When one of the partner or spouse is depressed in marriage, the marriage itself is depressed.
The atmospheres seems happy at one time but suddenly turns into a gloomy and morbid place with undertones of excessive frustration in both husband and wife.
But as one of the partner’s suffers from depression, one can only imagine the state of mind or the feelings of their husband or wife watching their loved one go through this turmoil and suffering.
And what makes matters worse, is the lack of experience in such situations. Because depression ha snot been witnessed earlier both from a suffering perspective or witnessing your loved ones perspective, married couples are just not prepared to deal with depression.
Statistics on Depression
According to studies done by the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation and reported in their flagship Global Burden of Disease study, approximately 792 million lived with depression in 2017. This makes it more then 1 in 10 people globally.
Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17.3 million American adults, or about 7.1% of the U.S. population age 18 and older, in a given year. (National Institute of Mental Health “Major Depression”, 2017)
Adults with a depressive disorder or symptoms have a 64 percent greater risk of developing coronary artery disease. (National Institute of Health, Heart disease and depression: A two-way relationship, 2017)
At the first symptoms of depression, its time to act and not delay the various ways to treat depression.
It is hard for a depressed spouse to think that any medication can treat their depression. But like any other ailment, the sooner you begin with the treatment, the sooner you will feel better.
Lets look at the available treatments for depression:
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) :
The core principle of CBT is that our thoughts and state of mind plays a vital role in how we behave externally.
The main objective of cognitive behavior therapy relies on teaching depressed individuals about key ways to interpret thoughts in a more positive and fulfilling way as the world around them in beyond their or anybody’s control.
Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) has shown positive and encouraging results for several years now and being a short term treatment , also ends up being more affo
What are the various types of Cognitive behavior therapy for spouse depression?
There are various forms of Cognitive behavior therapy, which are regularly used to treat depression across the globe. Some of these are:
- Dialectical Behavior Therapy: This therapy focuses on teaching depressed individuals to straighten their thinking patterns and bring in ways to improve emotional regulation.
- Multimodal Therapy: This form of Cognitive behavior therapy observes that psychological issues must be treated by addressing seven different but interconnected modalities, which are behavior, affect, sensation, imagery, cognition, interpersonal factors and drug/biological considerations.
- Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy: This form of Cognitive behavior therapy, focuses its attention on pin pointing the negative thoughts planted in the depressed individuals thought process, introducing ways to challenge those beliefs and finally implementing ways to alter or modify those thoughts.
Psychodynamic psychotherapy :
This therapy is also called Psychotherapy and entails talking to a trained and certified therapist mostly in a one to one session or in the presence of your husband or wife.
In this treatment, the depressed partner talks about their feeling and thoughts where they are encouraged to express their deep lying fears and thoughts among other uncertainties.
These can be associated with any one from spouse or partner to a colleague at work place or even a family member.
Interpersonal psychotherapy is an evidence based approach which solely focuses on addressing the interpersonal relations of the depressed spouse.
It target areas like unfulfilling relationships among closed ones, address unsettled grief in cases of death or separation of close one and sudden changes in lifestyle like retirement or relocation.
These treatments typically range from 12 to 16 weeks where continuous interviews and mental exercises are done regularly
Interpersonal psychotherapy was first introduced back in 1999 and over the years has given considerable help and treatment in depressed patients.
This type of therapy only woks if the depressed spouse has stable mental condition and is not suffering from chronic depression.
Counseling can help you cope with issues like anger, relationship problems, illness, personal loss etc. Counseling will help you reflect and analyze on the ongoing issue sin a depressed individuals life and offers way to address those and offer solution.
However, in counseling there is no discussion of precisely what to do as the conversation are mostly high level.
There are more then 500 different types of antidepressants available for treatment of a depressed spouse. However, there can be few combinations a patient needs to try before narrowing down to the one that is most helpful.
The general principle here is that if the antidepressants are working, one should keep the frequency and the dosage in continuity and have a regular sessions with the doctor who prescribed the same.
Below are the various types of antidepressants available to treat depression:
- Tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) : The Tricyclic antidepressants have been around for a long time and they operate by elevating enzymes erotonin and noradrenaline in your body which lifts the depressed patients mood. They are generally non addictive but side effects can include drowsiness, light-headedness and dry mouth. These fade away after first few days of usage as the body adapts to them.
- Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) : A more modern antidepressants which are also favoured by most of the doctors are called SSRIs which most typically are Seroxat (paroxetine), Prozac (fluoxetine) and Cipramil (citalopram). They also work by improving the mood chemical called erotonin in the depressed patients body and have fewer side effects like dry mouth and sexual issues. But these fade away as well with time as the body adapts.
- Serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs) : There has been introduction of several new antidepressants in the past few years which addresses depression in a slightly changed way. They help in easing depression by effecting the transmission between brain cells. They eventually also address the changes in the body which uplift the mood of the depressed spouse which further relieves the depression. Studies have shown that an SNRI can be more effective than an SSRI, though they’re not routinely prescribed as they can lead to a rise in blood pressure.
A recent study done by NIHR ranked drugs by effectiveness and acceptability after eight weeks of treatment. These are:
Natural ways to treat and cure Depression:
There are certain natural cures to treat depression if you do not want to immediately jump your spouse on antidepressants or the side effect are too great to ignore.
Below are several ways to fight depression naturally:
- Set a routine : Several experts state that if you are clinically depressed, the first thing you need is to fix your routine and work towards your daily goals making small progresses day by day.
This can include certain health related changes and goals like morning work out or a jog or even a walk int he park. exercise seems to effect the chemical endorphin which further lifts the mood of an individual and also infuses positivity in the depressed patient.
As a spouse or partner, your job is to encourage the same and also be actively participating in the routine. This will also help your spouse in the earlier days as they try and fix their schedule and their will be instances when the depressed partner is not upto it. Also Nietzsche said, “He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how. “
- Healthy food: One thing that really takes a hit in a depressed individual is diet as they start gravitating towards comfort food. Next thing you know their is a bulging stomach in an already depressed patient. Instead promote foods like:
- Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids (such as wild salmon, sardines and anchovies, which are very high in omega-3 fatty acids)
- Healthy fats like coconut oil.
- Eat a high protein diet, especially proteins high in tryptophan, like free range turkey.
- Saffron : According to a study in Alternative Medicine Review , taking saffron stigma (the end of the carpel, or rod-like stem, in the flower) has been shown to be effective in treating mild to moderate depression.
- Include greens like spinach, Swiss chard, and kale fuel in your diet which are not only rich in vitamins A, C, E, K, and folate; minerals like iron and calcium; carotenoids; fiber; antioxidants; omega-3s; and phytochemicals, but also cleanses your organs internally.
- Sleep Well: One thing that has been sen historically to aid depression is lack of sleep. Typically, depressed patients suffer from sleep disorders and really need to prioritize it to reduce the overall stress on the mind and body. Certain lifestyle changes can help. These include :
- Shutting off your cell phone or screens well before sleep time
- Use lavender oil and other sleep enhancing aromatic oils.
- Read a book before sleep
- Eat light for dinner
- The target is to get atleast 8 hours of sleep.
- Supplements: These supplements have been shown to ease depression in patients and have almost nil side effects. However, its always a good practice to consult with your physician once before initiating them:
- 5-HTP: This supplement converts directly into serotonin and causes sleepiness or runny stools, if the dose is higher. Must use with great caution if you’re taking an anti-depressant.
- St. John’s Wort : This is a herbal treatment that you can buy from pharmacies and it is often used to help with depression. There’s some evidence that it can help the symptoms of mild-to-moderate depression, but doctors don’t recommend St John’s Wort because the amount of active ingredients change depending on the brand and batch.
- SAMe : SAMe is short for S-adenosyl methionine. It is a synthetic form of a chemical that occurs naturally in the body. This can be a very effective antidepressant, but it can also be expensive. Side effects at higher doses include GI upset, nausea, agitation and insomnia.
- L-Theanine: This is also found in green team if you do not wanto to take pills for the same. Causes sleepiness if taken in excess.
- Fish Oil (DHA/EPA) 1-3 g/day with food.
- Other vitals: In the path to treat depression, also watch out for other vitals and assure they stay in the desired range and do not vary. For instance, the most likely effected area is the hormones which fluctuate after certain antidepressants are introduced in the system. Typically the below hormones are most effected :
- Thyroid gland – TSH, free T4, free T3, total T3, thyroid antibodies
- Adrenal gland – Cortisol, DHEA-S, pregnenolone
- Sex Hormone – Estradiol, progesterone, free and total testosterone
- Meditation: The effect of meditation on anxiety and depression is promising. On the whole the awareness – mental, spiritual and emotional that meditators achieve helps them identify the early signs of anxiety, stress and depression.
This makes it easier to deal with and treat these issues before they snowball. Those who train in mindfulness practice, for example, learn to recognize and distance themselves from unwholesome thoughts and emotions without judging or censoring them. Also note that this should be part of the multi-faceted strategy to treat depression and should be used in combination of other listed treatments.
Also Check out