Is my husband depressed?

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

My husband seems to be depressed. He has been experiencing these episodes for about 6 months to a year but over the last 6 months I have noticed him growing increasingly angry, moody and extremely critical of other people. The smallest things will set him off. He is not violent or anything just angry all the time. His self esteem is very low – says he feels like he is not good enough. He also says that he will just be sitting there and a thought will pop into his head that will make him angry – for instance, he will have a thought about the fact that I did not kiss him when he came home the day before – maybe I was doing homework with the kids – and it will just make him mad. Then he gets mad at himself for getting mad at me for something so trivial and then he can’t calm himself down. I have tried talking to him about this but it doesn’t seem to help. I don’t know if there could be a underlying physical condition that could cause this personality change or if it truly is depression and he needs to see a counselor.

A: What a dear man you are married to. As bad as he feels, he feels even worse that he is taking it out on you. And what a lucky man he is to have a wife who gets concerned instead of just getting angry back.

Yes, he needs to be evaluated. He is not acting himself and he doesn’t seem to have control over it. Start with your medical doctor. There are a number of medical conditions that are linked with the symptoms of depression. In a man your husband’s age, for example, I would want to have him checked for heart disease. If he is medically fine, the next step would be a visit to a mental health counselor to talk about why he feels so bad about himself and what he might do to change it.

If he feels too depressed to make an appointment, make one for him. If he won’t go, go yourself. In an initial consultation, you can share all that you know and see what they would advise. My guess is that your husband is the kind of guy who will cooperate with getting help if you present the idea with loving concern and give him a definite appointment time.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 31 Jan 2009

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2009). Is my husband depressed?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 20, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2009/01/31/is-my-husband-depressed/