Love/Relationship Columnist
Depression Can Kill People and Destroy Marriages (VIDEO)
Sep 15, 2012 - 10:51:09 AM

( - MyFoxHouston - If you think it's just you who has noticed all of the recent shootings and suicides, it's not. August is a lethal month and in the field of psychology, it is noticed as one of the highest months for suicide and homicides. People don't randomly kill others; the majority of killers struggle with some form of depression. Nearly 15 million American adults, or about6.7 percent of the U.S. population age 18 and older, is affected with a major depression in a given year, according to the National Institute of MentalHealth.

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Depression is the number one reason for suicide and yet successful treatment for depression is widely available. With so many treatments available, why don't more couples and family members secure treatment for their loved one? One of the primary reasons is denial of how depressed their loved one is, and secondly how do you convince a loved one that depression may not go away, and if they begin medications they may have to stay on them?

Depression kills people, but it also kills marriage and relationships. Everyone who is married to a depressed person can attest to the challenges of living a lifetime with someone who is so down, they can no longer function with day to day activities. Depression doesn't only affect the depressed person, it affects the whole family. Children raised by someone who is depressed often suffer depression as well. About 60 percent of all marital problems I see are due to depression. Depression doesn't cause a divorce, but not admitting it and getting help may. Many of the excuses such as, "We just grew apart" are due to an underlying depression in one of the partners.

There are signs that your partner may have depression, but you must remember that simply asking them if they are depressed, or why they are depressed, may not be successful. Many times people don't know why they are depressed. It may be a chemical imbalance which comes without reason or cause. Here are frequent signs, but this list is incomplete.If you notice any of these with your partner (or yourself) and it has been consistent for more than 2 weeks, you would be wise to make a doctor's appointment today.

1.A sense of your partner withdrawing from life. They may develop an "I don't care attitude."

2.A change in their eating pattern. They may begin eating more or not at all.

3.A sense of confusion. Your partner can no longer think to have meaningful conversation the way you once did.

4.Irritability.Your partner may have less patience, not able to focus, and develop more anger.

5.Loss of intimacy. It's tough to be intimate if you don't care about anything.

Many times if the non-depressedpartner lives with a depressed partner they begin feeling as though they are doing it all. They pick up the slack for their depressed partner and due to alack of intimacy they seek comfort outside the marriage. This is commonly a cause of affairs. It wasn't the depression causing the affair; it was the withdrawal, and the "I don't care" attitude. The silent non-depressed partner became so lonely they reached out for someone else.

Couples who work as a team and seek treatment for depression as a team are much more successful with managing their loved one's depression. All of us get depressed from time to time. Losing a parent, a family member or the loss of a job can make anyone depressed.Typically after a couple of weeks we work through it. If your partner has been depressed several times, it may be due to brain chemical changes, and medication will be helpful in managing the depression. Below are suggestions when dealing with treatment of depression in your marriage.

1.The gold standard for managing most types of depression is talk therapy and medications. Typically the depressed person prefers going alone, but if the depression has been chronic, couple's therapy will be very helpful.

2.A family doctor is helpful at referring you to a psychiatrist who specializes in managing depression. Sometimes the psychiatrist will have a counselor in mind that is skillful at working with depression but if you have a counselor with whom you work and trust, continue treatment with them.

3.The relationship problems that come about due to the symptoms of depression need to be dealt with, but getting the depression under control first is a primary focus. Depressed people cannot focus on fixing anything when they are depressed.

No matter what illness a person has, if treatment is available, they usually take the treatment. This is not true with depression because there is a stigma attached. Depression is like diabetes or hypertension. If you don't take your medications, complications will ensue, perhaps leading to your death. If you or your partner suffers from depression, putting off treatment will likely lead to death of your relationships. Deal with your depression now, if not for you, then for those you love.

– Mary Jo Rapini MaryJoRapini

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