Does My Spouse Have a Mental Illness?

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Home » Blog » Does My Spouse Have a Mental Illness?

If your husband or wife has begun to exhibit concerning changes in their speech patterns, thought processes, or behaviors, this could indicate that they have a mental health disorder. The good news is that mental health concerns are treatable conditions. To find the right care, you first have to find the answers to a few basic questions, such as: Does my spouse have a mental illness, which disorder have they developed, and how severe are their symptoms?

What Defines a Mental Illness?

To determine if you are the spouse of a husband with mental illness or a wife with mental illness, it is first important to understand what a mental health disorder is.

According to the fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), a mental illness is:

  • A syndrome characterized by clinically significant disturbance in an individual’s cognition, emotion regulation, or behavior that reflects a dysfunction in the psychological, biological, or development processes underlying mental functioning
  • Usually associated with significant distress or disability in social, occupational, or other important activities


Another way of saying this is that a mental health disorder is a condition that disrupts a person’s ability to think clearly, control their emotions, and regulate their behaviors. The symptoms of mental illnesses are typically severe enough to negatively impact a person’s functioning at work, in social situations, or in other significant parts of life.

Problems With Having a Spouse with a Mental Illness

The main problem of having a spouse with a mental illness is that someone you care about is in distress. However, if your husband or wife denies the existence of the problem or refuses to explore treatment options, this can lead to several other negative outcomes, including:

  • Worsening of your spouse’s mental health symptoms
  • Increased risk that your spouse with struggle with substance abuse and addiction
  • Physical harm due to reckless behaviors and poor self-care
  • Difficulties at your wife’s job 
  • Added stress, frustration, and conflicts within your relationship
  • Thoughts of separation or divorce
  • Elevated likelihood that your children will develop mental health concern


If a spouse with a mental illness receives appropriate care, the risk of these and other effects may be minimized. In order for your spouse to get the most effective help, you first need to understand the full scope of their needs.  

Does My Husband or Wife Have a Mental Illness Quiz

If you suspect that your spouse may have a mental illness, the following quiz may be helpful. Take a moment to read each question carefully, then answer with an honest yes or no:

  1. Does your spouse often undergo dramatic, unpredictable swings in mood, attitude, and/or energy?
  2. Have your spouse’s eating habits changed (which can include eating much more or much less than usual)?
  3. Has your husband or wife begun to sleep much too much (hypersomnia) or hardly at all (insomnia)?
  4. Does your spouse seem to be easily distracted, or have trouble concentrating or focusing?
  5. Has your spouse begun to act with uncharacteristic impulsivity, recklessness, or aggression?
  6. Has your husband or wife stopped participating in hobbies, sports, or other activities that used to be very important to them?
  7. Does it feel like your spouse has begun to withdraw from you, from other family members, and/or from their friends?
  8. Has your spouse begun to neglect their appearance, grooming, and/or personal hygiene?
  9. Does your husband or wife frequently talk about death or dying, say they wish they had never been born, or express a desire to simply disappear?
  10. Has your spouse begun to exhibit any other drastic behavioral or psychological changes that have caused you to fear for their health?


Before we discuss how to assess your answers, it’s important to emphasize that this quiz is by no means a diagnostic tool or a replacement for a mental health evaluation. But it can help you decide if you should seek additional help for a spouse with mental illness.

Assessing the Spouse With a Mental Illness Quiz

The 10 questions in our spouse with mental illness quiz reflect common experiences for people who have various mental health disorders. 

If you answered “yes” to any single question, this isn’t incontrovertible proof that your husband or wife has a mental illness. However, if you answered “yes” to several or all of the questions in our spouse with mental illness quiz, this could indicate that your loved one may be in crisis.

To determine if your husband or wife has a mental illness, they should be assessed by a qualified healthcare provider. This professional can provide a diagnosis and, if necessary, recommend an appropriate course of treatment.

How Can I Get My Spouse the Help They Need?

Once you’ve confirmed that your spouse has a mental illness, one of the most important next steps is connecting them with appropriate professional help. 

To accomplish this, you should first take a moment to educate yourself about the range of options that are available to your husband or wife. For example, at Montare at the Canyon, we offer three levels of mental health treatment:


Within these programs, we offer a variety of therapies and support services, including:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
  • Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT)
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) therapy
  • Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) therapy
  • Holistic therapy
  • Neurofeedback


When you are evaluating potential treatment providers, getting answers to the following questions can help you find the right care for a husband or wife with a mental illness:

  • How will the center determine the scope of your spouse’s needs?
  • What levels of care and types of therapy does the center provide?
  • How will they decide which elements of care are right for your spouse?
  • Does the center offer family therapy or other forms of family support?
  • What types of discharge planning or aftercare support does the center offer?


Remember: There’s no such thing as a single “perfect” program that works for everyone. Instead, you should focus on finding the provider whose services and approach to treatment align most closely with your spouse’s needs, goals, and preferences.

Contact Our Mental Health Treatment Center in Malibu, CA

If you have questions about finding the right type of treatment for a spouse with a mental illness, Montare at the Canyon is here to help. Our mental health treatment center in Malibu, California, offers a full continuum of care within a safe, welcoming, and highly supportive environment.

At Montare at the Canyon, your spouse will receive personalized services from a team of highly skilled and dedicated professionals. We will encourage your husband or wife to play an active role in all aspects of their care. This will help them be prepared to regain control over their thoughts and behaviors, advocate for their own needs, and take ownership of their continued recovery.

To learn more or to schedule a free assessment, please visit our Contact Us page or call us today.