How can I help my depressed significant other?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: My significant other seems to be in a depression mode, he knows that something is not right and he does not feel like all is well, he claims he does not get depressed yet he is not happy with life at the moment and I am wondering what I can do to help. This is affecting his sex drive, his ability to be affectionate, and how he treats me.

A: The very first thing to do is to see if you can get him to his primary care doctor for a complete physical. There are many medical conditions that cause the symptoms you describe. Before assuming he is clinically depressed, it’s important to check out whether there is something physically wrong. Please see my article, “It’s Not Necessarily All In Your Head” in our mental health library. If he passes the physical with flying colors, it’s time to look at what else may be troubling him. Of concern to me is that he is not reaching to you, his partner, for comfort and help. Although it is certainly understandable if you are acting hurt or angry that he is withdrawing from you, it won’t invite him to turn to you. See if you can open up some discussion by asking him what you can do to be a support for him.
I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 Feb 2007

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2007). How can I help my depressed significant other?. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 29, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2007/02/10/how-can-i-help-my-depressed-significant-other/