How Clinical Depression Affects Your Marriage and Divorce

How Clinical Depression Affects Your Marriage and DivorcePeople commonly experience depression after a traumatic event, such as leaving a stressful marriage and getting a divorce. However, there is a distinction between trauma-related depression and clinical depression, which can be hereditary. Depression caused by trauma can gradually subside, though it may take months or years. Clinical depression, also known as major depression, likely existed before your divorce and may grow worse if left untreated. Research suggests that people with clinical depression are more likely to have conflict in their marriages, which may lead to divorce.

Recognizing Depression

Most people feel sad when they have bad experiences, but not everyone feels depressed. Clinical and trauma-related depression have similar symptoms that are greater than sadness, including:

  • Feeling hopeless;
  • Fatigue;
  • Irritability;
  • Insomnia;
  • Lack of concentration;
  • Change in appetite;
  • Losing interest in normal activities; and
  • Suicidal thoughts.

People with trauma-related depression can identify specific events that triggered their depression, which may help their treatment. Clinical depression may be related to someone’s brain chemistry and how his or her mind responds to stress. Negative experiences that some people consider to be minor may cause a more heightened reaction in people with clinical depression. A traumatic event such as divorce is almost certain to cause major depression in these people.

Depression and Marriage

The symptoms of depression can cause frustration between spouses, especially when only one spouse has depression. A depressed spouse may:

  • Seem disinterested in the marriage and activities;
  • Be unwilling to help with marital or parental responsibilities;
  • Show a lack of focus or motivation in his or her career; and
  • Be more argumentative and irritable with his or her spouse.

These symptoms put stress on the other spouse and create feelings of resentment, both of which can lead to divorce. However, researchers believe that depressed spouses are more likely to get along when both of them have clinical depression because they may better understand each others’ fluctuating moods. A spouse who does not have depression may believe that the depressed spouse should be able to overcome the depression with effort and a positive attitude.

Treating Depression

You should visit a doctor if you are suffering from prolonged periods of depression. Treatment may include:

  • Seeing a therapist;
  • Taking medication; and
  • Changing your lifestyle.

You should also inform your divorce lawyer if your divorce has you depressed. A Kane County divorce attorney at Geneva Family Lawyers can relieve some of the stress of your divorce by handling the legal work and answering your questions. To schedule a free consultation, call 331-588-6611.


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