How To Help My Husband with Depression

Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While many people are able to live with depression and go about living a relatively normal life, for some depression is so debilitating that it can keep them from going about their life.

Living with a spouse who suffers from depression can be a scary and, at times, even overwhelming experience. After all, you want to be there for your husband and help him feel better, but it isn’t always that easy.

So, how can you help your husband with his depression?

Keep reading to learn more about the signs of depression, what can cause depression in men, and how to help your husband with depression.

What Should You Do if Your Husband is Depressed?

For many spouses of someone struggling with depression, one of the biggest stressors is not knowing what to do or how to help. Beyond that as well, there may be times when your husband is having a particularly bad depressive episode and things you may be doing that you think are helpful may be making the situation worse.

What should you be doing if your husband is depressed?

  1. Promote and Encourage Open Communication – Create a safe and non-judgmental space where your husband feels comfortable expressing his feelings. Make sure to let him know that it’s ok to be open and honest about his emotions and that you are always there to listen in a non-judgmental way.
  2. Educate Yourself – Learning more about depression and how it may be affecting your husband can allow you to be more supportive. Take the time to learn about things such as symptoms, treatment options, and the challenges your husband might be facing. Knowing all this can help you provide more effective and targeted support.
  3. Be Patient – Battling depression comes with a wide range of emotions. It’s important to be patient as your husband processes everything he is going through.
  4. Encourage Him To Seek Professional Help – Gently suggest that your husband seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Professional treatment, including therapy and medication, can be highly effective in managing depression. You can even offer to help him with the process of finding a treatment professional
  5. Seek Support For Yourself – Your husband isn’t the only one who can benefit from talking to a professional. Being the spouse of someone who is suffering from depression can be emotionally taxing as well. Talking with a professional can help you navigate your own struggles in a healthy manner.

What Does Depression Look Like in Men?

Depression looks different in everyone. Some people may be able to hide their depression and go about their lives in a relatively normal way on the surface. For others, their depression may be quite noticeable and may even cause issues when it comes to going about their daily life. Beyond just that, when it comes to symptoms, depression may look different for men compared to women.

Being able to recognize symptoms of depression specifically in men can not only help identify if your husband is struggling with depression, but it can also get the process started of getting him the professional help needed to address it.

Below are some of the ways that depression can manifest itself in men:

Men suffering from depression will often lash out emotionally. This can include irritability, anger, and even aggression. If your husband is suffering from depression you may start to notice that he is getting easily agitated more often or he is displaying a shorter temper.

Has your husband started losing interest in hobbies and social activities? Has he started pulling away when it comes to basic interactions? If so, he may be suffering from depression.

Depression in men also comes with a number of physical symptoms in addition to psychological ones. Common physical symptoms associated with depression can include headaches, digestive issues, and chronic pain.

Men suffering from depression may experience extreme changes in their sleep patterns including insomnia or excessive sleeping. These changes can help contribute to the mood swings mentioned above.

When dealing with mental health struggles, many people turn to self-medicating in an attempt to cope with their feelings and make themselves feel better, even if just for a brief period. This includes men suffering from depression.

While in the short-term abusing these substances may appear to be working, long-term doing so can actually worsen depression symptoms as well as lead to the development of substance addiction.

Men with depression often experience intense feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt. In extreme cases, these feelings may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Depression can impair cognitive functions, making it challenging for your husband to concentrate, make decisions, or complete tasks effectively.

What is the Number One Cause of Depression in Men?

Unfortunately, there is no one single cause of depression in men. In fact, several factors can lead to the increased risk of depression in men, including:

  • Biological Factors – Men who have a history of depression in their family are more likely to suffer from depression themselves.
  • Life Events – Stressful life events, such as job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, or the death of a loved one, can trigger depression in men.
  • Work-Related Issues – Job dissatisfaction, high demands, long hours, and lack of work-life balance can contribute to the development of depression.
  • Relationship Issues – Strained relationships, marital problems, and lack of social support can increase the risk of depression in men.
  • Trauma – Experiencing trauma or abuse, especially during childhood, can have long-lasting effects on mental health, leaving the person more susceptible to depression in adulthood.
  • Substance Abuse – While substance abuse can be an unintended cause of untreated depression, it can also cause or worsen depression.
  • Chronic Pain and Illness– Men dealing with ongoing health issues may experience depression as they cope with the challenges and limitations imposed by their condition.

