Do you find it difficult to have a relationship with your spouse because of their mood disorder? Are you unsure on how you can deal with your spouse’s mood disorder? To help understand what type of impact a spouse’s mood disorder can have on the marriage and for tips on dealing with a spouse’s mood disorder, I have interviewed therapist Cathy Malmon, LMFT, LICSW.
Tell me a little bit about yourself.
“I am both an LMFT and LICSW. I have been in the field for close to 30 years working as a therapist in the mental health field. Recently two partners and I have opened up The Calli Institute in Maple Grove, Minnesota. Calli Institute utilizes a wellness approach to mental health issues.”
What type of impact can a spouse’s mood disorder have on the marriage?
“A mood disorder can impact the marriage on several levels. There can be changes in the relationship depending on how the mood disorder is manifested. Mood can run the gamut of tearfulness, irritability, to rage. Changes in sleep, appetite, hygiene, libido and general interest can be apparent or not as noticeable. Spouses might notice that there are subtle changes in the relationship, where their mate has changed over time. The changes can be more significant; where the irritability and mood are so significant that the relationship becomes more conflictual and tense. Some spouses report that they often end up taking on more of the responsibilities in the relationship or end up engaging in social activities by themselves, thereby increasing the resentment and detachment in the marriage. The spouse often ends up changing themselves in response to their mate.”
What are some tips for dealing with a spouse’s mood disorder?
“Communication is key to dealing with a mood disorder. Sharing observations can be helpful. Depending on the relative strength of the relationship, those observations can be key in encouraging the spouse to seek help for the mood disorder. Because the spouse might end up in taking up some of the slack in the relationship they might also need support themselves via counseling or other outside support systems. Gender does often play a role in mood disorders and marriages with men less open to seeking help for these issues.”
What type of professional help is available for a spouse with a mood disorder?
“Professional help is available through local counseling services and medical interventions. A primary care physician can be the first contact to consult as they have the ability to administer medication. For more persistent mood disorders or more serious problems, psychiatrists and nurse practitioners have the expertise to consult and manage more serious, complicated mood disorders. For those dealing with a spouse’s mood disorder, I would counsel them to trust their own instincts. If you think there are changes in the marriage, there are. Mood disorders are treatable. If your spouse will not get help, seek it for yourself.”
Thank you Cathy for doing the interview on tips for dealing with your spouse’s mood disorder. For more information on Cathy Malmon or her work you can check out her website on www.calliinstitute.com.
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