How Depression Can Impact Your Family
Carly Snyder, MD is a reproductive and perinatal psychiatrist who combines traditional psychiatry with integrative medicine-based treatments.
Depression is a complex condition that affects individuals in a variety of ways, but people who have the condition arent the only ones who hurt. Family members are also affected when someone they love has depression.
Because depression is one of the most common types of mental illness, it is highly likely that you have some type of direct experience with the condition. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, 17.3 million adults in the U.S. report symptoms of at least one depressive episode per year.
This means most people are close to someone who has experienced depression at some point during their lives. Unlike some other illnesses, depression isnt always something you can easily spot. Unless they are willing to talk about how they are feeling, you may not even be able to tell that a loved one is depressed unless you are familiar with some of the common symptoms of the condition.
Even if other family members are not aware of a loved one’s depression, it doesnt mean that their symptoms dont have an impact. Parental depression, for example, may have a particularly profound impact on children.
Why Is Untreated Depression Considered To Be A Disability
Depression can render people disabled in their work life, family life, and social life. Left untreated, clinical depression is as costly as heart disease or AIDS to the U.S. economy. Untreated depression is responsible for more than 200 million days lost from work each year. The annual cost of untreated depression is more than $43.7 billion in absenteeism from work, lost productivity, and direct treatment costs.
Is It Ok To Break Up With Someone Struggling With Mental Health
A few years ago, my boyfriend broke up with me because of my mental illness. To be more specific, I was dumped because of the behavior my mental illness was causing, and the strain it took on our relationship. It was one of my biggest fears come true, to be too much to handle in a relationship.Id been struggling with depression for years prior to the relationship, but while we were together, I was going through one of my darkest and lowest points ever having mood swings and sobbing at the snap of a finger. He had to deal with my crying spells, refusal to go out and socialize with his friends, and my late night anxiety attacks. I had zero control over my emotions.So, my boyfriend sat me down and told me that my depression was bringing him down, and he couldnt handle it anymore. He had depression, too, and my behavior was taking a toll on his own mental health. It was devastating, but I understood why he did it. Its hard to take care of a depressed person when youre depressed yourself.I often ask myself if I would do the same thing if I were in his shoes. Honestly, I probably would.
Also Check: Does Lack Of Sunlight Cause Depression
Depression In Relationship Symptoms
What does depression feel like?
How is my relationship making me depressed?
First off, not all relationships are toxic, and though there are times you want to scream at the top of your lungs because of your partner, its all part of being in love.
Relationship depression is a whole different animal. It can cause severe trauma and ruin your life. While you find your partner eating the last piece of cake is annoying but ignore it, it might have long term effects on your mental health.
Here are some common signs that you are suffering from relationship depression.
When To Seek Help
Sometimes taking actions to manage your depression isnt possible all by yourself.
Whether you want to consult an individual or couples therapist, a naturopath or a physician, those are positive steps toward health and growth and not signs of or an admission of failure. Everyone can use more tools in their toolbox, more coping skills, and more healthy habits, says Rattray. You dont have to wait until you feel terrible to get help to live a better life. When youre aware youre not feeling the way you used to, or not feeling the way you want to, reach out for help.
Recommended Reading: Vitamins That Help With Depression
Open The Lines Of Communication
Mental illness thrives in silence. Its tempting to brush it under the rug, but you must talk about it. Communication in a relationship is important because it allows each person to express what they feel and what they need from the other person. It builds trust too.
When it comes to depression, being open is difficultthere is still so much stigma. But when you dont discuss it, the problem only grows and expands. Misunderstandings accumulate and more damage gets done. Talk about your experiences with each other and make a plan for how to strengthen your relationship.
Are The Signs Of Untreated Depression In Men Different From Those In Women
Men who have untreated clinical depression may exhibit more anger, frustration, and violent behavior than women. In addition, men with untreated depression may take dangerous risks such as reckless driving and having unsafe sex. Men are not aware that physical symptoms, such as headaches, digestive disorders and chronic pain, can be symptoms of depression.
Recommended Reading: How Do I Stop Depression And Anxiety
According To A New Study If A Woman With A History Of Depression Or Those Who Have Suffered From Depression During Pregnancy Are May Not Have The Best Relationship With Their Infant
Written by Arushi Bidhuri | Updated : June 3, 2021 11:27 AM IST
After staying up late while taking care of the baby, finding ways to research ‘all things baby’ options online it can be stressful! Between physical and emotional changes, it is not usually a cause of concern, but it can be when you are depressed. A new study published in the journal ‘BJPsych Open’ found that women with depression during pregnancy, or with a history of depression may not have the best relationship with their child.