What Do Men Need When They’re Depressed?

wife comforting her husband

While as a spouse, you can’t singlehandedly cure your husband’s depression, there are certain things you can do on a daily basis to help them work through their depression in a healthy manner.

Consider the following if your husband suffers from depression:

  • Offer Compassion – Showing compassion and empathy by acknowledging their feelings can not only make them feel more comfortable to open up but it may also encourage them to seek professional help.
  • Encourage Them To See a Therapist – While it is ok to encourage your husband to talk to a professional, make sure you do it in a way where he doesn’t feel forced or pressured. You can even offer to help in the process of finding a therapist.
  • Provide Support – Whether it’s taking on some of their daily duties or just being a listening ear, it’s important to make sure your husband knows that you are there for him.
  • Be Patient – Be patient with your husband and avoid setting unrealistic expectations for his progress. Celebrate small victories and provide continuous support.
  • Always Keep the Lines of Communication Open – Maintain open lines of communication and check in with your husband regularly. Let him know that you’re available to listen whenever he needs to talk.
  • Encourage Them To Stay Engaged – Encourage your husband to stay connected with friends and family. Social support is crucial for mental health, and maintaining relationships can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Encourage Them To Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle – Promote healthy lifestyle habits by encouraging regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. You can even participate with them which can foster a sense of connection and support.

Learn More on How To Help Your Husband with Depression

couple tying their shoes to go on a run together in the city

Supporting a husband with depression requires patience, understanding, and dedication. By recognizing the signs of depression, encouraging professional help, and providing unwavering support, you can play a vital role in his recovery process.

At Acqua Recovery, we understand this journey may not only be difficult for your husband but for you as well. That’s why, in addition to treatment for mental health conditions such as depression, we also offer therapies for family members of the person suffering, including family therapy.

If your husband suffers from depression and needs therapeutic treatment, contact us today.

How To Help My Husband with Depression

Dr. Daniel Pickrell

Dr. Daniel Pickrell
Medical Reviewer

Dr. Pickrell is a board-certified psychiatrist with interests in addiction and psychiatry. He strives to identify the underlying cause of substance use. His understanding of addiction as the overlapping symptoms of biopsychosocial development is the foundation to his care model. He is committed to helping both patients and families understand that addiction is a treatable medical illness. He has been involved in the treatment of addiction for the last 17 years and completed his residency training at the University of Utah.

Depression is a complex mental health condition that affects millions of people worldwide. While many people are able to live with depression and go about living a relatively normal life, for some depression is so debilitating that it can keep them from going about their life.

Living with a spouse who suffers from depression can be a scary and, at times, even overwhelming experience. After all, you want to be there for your husband and help him feel better, but it isn’t always that easy.

So, how can you help your husband with his depression?

Keep reading to learn more about the signs of depression, what can cause depression in men, and how to help your husband with depression.

What Should You Do if Your Husband is Depressed?

For many spouses of someone struggling with depression, one of the biggest stressors is not knowing what to do or how to help. Beyond that as well, there may be times when your husband is having a particularly bad depressive episode and things you may be doing that you think are helpful may be making the situation worse.

What should you be doing if your husband is depressed?

  1. Promote and Encourage Open Communication - Create a safe and non-judgmental space where your husband feels comfortable expressing his feelings. Make sure to let him know that it’s ok to be open and honest about his emotions and that you are always there to listen in a non-judgmental way.
  2. Educate Yourself - Learning more about depression and how it may be affecting your husband can allow you to be more supportive. Take the time to learn about things such as symptoms, treatment options, and the challenges your husband might be facing. Knowing all this can help you provide more effective and targeted support.
  3. Be Patient - Battling depression comes with a wide range of emotions. It’s important to be patient as your husband processes everything he is going through.
  4. Encourage Him To Seek Professional Help - Gently suggest that your husband seek help from a mental health professional, such as a therapist, counselor, or psychiatrist. Professional treatment, including therapy and medication, can be highly effective in managing depression. You can even offer to help him with the process of finding a treatment professional
  5. Seek Support For Yourself - Your husband isn’t the only one who can benefit from talking to a professional. Being the spouse of someone who is suffering from depression can be emotionally taxing as well. Talking with a professional can help you navigate your own struggles in a healthy manner.

What Does Depression Look Like in Men?

Depression looks different in everyone. Some people may be able to hide their depression and go about their lives in a relatively normal way on the surface. For others, their depression may be quite noticeable and may even cause issues when it comes to going about their daily life. Beyond just that, when it comes to symptoms, depression may look different for men compared to women.

