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How to Deal with a Depressed Wife: Will She Ever Get Over This?

Wondering how to deal with a depressed wife? Worried she’ll never get better? Discover how to support a wife with depression on HealthyPlace.

Wondering how to deal with a depressed wife can be frustrating and upsetting. You may blame yourself for not being able to fix the situation, or you may wonder why you can’t make her happy. Depression doesn't work like this, however. Depression is a debilitating medical condition that impacts partners and loved ones as well as those affected. Having a depressed wife doesn't mean that your marriage is doomed because of depression or that she'll never get over it, but it does mean there may be challenging times ahead. Find out how to deal with a depressed wife and protect your relationship.

How to Deal with a Depressed Wife: Things You Should Know

Knowing how to deal with a depressed wife is tricky. People with depression will often say that they’ll never recover, or else they can’t imagine ever feeling happy again, and it’s easy to believe them. However, the first thing you should know about dealing with a depressed wife is that people with depression can – and often do – make a full recovery.

According to The National Mental Health Association, more than 80% of people who get treatment for depression improve within 4-6 weeks. That said, recovery isn’t always straightforward, and people often feel worse before they get better, particularly if they start taking new antidepressant medication. Statistics show that 50% of people who experience an episode of depression will go on to have another, so even if your wife does get better, you must be prepared for depression to return in the future.  

Try not to get frustrated when dealing with a depressed wife. Everyone’s path to recovery is different, and she needs your compassion now rather than your judgment.

Dealing with a Depressed Wife When She Isn’t Getting Better

Wondering how to deal with a depressed wife can feel hopeless at times. You may be doing everything in your power to help, and she may be ticking all the right boxes in terms of seeking help, but perhaps she still isn’t improving. Part of knowing how to deal with your depressed wife is accepting that some people don't get better right away. This is not your wife's fault; it is just the nature of the illness.

There are several reasons why your wife may not be getting better despite ongoing depression treatment:

She is not ready to seek help for depression

Often, people don't start to recover from depression until they are ready to seek help. This happens when people agree to treatment to appease others, rather than actually wanting to feel better.

It can be hard to imagine why someone might not want to get better from depression, and most people do. However, there are many complex reasons why your wife might not be ready to seek help just yet, so don't try to force it. Instead, encourage an open and honest dialogue where she can share her concerns about treatment so that you can work to overcome them as a couple (learn how to help a depressed wife when she doesn't want your help).

She hasn’t found the right depression treatment yet

You might be wondering how to deal with a depressed wife because she hasn’t found the right treatment yet. It takes time to treat depression, and there is usually a degree of trial and error involved. Your wife may need to try different forms of antidepressant medication or therapy before she finds one she is comfortable with.

Be patient while she is going through this process and encourage her not to rely on one method of treatment. Experts claim that, aside from medical and therapeutic options, there are many vital components to treating depression. Sleep, nutrition, stress-reduction, social support and exercise all play a part.

She is resistant to conventional treatment

Treatment-resistant depression is when someone has been receiving treatment for depression for months or years without showing signs of improvement.

Although being told your wife has treatment-resistant depression can feel hopeless, it just means she is not responding to conventional treatment. There are other options worth considering, such as different styles of therapy, different medication strategies, holistic therapies or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). Your family doctor can explore these options with you in detail. In fact, if your wife has treatment-resistant depression, she should be talking about her options with a psychiatrist vs. the family doctor. That’s because a psychiatrist is a specialist in treating mental illnesses like depression.

Depression is the symptom, not the cause

If your wife seems resistant to treatment, it may be because her depression is the result of another condition. Bipolar disorder – for instance – can cause depressive episodes, but it is not treated in the same way as depression.

There are other physical causes to consider, such as anemia, hypothyroidism, insulin resistance or blood sugar imbalances, so it’s worth getting a full physical exam to rule out any underlying conditions. Knowing how to deal with a depressed wife can be as simple as suggesting she goes back to the doctor, but this could be an important step.

Dealing with a depressed wife may be challenging, but there's every reason to believe that she will get better in time. Key to understanding how to deal with a depressed wife is to assure her that you love and support her with or without depression and that you will find a solution together.

article references

APA Reference
Smith, E. (2019, March 8). How to Deal with a Depressed Wife: Will She Ever Get Over This?, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 20 from https://www.healthyplace.com/depression/relationships/how-to-deal-with-a-depressed-wife-will-she-ever-get-over-this

Last Updated: May 17, 2019

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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