Is Your Significant Other Depressed?


Depression is an insidious disease; the signs can sneak up on you without warning. When it happens to a loved one, it's even harder to detect. Even a spouse, with who you sped hours every day may be experiencing depression without you knowing it. However, there are symptoms you can look for, and knowing how to tell if your spouse is depressed will allow you to talk with him or her and help them get the assistance they need.

The following are warning signs that your spouse may be depressed:

Social Withdrawal

If you notice your spouse is withdrawing from friends, family, or co-workers, it may be a sign that they are depressed. This can manifest as frequent called-in sick days from work, performing more solitary activities at home, or failure to fulfill family responsibilities like cleaning or cooking. When confronted with this, a depressed spouse will often be evasive or uninterested in discussing his or her feelings. Excuses for the withdrawal are common.

Irrational Behavior

Sudden bursts of anger or sadness may also signal the onset of depression. If your spouse is more angry than usual toward you or your children, it may be good to seek medical advice. Irrational periods of uncontrollable crying are also signs that you should seek help.

Loss of Intimacy

Depression may cause a spouse to avoid sexual intercourse or physical or emotional intimacy in general. This can occur as a result of the depression itself or of the anxiety and stress that often co-occur with depression. If your partner is going to bed earlier or later than usual to avoid you, it may mean depression.

Suicidal Tendencies

The most severe indications occur when your spouse begins to show signs that they are contemplating suicide. This can happen in mild and severe cases of depression, but it should always be taken very seriously. This may appear as the spouse spending more time in the bedroom or bathroom than usual, or as jokes or musings about killing himself. These symptoms require immediate attention. In an emergency, call 911, or schedule an appointment for your spouse to meet with a psychiatric professional.


Depression affects not only the victim, but also his or her entire family. If you know how to tell if your spouse is depressed, you'll be able to notice earlier, and get him help sooner. It can be hard to deal with a depressed partner, but it can also give you the chance to grow closer and show them how you can be there for them.

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