Being able to recognize symptoms of depression specifically in men can not only help identify if your husband is struggling with depression, but it can also get the process started of getting him the professional help needed to address it.

Below are some of the ways that depression can manifest itself in men:

Men suffering from depression will often lash out emotionally. This can include irritability, anger, and even aggression. If your husband is suffering from depression you may start to notice that he is getting easily agitated more often or he is displaying a shorter temper.

Has your husband started losing interest in hobbies and social activities? Has he started pulling away when it comes to basic interactions? If so, he may be suffering from depression.

Depression in men also comes with a number of physical symptoms in addition to psychological ones. Common physical symptoms associated with depression can include headaches, digestive issues, and chronic pain.

Men suffering from depression may experience extreme changes in their sleep patterns including insomnia or excessive sleeping. These changes can help contribute to the mood swings mentioned above.

When dealing with mental health struggles, many people turn to self-medicating in an attempt to cope with their feelings and make themselves feel better, even if just for a brief period. This includes men suffering from depression.

While in the short-term abusing these substances may appear to be working, long-term doing so can actually worsen depression symptoms as well as lead to the development of substance addiction.

Men with depression often experience intense feelings of hopelessness, worthlessness, and guilt. In extreme cases, these feelings may lead to suicidal thoughts or actions.

Depression can impair cognitive functions, making it challenging for your husband to concentrate, make decisions, or complete tasks effectively.

What is the Number One Cause of Depression in Men?

Unfortunately, there is no one single cause of depression in men. In fact, several factors can lead to the increased risk of depression in men, including:

  • Biological Factors - Men who have a history of depression in their family are more likely to suffer from depression themselves.
  • Life Events - Stressful life events, such as job loss, financial difficulties, divorce, or the death of a loved one, can trigger depression in men.
  • Work-Related Issues - Job dissatisfaction, high demands, long hours, and lack of work-life balance can contribute to the development of depression.
  • Relationship Issues - Strained relationships, marital problems, and lack of social support can increase the risk of depression in men.
  • Trauma - Experiencing trauma or abuse, especially during childhood, can have long-lasting effects on mental health, leaving the person more susceptible to depression in adulthood.
  • Substance Abuse - While substance abuse can be an unintended cause of untreated depression, it can also cause or worsen depression.
  • Chronic Pain and Illness- Men dealing with ongoing health issues may experience depression as they cope with the challenges and limitations imposed by their condition.

What Do Men Need When They're Depressed?

wife comforting her husband

While as a spouse, you can’t singlehandedly cure your husband’s depression, there are certain things you can do on a daily basis to help them work through their depression in a healthy manner.

Consider the following if your husband suffers from depression:

  • Offer Compassion - Showing compassion and empathy by acknowledging their feelings can not only make them feel more comfortable to open up but it may also encourage them to seek professional help.
  • Encourage Them To See a Therapist - While it is ok to encourage your husband to talk to a professional, make sure you do it in a way where he doesn’t feel forced or pressured. You can even offer to help in the process of finding a therapist.
  • Provide Support - Whether it’s taking on some of their daily duties or just being a listening ear, it’s important to make sure your husband knows that you are there for him.
  • Be Patient - Be patient with your husband and avoid setting unrealistic expectations for his progress. Celebrate small victories and provide continuous support.
  • Always Keep the Lines of Communication Open - Maintain open lines of communication and check in with your husband regularly. Let him know that you're available to listen whenever he needs to talk.
  • Encourage Them To Stay Engaged - Encourage your husband to stay connected with friends and family. Social support is crucial for mental health, and maintaining relationships can provide a sense of belonging and reduce feelings of isolation.
  • Encourage Them To Adopt a Healthy Lifestyle - Promote healthy lifestyle habits by encouraging regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate sleep. You can even participate with them which can foster a sense of connection and support.

Learn More on How To Help Your Husband with Depression

couple tying their shoes to go on a run together in the city

Supporting a husband with depression requires patience, understanding, and dedication. By recognizing the signs of depression, encouraging professional help, and providing unwavering support, you can play a vital role in his recovery process.

At Acqua Recovery, we understand this journey may not only be difficult for your husband but for you as well. That’s why, in addition to treatment for mental health conditions such as depression, we also offer therapies for family members of the person suffering, including family therapy.

If your husband suffers from depression and needs therapeutic treatment, contact us today.

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