Untreated Depression Could Devastate Your Marriage
At any given time, 5% of adults suffer from clinical depression. Depression consists of more than just a bad mood or feeling sad for a couple of days. When a spouse’s depression lasts for a long time and has serious impacts on the marriage, the other spouse may choose to consult with a New Jersey family law attorney and initiate divorce proceedings.
What Happens When a Spouse With Depression Doesn’t Get Help?
When one’s partner feels sad, upset, frustrated, annoyed or some other strong emotion, the other lends support. Depression is altogether different. It affects both partners in the marriage. While the person with depression might feel hopeless, worthless, unsociable, withdrawn, short-tempered, fatigued or irritable, their spouse has their own slew of complaints. The spouse without depression often reports feeling overburdened, hurt, jealous, frustrated, ignored or as if they are on their own. When one spouse can’t take it any longer, they might seek individual or couples therapy, or they might reach out to a New Jersey family law attorney in order to learn about their options.
Depression Takes a Toll on a Marriage
A person with depression may experience a loss of sexual interest. This affects their intimacy with their partner and may even cause their partner to become depressed. A person with untreated depression may stop engaging with their partner. The lack of communication causes a deeper disconnect between the two spouses. Each spouse feels as if the other doesn’t understand them or care about their experience. No matter how much a couple has in common, a marriage may not be able to withstand a lack of communication, trust, intimacy and socializing for long.
Depression Manifests Itself in Many Ways
Although depression is categorized as a mental illness, its effects aren’t limited to the brain. People with depression may report headaches, body aches, stomach pain and trouble with eating or sleeping. They often have low libido. Depression often causes cognitive issues, including lack of concentration, poor problem-solving and difficulty making decisions. Depression has significant impacts on emotional health. It causes a loss of enjoyment in socializing or other activities that used to bring joy.
Untreated Underlying Conditions Breed Toxicity
Some people with untreated depression develop bad habits that affect only themselves, such as overeating or sleeping too much. People with depression may also engage in behaviors that are toxic not just to themselves but to their marriage and other relationships. Depression often leads to substance abuse, infidelity, a lack of self-care or violent or self-destructive behavior. At this point, one spouse may decide that the marriage is over and contact a New Jersey family law attorney to start the divorce process.
Treating Depression May Improve the Marriage
Depression doesn’t develop overnight, and treatment may take a while. If both partners are willing to give the process some time, they may be able to work through their difficulties without completing the divorce. In-person and telehealth therapy offer couples a chance to air their grievances in a safe setting. Mental health professionals include social workers, counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists.
The person with depression will likely need to attend separate counseling sessions. They may also need a psychiatrist or general practitioner if their condition requires antidepressant medications. Many therapists have waiting lists, even for individuals with private insurance. However, marital and individual therapy sessions may help the person with depression and the couple to resolve their issues. Even if the marriage can’t be saved, therapy may help with communication and establishing a positive co-parenting relationship for the future.
When you plan to divorce your spouse, consulting with our New Jersey family law attorney provides you with essential information about what to expect throughout the process. To make an appointment at our Cherry Hill, NJ law office, call us at (856) 489-6200. You may also request an appointment online by visiting the Morgenstern & Rochester online contact form, and an associate will reach out to you to schedule a consultation.