My husband has Crohn's and is depressed--how can I help?

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Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 9/18/2009 3:23 PM (GMT -7)   
My husband has had Crohns for the past 10 years.  It is our 1 year anniversary this weekend and he broke down and told me that his Crohn's is causing him to be severely depressed.  We are seeing his GI doc on Tuesday, but in the meantime I don't know what to do.  I try to get him to do activities that we enjoy, I am with him all the time, but nothing seems to help.  This is also making me depressed and is taking a toll on our relationship.  I am wondering if there are any spouses out there that are dealing with a similar situation.  I would greatly appreciate any insight, tips, etc... Thanks
~Andrea (wife of Crohn's patient)

New Member

Date Joined Jul 2009
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 9/18/2009 3:27 PM (GMT -7)   
Does he take vitamins and/or supplements? My son goes to a naturopathic doctor and he looks so good these days and he's been feeling very upbeat. Maybe your husband is depleted of necessary nutrients.

Elite Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 10404
   Posted 9/18/2009 3:39 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Andrea,

What sort of symptoms is your husband experiencing at the moment? For instance, is diarrhoea limiting his ability to get out of the house and be with people, or are his Crohn's symptoms under control and is he now being restricted by his depression?

Does he have a fistula; an ostomy; is he very underweight; does he have any other visible things that might be affecting his confidence and self-esteem?

Co-Moderator Crohn's Forum.

Medications for Crohn's ~~ Diet and Nutritional Therapy for Crohn's ~~ Dealing with Abscesses and Fistulae ~~

Regular Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 209
   Posted 9/18/2009 3:42 PM (GMT -7)   
My G.P. has tried to help me.
Andrea,give yours a try.
He or she might give you a referral,
or dispense you medication.

Happy Anniversary!
B-12injections,Pentasa,Loperamide,Entocort,6mp,Hydrochlorothiazide,8 week
Remission since surgery
and 8-week Remicade.

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 1177
   Posted 9/18/2009 3:52 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi. I'm sorry you two are having such a rough time of it. My husband also suffers from crohn's. When my husband was really really sick last year, and was in the hospital for about 45 days, it was me who needed help out of the deep well of depression and anxiety. It was a combination of him getting better, and me getting on lexapro (depression and anti-anxiety med) that helped me out of it.

While in the hospital, my husband read a lot of books by the Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh, and learned to live in the moment (mindful meditation), and it seemed to help him tremendously. I read the same books, but I really couldn't practice a lot of what it said, and sure enough, it really didn't make me feel any better. Only meds made me feel better. Now that my husband is better, I am no longer on any meds, and I am dealing with our situation ok for now. I do know that the next time I get in a bad way, I will definitely not wait as long as I did to seek some medical help. It really made a difference.

I think any chronic pain can make one depressed, and if his crohn's is active, he's dealing with chronic pain. Also, anxiety about the future, and how things are going to pan out can make one very anxious and depressed about the future as well. I think I would advice seeing a therapist, to learn some coping mechanisms, and also seeking a psychiatrist, to see if both of you can be helped with some meds.

Before my husband's spiral into ill health, I really wasn't a proponent of any medication to get through tough times . . . but now I'm a convert. When life makes you unable to sleep, and unable to find pleasure in anything, even though it's a beautiful day outside, and even though life really isn't terrible right now, and if it is ruining your relationship, it's time to try the meds, and see if it helps.

Oh, I also wanted to add - if his crohn's is active - getting him to remission will help him pull out of depression as well. So, please post what meds he is on, and what his symptoms are, and perhaps we can help you with things to ask his GI (such as progressing to a different med etc) to get him to remission.

Hang in there. Things usually get better.

Husband with Crohn's
Diagnosed March 2003 Ulcerative Proctitis
Diagnosed March 2008 Crohn's & C-diff, hospitalized 45 days
Canasa, Lialda, Remicade, VSL#3, Florastor
In Remission since June 2008
Stopped vancomycin for c-diff Jan 1 2009
C-diff free, until Sep 2, 2009
Fighting c-diff, I guess for life

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 506
   Posted 9/18/2009 4:32 PM (GMT -7)   
Seeing a shrink is a good place to start.
Diagnosed with CD July 2007
Currently on Remicade, Imuran, probiotics, folic acid, multivitamin.

