Supporting Someone Through Depression Treatment
Your loved has taken an incredibly brave step by asking for help for their depression. From here, the best thing you can do is be as supportive as possible throughout the treatment process.
Note that if, at any point, you think your loved is at risk of suicide, take immediate action. Call a national helpline, like Samaritans, book an urgent appointment with their GP, or head straight to your nearest A& E department.
- Continue to help out in any way you can. From housework to just being a sounding board, its important that you continue trying to be as helpful as possible
- Suggest activities. There are lots of ways people can cope with depression. One of these getting themselves out there, which can be achieved by things like exercise or a taking up a new hobby. You could suggest that your loved one starts looking into activities that they enjoy, that could potentially be a distraction for them. However, if they dont feel up to it at that time, then dont put any more pressure on them
- Be realistic. Even during treatment, there might be bumps along your loved ones road to recovery. If they do seem to be having small setbacks, remain patient and understanding, and dont let frustration set in
Dont Forget To Look Out For Yourself
You might feel like you want to be with your friend every single day, helping them as much as you can. The reality is that you can burn out very quickly.
The truth is that you need time and space to recharge. A burnt-out friend can only help so much, so youre ultimately doing both of you a favor.
Set boundaries. Instead of checking in every day, consider making it every other day. Or you could agree on a set of rules on when you discuss it together, such as not before or after a certain hour .
Its okay to be a little selfish about your time every now and then.
Recognize And Name It
Depression is so ubiquitous, says Toronto professor of clinical psychology Robert T. Muller, that its sometimes referred to by professionals in his field as the common cold of mental illnesses. Despite this fact, its not always recognized by sufferers or their family and friends.
Part of the difficulty is the multifaceted nature of the condition. Its a diagnosis that has so many causes, Muller says. And it shows differently in everyone.
In fact, signs of depression can manifest from four areas of an individuals health: behavioural , physical , cognitive and emotional .
Muller recommends keeping an eye on changes in a loved ones demeanour. They may be depressed if theyre usually outdoorsy and extroverted but start spending more time cooped up at home, and rarely return calls or texts. Muller suggests approaching initial conversations by telling the depressed person that you care about them and have noticed changes in their moods and behaviours. An open and honest dialogue, he says, is often the first step toward treatment.
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Dont Try Forcing Or Encouraging Any Specific Treatment
There are many different ways of treating depression, and just as many different types of medication. Which one your friend ends up taking is their decision.
You may have strong views on certain depression treatments. Whichever way you lean, your opinion is going to have to stay tucked inside your head.
There isnt a guaranteed cure when it comes to depression. Finding out whats right is often a case of trial, error, and discovering what the individual is comfortable with.
Its a really personal decision so leave it to your friend and their healthcare professional. Even if you think that their decision is totally wrong, keep your lips sealed. Throw your energy behind supporting whatever decision they make instead.
Know The Symptoms And How To Reach Out
Depression looks different from person to person, but in general, the major symptoms include:
If you notice these signs in someone you love, the first thing you should do is show your support. You might feel worried about approaching them, but it’s important to be straightforward and express your concern, says Max Maisel, PhD, a clinical psychologist in Los Angeles.
You might consider saying something like:
- “I’ve noticed you have been spending most of your time alone in the past few weeks, and you haven’t been going out with us anymore. I wanted to check in and see if you’re okay. Is there anything I can do to help?”
- “I’ve noticed you haven’t been eating and that you’re withdrawing more. I love you and I want to help you feel better.”
When speaking with your loved one, Feld says it’s important to be honest about what you are noticing and reflect what you are seeing back to them. Try to avoid coming off as judgmental or critical as that will likely cause them to get defensive and withdraw even more.
And don’t worry if your loved one doesn’t respond right away, Maisel says. You have shown them that you care enough to say something, which can be encouraging to them. You can always check in again later to see if they are ready to talk.
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Support Your Loved One In Their Day
While starting treatment is a crucial component to managing depression, your loved one may still need help with their daily functioning. One good way to help may be offering to go to a therapy appointment with them to hear directly from their mental healthcare provider, says Michelle Riba, MD, a clinical professor of psychiatry and associate director of the Comprehensive Depression Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.
