How do I support my friend?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

Q: A friend’s wife 34 had a affair with a 17 year old boy. She had been treated for depression for over a year before this and was taking paxil and xanax . When she got caught in the affair she tried to commit suicide and has since been placed in 2 psych wards. Was her judgement impaired due to the longterm depression?

A: The best people to respond to this question are her doctors in the hospital who got to know her and treated her. I sincerely hope that there has been follow-up care. This woman has been struggling and needs support from her doctor, her husband, and her friends and family.

The bast thing you can do as a friend to her husband is to be a support to him. Too often the caretaker gets overlooked as everyone responds to the person in crisis. You can’t solve his problems for him and shouldn’t try. But you can be a sympathetic listener and you can remind him that he deserves some attention too. He probably would benefit from seeing a therapist who can help him understand his wife and how to manage his own complicated feelings of anger and worry in this situation.

I wish you all well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 10 May 2008

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2008). How do I support my friend?. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/05/10/how-do-i-support-my-friend/