Amor fati - Nietzsche

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2009
Total Posts : 115
   Posted 9/20/2009 6:21 AM (GMT -7)   
My husband is on humira, lomotil, Calcium +D, b12 injections, and colestid.  He has had 2 bowel resections (1999 & 2006)

Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2005
Total Posts : 769
   Posted 9/20/2009 3:46 PM (GMT -7)   

Hi andrealeigh71, I just wanted to let you know I think your husband is extremely lucky to have someone who is going to these lengths to try and understand the hard times he is going through at the moment. I am only 23 and having a really hard time of dealing with my crohn’s at the moment, emotionally just as much as physically….. I am considering seeing a counsellor also. I have been told that a counsellor connected to a gastro or specialist crohn’s centre (someone who has experience in dealing with chronic illnesses) – is the way to go, so I am going to ask my GI next time I see him. Maybve going somewhere where the both of you can sit down and talk about things openly without being embarrassed would help?


In terms of day-to-day stuff, I would say just make sure he knows you still think he’s sexy ;) and funny, and remind him that you love him for who he is with his crohn’s, and that you wouldn’t have him ‘any other way’ and that you are going to get through the tough times together.


I’m sorry I don’t have any better advice!

Regular Member

Date Joined May 2009
Total Posts : 251
   Posted 9/23/2009 4:50 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Phoebe. I have crohn's and my husband tells me the same things. That he only wants me just the way I am, sick and all. It makes me feel better knowing that no matter what he's by my side. But the thing is sometimes you won't understand because you are not the one who has to deal with a sick body day in and day out. It can be extremely frustrating and depressing. Just be supportive but not overbearing I find helps the most.
Current meds:  Remicade and probiotics
Tried:  Prednisone, lialda, antibiotics all failed attempts.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2008
Total Posts : 1753
   Posted 9/23/2009 8:24 PM (GMT -7)   
Walking a few minutes helps for a little while because of the exercise and the vitamin D from sun exposure. Making sure he has a good supplement is also a good idea.
Really try and see if he'll go see a councilor or psychiatrist. You HAVE to talk to someone who can understand you...letting it bottle up is not a good idea. I know not everyone does, but I get self destructive after a certain point. Apathy and depression really can be harmful.
I hope you guys find the right solution for him...this disease is so disheartening, but there are ways around it. We'll all inevitably have sad days, but if you can find some things that you truly enjoy (within a reasonable range) STICK TO IT.
20 years old, Diagnosed with moderate to severe Crohn's and Colitis in May of 2008.
Currently taking: Prednisone 5 mg, pentasa 2 pills 4x a day, omeprazole in the morning, and a women's multivitamin. I'm also trying a B vitamin complex, but it doesn't seem to be working so I'm considering the shots.
Diet almost completely without refined sugars, wheat, flour, gluten, high lactose dairy, and/or junk food in general.
Learning how to live again.
"He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how."

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2003
Total Posts : 1671
   Posted 9/23/2009 8:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Your love and support is essential. I have been so sick and feel guilty for all the extra my hubby has to do. Even though it's not our fault, we struggle with this. It's hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when flaring. Knowing you are there for him is very important. I don't know what I would do if he weren't able to help me through this. He is having a tough time as a caregiver and all the extra responsibilities he has had to take on, and I get it, because there was a time when he was very ill and I had to take care of him while flaring. We have put the "in sickness and in health" to the test many times. You have to take care of yourself as well because it is very hard to have a sick and/or depressed spouse. Are there family or friends that can help? Sometimes just knowing others care can make a big difference. I was told that b vitamins can help with depression and my husband is taking a supplement to see if that will help with his depression. I hope things look up for you both soon.
Dxd CD in 2003. Scope Aug/09 shows UC.
Meds: Colazal, prednisone, vancomycyn, prilosec, darvocet, bentyl
Currently in bad flare-up

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