How to help a partner dealing with depression
When one spouse has depression, it can put a strain on a marriage. Living with a depressed partner who is often unhappy, critical and negative isn't easy, and at the same time, it may also be hard to persuade a husband or wife to get help. Jay Baer, a psychiatrist and director of ambulatory services in the department of psychiatry at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. Depression results from shifts in brain chemistry that influence mood, thoughts, sex drive, sleep, appetite and energy levels — all factors that could affect a marriage, as well as disrupt home and family life.
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9 Tips for Helping a Partner with Depression
Many people find themselves supporting a partner with depression at some point in their lives. The support of family and friends can play an important role in the treatment of mental health conditions. Depression is a condition that affects around 16 million adults in the United States each year. Depression can take its toll on relationships and may cause loved ones to feel helpless, frustrated, or fearful.
In this article, we explore ways in which people can support a partner with depression in their journey toward recovery. Asking about symptoms also shows the person that their partner is interested in their feelings and experiences. Avoid asking questions that seem judgmental or place blame on the person with depression.
They may already be blaming themselves for their symptoms, and they need support instead of further judgment. Becoming educated about depression can make it easier to support those with the condition. Learning about the symptoms often helps people recognize them in their loved ones.
Symptoms can range from mild to severe, and they may vary over time. However, the American Psychiatric Association state that symptoms need to last for at least 2 weeks before a doctor can diagnose depression. Symptoms of depression can include :. One way to demonstrate empathy is to reflect what the person says.
Continually trying to cheer the person up is not helpful as this invalidates their condition and their feelings. Depression can cause a person to lose their motivation, which can be a barrier to seeking treatment. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health , most people with depression need treatment to recover.
Those supporting someone with depression can play an important role in their recovery by encouraging them to seek help from a doctor or mental health professional. Another way to encourage treatment is to make an appointment on behalf of the person with depression, but only if they make this request. It can also be helpful to accompany them to appointments. While recovery from depression is possible, it can be challenging at times. To support a partner during the recovery process:.
It may also be helpful to attend a support group for family members of those with a mental health condition. Couples may also benefit from couples therapy or family-based counseling. This risk is particularly high in cases where a man is supporting a woman with depression.
Those looking after someone with a mental health condition also need to take care of their own mental health. They can do this by:. Professional treatment is an important part of the recovery process. The first step is often to see a doctor who can recommend medication, psychotherapy, or both. For particularly severe depressive symptoms or in life-threatening situations, call or go to the nearest emergency department. People with depression may be at risk of suicide.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention , more than half of those who die by suicide have major depression. Partners of those with depression should be aware of the warning signs of suicide so that they can take swift action if necessary.
Warning signs include:. If a person suspects that someone is at immediate risk of suicide, they should seek emergency assistance. Supporting a partner with depression, both emotionally and practically, can help them go through the recovery process.
While it can be rewarding, caring for someone with a mental health condition is also challenging. Caregivers should practice regular self-care to look after their own mental well-being.
Long-term, it can also affect their body in ways that may be serious. In this article…. Depression can lead to a lack of physical and emotional energy, in addition to causing sleep disturbances that leave a person feeling chronically…. People with depression can experience a variety of symptoms, some of which may be harder to recognize than others. Hidden symptoms of depression can….
What is the difference between sadness and depression? Learn how to recognize the two and find out when medical help may be needed. Sadness does not…. Doctors often prescribe medications and counseling, but diet can also make a difference. How to support a partner with depression Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Questions to ask about symptoms Questions to avoid Ways to support a partner Professional support Summary Many people find themselves supporting a partner with depression at some point in their lives.
Questions to ask about symptoms. Share on Pinterest The support of family and friends is important in the treatment of mental health disorders.
Questions to avoid. Ways to support a partner. Share on Pinterest A person can support their partner by accompanying them to their therapy sessions. Share on Pinterest When a person is supporting a partner with depression, it is essential to make time to enjoy hobbies and other activities. How and when to get professional support. Warning signs of suicide. Suicide prevention If you know someone at immediate risk of self-harm, suicide, or hurting another person: Call or the local emergency number.
Stay with the person until professional help arrives. Remove any weapons, medications, or other potentially harmful objects. Listen to the person without judgment. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, a prevention hotline can help. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 24 hours a day at Depression Mental Health.
Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Latest news Study finds different types of human white fat cells. Study identifies gene that helps regulate cholesterol levels. How the pandemic has affected primary healthcare around the world. What can healthcare staff do to prevent PTSD during the pandemic? MicroRNAs attacking new coronavirus reduce with age, health condition. Related Coverage. How does depression affect the body? Legg, Ph. Why does depression make you feel tired?
Recognizing the hidden signs of depression Medically reviewed by Timothy J. The difference between depression and sadness Medically reviewed by Timothy J. What foods are good for helping depression?
How to Help Your Partner Through Their Depression
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 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. If your partner has depression, here are some ways you can help her through it and maybe even strengthen your relationship in the process.
Tips for Coping With Depression in a Relationship
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.
How to support a partner with depression
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. They might seem hopeless and have a hard time getting out of bed.
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?
Supporting a partner with depression
.SEE VIDEO BY TOPIC: How to Help a Spouse With Depression
Depression in Men