How does depression affect a veteran’s marital life?

Depression can have a very damaging effect on a veteran’s marriage. When depression goes untreated, the veteran loses interest in life and all the things he/she used to find enjoyable. Lack of interest in favorite activities, maintaining relationships, and in sexual intimacy are all typical symptoms of depression. The spouse in this situation may first react by trying encouragement or suggesting that the veteran be more positive. This approach may backfire if it is perceived as criticism, and then cause the veteran to feel even more depressed. The spouse may feel the need to take on more of the family responsibilities to make up for the depressed veteran’s lack of involvement. Caring for a spouse with untreated depression can feel like being a single parent with an extra, grown-up child.

Depression can seem contagious, because it drags down others around the sufferer. Some research studies have found that marital problems can slow down or prevent recovery from depression. The veteran may need treatment for depression, but the spouse may need counseling or support as well. Treatment for depression is more successful than for any other mood disorder, and a faltering marriage can be saved by it at the same time.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.