For the study, researchers examined if depression, either before or during pregnancy, affects the mother-infant bond. Researchers examined the quality of mother-infant interactions in three groups of women: healthy women, women with clinically severe depression in pregnancy, and women with a lifetime history of depression but healthy pregnancies.
Professional Support Is Necessary For Depressed Mothers
Lead author and Research Associate at Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London, Dr Rebecca Bind said, “Our findings suggest that perinatal mental health professionals should offer support not only to women with depression during pregnancy but also to pregnant women with a history of depression, as they may also be at risk of interaction difficulties. Future research should try to understand why a history of depression, despite a healthy perinatal period, may impact the developing relationship.”
Senior author Carmine Pariante, Professor of Biological Psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience, King’s College London and Consultant Perinatal Psychiatrist at the South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust, said, “We recommend that healthcare professionals provide pregnant women at risk of interaction difficulties with examples of positive caregiving behaviours, and with ways to engage their babies and understand their needs, all of which could be incorporated into parenting and birth classes and health visits.”
Also Check: University Of Utah Depression Study
Ways Depression Affects Your Love Life
Although my depression has affected all of my relationships, where I can see the biggest affect is in my love life. My depression gets its hands in there and likes to create intimacy issues and even mess with my libido, among other things. It’s not uncommon, it’s nothing to be ashamed of, and even if you donât suffer from it, thereâs a good chance that someone you love does. And, sadly, women are more prone to suffer from depression than men. According to the World Health Organization, more than 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide.
Depression affects people of all ages. No one is immune, and as the World Health Organization notes, itâs the number one cause of disability in the world. As someone who has suffered from depression for most of my life, although I wasnât officially diagnosed until my early 20s, I know for a fact that itâs truly debilitating. There arenât just day when I donât want to get out of bed and face the world, but it sometimes affects my work, my responsibilities, and even my personal relationships. Iâm fortunate enough that my doctors have found the right combination of medication to keep me trucking along, but the reality is that some days I have relapses and itâs in those dark moments that I have to put up a really good fight to get through them and get back on an even keel.
Here are six ways depression affects your love life, because I know Iâm not alone in this one at all.
On Caring For Yourself When You Have Depression:
Maintaining some kind of perspective
When dealing with the disease yourself, it helps to remember that you are not your depression. Its about the depressed person making a choice, which means they have to view it as something that they could have control over, even if they dont feel like they do, says Gemma. She did acknowledge that some people do have a genetic vulnerability and things like serious medical illness and drug use can lead to depression but did also reiterate that by getting help, prioritising yourself and taking it one small step at a time you can get through.
Gemma also says to avoid viewing depression as an identity or something that will be a part of your lives forever. Its something that youre going through, she says, like a really long flu or something like that. You really need to see it as something that is beatable and just a temporary part of your life.
When it impacts your sex life
For Martha, and for anyone experiencing similar issues, Gemma recommends going back to your GP or psychologist, to talk through the side effects and run through alternative options. Also, you can always find information online and talk it through with your partner, so you both understand that youre not alone. And then, if you both wanted to, you could talk to a sex therapist to work on ways to get everyone off.
Feeling like a burden
It is important for you both to get support and to go outside the relationship to do so, says Gemma.
Ask for help
Read Also: Work Stress Causing Anxiety And Depression
Depression In Relationships: When To Say Goodbye
Breaking up is never easy. Breaking up when your partner is struggling with a psychiatric disorder can be downright painful. But there comes a time in every relationship when it may be necessary to evaluate your options and make difficult choices.
No one wants to be accused of abandoning a loved one at their time of greatest need. But neither should you remain in a strained relationship with no conceivable future out of a sense of duty or guilt. Sometimes theres nothing more you can do but say goodbye for the sake of your own mental health.
Before it comes to that, for your own sake and the sake of your partner, you should be sure youve done all you can to salvage the relationship. Otherwise you may be consumed by guilt or self-doubt, wondering if you did all you could do for your partner and your relationship.
How Depression Can Affect Relationships
Depression can make it difficult to maintain supportive and fulfilling relationships.
If your partner is suffering from depression, they may be so overwhelmed by their symptoms that finding the energy to communicate feels impossible.
As a partner or family member, it can be easy to find this really draining and upsetting. You might become exhausted with the effort of feeling you need to support your partner and also keeping up with running the house or looking after the rest of the family.
And in turn, the person with depression may begin to feel like a burden as though theyre simply getting in the way and making the lives of those around them worse. They may be aware of the effects their depression is having on their relationships, but feel powerless to do anything about it. This can make them feel guilty, and lower their self-esteem even more.
