how to help a spouse with depression

When your spouse is depressed, your marriage can become depressed. The sadness and illness in the family can erode the emotional intimacy and clouds your marriage/relationship with pessimism, resentment, anger, and isolation. You need to keep in mind that even the loveliest and happiest people can be pulled into the depression corner within no time. But, what is depression? Depression in itself is a complex thing with many faces, and unless you learn about it and understand it, you won’t be able to know how to help someone with depression. It goes beyond the daily sadness that someone may feel once in a moment.

Sometimes, depression can look like real happiness one day, followed by the scariest and deepest form of sadness the next day. This is a disease that can upset everyone in the family. Standing on the sidelines when your partner is battling with deep depression can feel like a helpless experience. This article offers you helpful insights on how to help a spouse with depression to save your marriage/relationship from hitting rock bottom.

What Causes Depression?

If you or your partner is suffering from depression, you need to understand that you aren’t alone. Statistics indicate that approximately 19 million Americans are currently suffering from depression. However, the biggest question is; what causes depression? It becomes easier to help someone with depression f you understand the cause of it.

Physical Health

One of the leading causes of depression is physical health problems. The mind and the body are linked uniquely, and if one is experiencing any physical health problems, their brain might also experience changes that may lead to depression. The stress of having a chronic disease may lead to major depression. Certain diseases such as Addison’s disease, liver disease, and thyroid disease may also cause depression symptoms.


Various family studies have also linked depression to genetics. Researchers and scientists believe that having siblings or parents with depression may also be a major risk factor. Sometimes, depression may also run in the family, and some people will be at higher risk.

Drugs and Alcohol

Drug and alcohol use may also lead to depression. Many people with different kinds of depression also have drug and alcohol abuse problems. Statistics indicate that over one million Americans will experience depression and a drug abuse disorder at the same time, at some point in their lives.


Stressful life events such as loss of a loved one may also lead to depression. Such events can overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope leading to a constant state of sadness. Research shows that high levels of the hormone cortisol which is usually secreted during periods of intense stress may affect the normal functioning of the neurotransmitter serotonin leading to depression.


Poor nutrition can contribute to depression in different ways. A variety of mineral and vitamin deficiencies are known to cause the symptoms of depression. Various studies have found out that diets that are low in omega-3 fatty acids are usually associated with high levels of depression.

Depression Symptoms

While constant sadness is among the early pointers of a depressed spouse, you need to remember the fact that it is not the only symptom of depression. In most cases, people with depression can have perfect days only to go back to a depressed mood once again. Knowing the tell-tale signs of depression is key to helping a spouse with depression. Depression can include the following symptoms:

  • Changes in appetite that may lead to weight gain or loss
  • Constant feelings of sadness, hopelessness, and tearfulness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Anger outbursts
  • A sense of guilt or worthlessness
  • Sleep disturbance. They start sleeping too much or too little
  • Frequent thoughts of death that will include suicidal thoughts

5 Ways to Help Your Spouse with Depression

Once you understand the causes and symptoms of depression, it becomes easier to help your spouse. You need to understand what they truly need during the difficult moments and offer them, unconditional love. Here are some of the best ways that you can help a spouse with depression.

1. Be there for them

The best thing that you can do for your loved one is to show up and be there for him/her. You may not be having all the answers to their problems, but that is perfectly okay. You can hold your spouse’s hand, offer passionate hugs and be present. You can respond to their concerns with encouraging statements such as; “you are important to me”, “we will get through this together”, and “I am here for you.”

2. Show them Unconditional Love

This is the time you need to remember the fact that love can heal everything. When your partner is struggling with depression, and they are sad, show them more love. Although it may feel difficult to do this since they are sad, you need to keep in mind that it is on these days that they need to experience your unconditional love most. Just show them love throughout the day in a language that they can best understand. For instance, if they appreciate tender touches over words, be sure to do that and don’t feel bad even if they don’t reciprocate the love.

3. Create a Supportive Home Environment

It is also critical to remember the fact that your spouse’s depression isn’t anyone’s fault. Although you can’t fix it, your unconditional support may help your partner work through the awkward moments. Small lifestyle changes can make a huge difference in the fight. For instance, you can start working out together and help your partner stick to his/her treatment for depression plan. You should also strive to create a stress-free environment and always give positive reinforcement.

4. Understand what they Need

You should also make sure that you talk to your partner to understand what they need and offer them what they need. Sit down and create a comprehensive mental list of the things that bring them joy and happiness and offer them such things when they feel low. Understand what your spouse truly needs during these hard times and be there whenever needed.

5. Know when to Give them Space

Lastly, you should know when your spouse needs space around them. Sometimes, all your spouse needs is space to reflect and think. You can know when your spouse needs space by asking them certain questions and connecting with them emotionally. If your partner says that they need space, hold their hands and connect with them emotionally. Look straight into their eyes and ask them if they genuinely need space. If the answer is “yes”, find something to do and let them rest.

The Do’s and Don’ts to Help You When Your Spouse Is Depressed

Here are a few things to do and not to do to help you remain strong and supportive to your spouse.


  • Acknowledge how you are affected by the depression.
  • Help where necessary.
  • Find ways to fill the emotional tank created by the depression of your spouse.
  • Encourage your partner to get professional help.
  • Empathize with them.
  • Something nice for them that they always love.


  • Try to make it feel better with awkward words such as “at least.”
  • Make your spouse feel isolated.
  • Try to solve the problem if you don’t know it.
  • Keep pushing them for why they are feeling depressed
  • Be quick to blame yourself

Next Level Recovery is a Treatment Center for Depression Counseling and Therapy Services in Utah

Are you struggling with depression in Salt Lake City, Utah? The best way to help your partner who is struggling with depression is to find the best depression treatment in your area and support them along the way. Contact Next Level Recovery today for professional assistance. We are a drug, alcohol, and depression treatment center that offer customizable depression treatment plan to get to the source of the problem and help you or your loved one recover and truly be happy again. We are passionate about helping those struggling with depression. Give us a call today at (888) 759-5846 for a free consultation.

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