Frequently Asked Questions

I think my spouse may be suffering from clinical depression. What are the signs?

Anyone can suffer a brief bout of depression. For example, it’s normal to feel down after experiencing the loss of a loved one or a job. This type of depression passes in time as a person begins to heal from the loss. Often, though, depression can result from a biochemical imbalance that can be chronic or recurrent. This is called “clinical depression.”

  • Persistent sad, anxious or “empty” mood
  • Loss of satisfaction with life
  • Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
  • Diminished capacity to give or receive affection
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that were once enjoyed, including sex
  • Physical aches and pains (including headaches and lower back pain)
  • Excessive crying
  • Decreased energy, fatigue or slowed thinking
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning awakening or oversleeping
  • Appetite and/or weight loss or overeating and weight gain
  • Thoughts of death or suicide, suicide attempts
  • Restlessness, irritability or hyperactivity
  • Persistent physical symptoms that do not respond to treatment, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain

If you or someone you know has had five or more of these symptoms for more than two weeks, professional evaluation is recommended. The most important thing anyone can do for a depressed person is to help him or her find treatment immediately.

Living with a depressed person is difficult under any circumstances. When the person is your wife or husband, the problems escalate.
Even if the depressed spouse is getting treatment, the situation can be stressful. Depression can cause people to become withdrawn, rejecting and irritable. Depressed people need patience, understanding, encouragement and assistance. They should not, however, be made to feel totally helpless or inadequate. If a person refuses to get help, consult with a mental health professional.

Just talking about your problems sometimes leads to new solutions. If you or someone you know needs information, guidance or help, call our Respond program at 1-800-366-1132. Respond offers confidential, caring assessments and referrals for individuals dealing with problems related to mental health issues and substance abuse. If you or a loved one are experiencing an emergency, please call 911 immediately.