When a Loved One Is Dealing With Depression

If you or the person you love is dealing with depression, Dr. Peter Kramer, author of Against Depression (Viking, 2005), has some information that may prove helpful to you and your mate.

Kramer states that, "Husbands and wives of depressives are twice as likely to be diagnosed with or treated for depression."

If your loved one is battling this sometimes-debilitating mood disorder, it doesn't necessarily mean that you will also succumb, but it does indicate that you need to take stock of what's going on in your lives.

According to Kramer, if you have chosen a partner who has demonstrated a pension for melancholy, it may prove helpful to understand the attraction. For some, this behavior pattern can be seen as charming. People can be seduced by the mystery that has surrounded depression. Women are attracted to "bad boys," and men enjoy being strong for the sensitive women who "need" them. As time passes, the difficulties that arise with these behaviors can overshadow any allure that may have existed.

Most people wouldn't pick a partner who is obviously depressed, and many times it isn't something that is seen until years into a marriage. He believes that there is no desirability here and alleviating depression needs to be at the forefront of any relationship where it exists.

Once you have had major depression, you are more likely to have it again. So you need to be aware of signs and symptoms that are indicators of this.If there is a lack of interest or pleasure in normal activities, hopelessness, chronic pain or irritability, sleep difficulties, significant weight loss or gain, constant worry, fatigue, inappropriate guilt, continual crying or thoughts of suicide that last for more than two weeks, there is reason for concern. Getting a full medical and psychological evaluation is your best weapon against this foe.There is also a type of depression called dysthmia, which is diagnosed after a person has had symptoms for at least two years. Some of these include low energy, low self-esteem, poor concentration or difficulty making decisions. This condition is not to be taken lightly, as it can make your life and your relationship unmanageable.If you believe that everyone's depressed and it's a part of life or a necessity for creativity, you need to re-examine your ideas. Depression can and does ruin lives; it also kills people.Between doctors, support groups and reading material, there's a lot of help available. There are also many new medications as well as natural remedies, like fish oil and exercise, that have proven to be very effective, especially when combined with talk therapy.
The truth is that most people never suffer a major depressive episode. Kramer himself states that he has never been depressed, and I know many others who make the same claim. However, if this is something you suspect in yourself or someone you love, don't wait for things to get worse before you take action. A caring partner wouldn't want a loved one to suffer from something so painful.Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., has resided and practiced in Westlake Village, Calif., for a decade.Source: Scripps Howard. Powered by Yellowbrix.
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