and supportive way — for the sake of each partner's mental health. Watching your partner go through something difficult like depression can be tough on you both of you.