This film by the World Health Organisation looks at how depression can interact with relationships:
Read Also: Signs Your Daughter Is Depressed
Dating Can Be Difficult But Dating With Depression Is A Whole Other Challenge Here Advice To Help You Navigate The Process
Dating means allowing yourself to be vulnerable, to risk disappointment and rejection. Dating with depression carries the added burden of figuring out when and how much to reveal about your condition to the person youre dating. To tell or not to tell. We answer this question and offer expert advice on the art of courting with chronic depression.
Only 18, Isa Zhou has lived with depression for six years. She was 12 when the symptoms first surfaced in 2012. Her motivation for school and life tanked. I was very emotional and had a very negative view of everything, she says. Two years later, she was diagnosed with major depression and a year later, in 2015, with dysthymia . Depression made me insecure and self-conscious for the longest time, says Isa, who lives in Northern California where she attends college. Over the years, as medication and therapy stabilized her, her self-confidence increased. She became more comfortable interacting with others and eventually began to think about dating. She wanted a relationship and in time she sidelined her trepidations.
Temptations To Act Out
Depression affects people in different ways.
Women are more likely to experience severe feelings of guilt, sadness, or worthlessness. The National Institute of Mental Health reveals that men are more likely to act out as a symptom of depression, often overdrinking, turning to drugs, becoming abusive, irritable, or behaving recklessly.
Temptations to act out can ruin your relationship.
Acting out may involve drug use, gambling, or stepping outside of your relationship for sexual intimacy. Cheating on a partner, regardless of your mental state, causes distrust, lowers self-esteem, and creates feelings of resentment.
Seeking marriage therapy can help you understand what you are feeling and undo the urge to act out recklessly in your relationship.
You May Like: Medicine For Manic Depressive Disorder
What Actually Causes Depression
Theres no single cause of depression. It can occur for a variety of reasons and it has many different triggers. For some people, an upsetting or stressful life event, such as bereavement, divorce, illness, redundancy and job or money worries, can be the cause. Different causes can often combine to trigger depression.
‘depression Ruined My Relationships Made Me Hate Myself And Left Me Broken
In a raw and frank piece our Whats On editor Simon Binns describes the mental health battles that took him to the edge of the abyss – and how when he opened up to friends he finally started to heal
To most people who know me – and plenty more who think they do – Im a confident, outgoing, reasonably well-adjusted individual.
Ive got a pretty good job, a strong network of friends, a stable relationship, three beautiful kids.
Life is good, and Ive got lots of reasons to be happy.
And I am, most of the time.
But I can also be distant, difficult, moody, snappy, frustrating.
Ive suffered from anxiety, depression and chronic shyness for almost 25 years. Its taken that long to stop trying to ignore it, hide it or let it dominate my life.
In that time, its left friendships and relationships in its wake. Its made me not want to leave the house. Its made me ill. Its got me into debt. Its made me hate myself. Its made me wonder what things would be like if I just wasnt here any more.
My self-esteem has been on the floor, so I chose to mask it with overconfidence.
Its led to one large nervous breakdown, one smaller one, medication, and bouts of explosive frustration that would leave me in flood of tears, on my own, not sure what to do next or who to turn to.
Ive alienated people, let them down, hurt them. Ive done bad things to good people and Ive pushed them away because I didnt want them to know what was really going on.
Read Also: Meal Plan For Anxiety And Depression
Helping Someone Who Is Depressed
If your loved one or friend is depressed, here are some things you can do:
- Help him find a GP or a mental health professional such as MensLine Australia counsellor so he can get support.
- Offer your support and understanding.
- Talk to him and listen to what he has to say.
- Invite him out. He may say no at first, and you dont want to push him, but let him know that you are there.
- Men with depression may be at risk for suicide. If he is in a crisis, get help quickly. Call Suicide Call Back Service on or call 000.
Consider The Practical Implications
Trying to sustain a relationship with a depressed person can make the healthy partner feel helpless and more than a little hopeless at times. If you feel you simply cant go on, it may be time to sever ties. But walking away may be easier than it sounds, especially if youre in a marriage. Where will you go? What will you live on? What will your spouse live on? Are children involved?
Sometime depressed people may use drugs or alcohol. If this is the case, walking away may be your only choice. Your childrens emotional well-being and physical safety must be your first priority. It may be necessary to take a hard look at these and other practical considerations before you say goodbye and walk away.
Don’t Miss: Ketamine Vs Psilocybin For Depression