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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Relationships: Is Your Spouse Depressed?

Just like diabetes or high blood pressure, depression is a serious problem and requires professional help. When a person is depressed, it's not just a matter of dealing with "the blues." A person who is depressed cannot "just snap out of it."

Is Your Spouse Depressed?

What is Depression?
Depression causes biochemical changes in the body and the brain so that it affects the depressed person both physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It can affect a depressed person's appetite, sleep pattern, and energy level.

Depression can cause physical aches and pains. It can also cause a person to lose interest in things that he or she used to enjoy doing. Depressed people often lose interest in sex and might seem apathetic toward your relationship.

They might become forgetful or have problems concentratng. Sometimes, a depressed person isolates from others. A sad mood and crying are common.

The person might become irritable, anxious, and easily annoyed. Depending on the level of depression, accomplishing every day daily activities of living--like getting out of bed, bathing, getting dressed, going to work, helping with the housework, and relating to others-- might be very difficult for the depressed person.

Depression is often progressive so that, without professional, help, it can start out being a minor depression and progress to major depression. Major depression can also lead to suicide.

How Common is Depression?
At any given time, millions of people in the US suffer with either minor or major depression. Often, depression goes undiagnosed because the depressed person and their loved ones don't know the signs and symptoms of depression. The spouse of a depressed person might label the depressed person as "l
"lazy" or "uncaring." This makes the depressed spouse feel worse and can worsen the depression.

Getting Help
If you recognize the signs or symptoms of depression in your spouse:

Gently and tactfully express your concern and offer to make an appointment with a licensed mental health professional.

Assure your spouse that depression is a common problem that affects millions of people and it's not his or her fault.
If your spouse is too depressed to take the initiative, make the appointment yourself and go with your spouse to the evaluation.

Before you go to the appointment, make notes of your observations of your spouse's depression so that you can discuss these observations with the psychotherapist. For many people, depression is overcome with psychotherapy or with a combination of psychotherapy and medication.

However, you should be aware that even after a particular episode of depression is over, another episode can and often does develop. So, you and your spouse should be alert to the signs and symptoms so you can recognize a relapse.

While you're helping your depressed spouse, it's important that you also take care of yourself. Coping with a depressed spouse can be very stressful and lonely. Being around someone who is depressed can also make you feel depressed or anxious. So, it's important that you continue to engage in activities that you enjoy and stay connected to your support system.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist who works with individuals and couples.

I have helped many therapy clients to overcome depression.

To find out more about me, visit my web site Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

Feel free to call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me to set up a consultation: josephineolivia@aol.com




photo credit: Vermin Inc via photopin cc

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