You can also offer to help them with tasks that may feel overwhelming, like grocery shopping, laundry, or cleaning the house, or simply suggest you take a quick walk around the block together to get them out and about, Dr. Riba says.
Establishing a routine is also very helpful, says Thames. You might try to make that walk happen every day, for example. Regular physical activity can help ease stress and release endorphins and other neurotransmitters, or chemicals in the brain, that play a role in boosting mood, Thames says.
One form of treatment for depression is behavioral activation, which involves engaging in activities one find meaningful, such as doing an enjoyable form of exercise or volunteering, according to the Beck Institute for Cognitive Behavior Therapy in Bala Cynwyd, Pennsylvania.
Encouraging your loved one to do activities that give them personal satisfaction is important but dont go overboard with activities and socializing, Thames cautions.
What To Do If They Reject Your Help
In an ideal world, we would all accept help when needed. Reality is less perfect. You may instead be faced with a friend who isnt willing to accept help, for that to them may herald a myriad of emotions from shame and weakness, to guilt. Any frustrations need to be parked, for if they have the capacity to make their own decisions, then you have to respect them. Your job is to not burn that bridge, keep the lines of communication open, and be ready – for when your friend is.
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How Can You Tell If Someone Is Dealing With Depression
Depression touches most Americans, whether they experience it personally or it affects someone they know. In fact, The National Institute of Mental Health reports its one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States an estimated 17.3 million adults were living with depression in 2017.
So how can you tell if a friend is just a bit sad or hassomething deeper brewing? There certainly are telltale signs, Dr. Borlandnotes. But since you dont necessarily see that person every day, you may haveto do more detective work.
He recommends watching for behavioral changes or anything that could be out of character for your friend. Some depression symptoms include:
- Lack of engagement:They lose interest in activities they used to enjoy or want to hang out less.
- Change in communication patterns: Youused to chat or hang on the regular, and now theyre MIA.
- Changes in hygiene and sleepingpatterns: Theyre sleeping less or all the time. Their appearance andhygiene no longer seem to be a priority.
- Displays of sadness or anger: Theirtemper now has a hairpin trigger, or maybe they seem more down than usual.
- Withdrawal from social outlets:Theyre missing from activities where they were formerly fixtures.
What To Say When Someone Is Depressed Or Anxious
You could start the conversation by asking questions such as: It seems like things have been hard for you lately. Whats on your mind? and: What can I do to help?
Something Ive learnt is to ask sincere, open-ended questions like, How does this feel? So the other person can feel supported, comforted and safe, rather than being told what to do. ayrc_1904
When you want to bring up a sensitive issue with a friend, try to choose a time and place when youre both comfortable, relaxed and theres some privacy. Dont push them if they dont want to talk, and be there for them if they become upset. You might not have an answer or a solution, but just being there to listen can be super helpful.
It might be difficult for your friend to accept your help continue to check in with them and let them know that you care about them, and that youre there for them if they need you.
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What Is Online Therapy As Well As Why Would Certainly You Need It
Online treatment is a sort of therapy carried out online, typically via a webcam. It has been verified to be a reliable type of treatment for individuals that are as well active or otherwise not able to make it to a therapists office.
It may seem uncommon, but on-line treatment has numerous benefits. It can be carried out in the comfort of your very own house, and its accessible 24/7. You also dont need to bother with organizing appointments or requiring time off work. It can likewise be utilized as a supplement for in-person therapy sessions and also as a means to meet your specialist as well as maintain your mental health and wellness without needing to leave your residence.
There Are Others Who Have It A Lot Worse Youre So Lucky Your Life Is Going So Well Compared To Most People
Again, I get it. You think that youre contextualizing their pain and reminding them of the good in their world in order to distract them from their depressive thoughts. But reminding them of things to be grateful for is more likely to inspire guilt than to make them feel much better.
Its their internal dialogue of I KNOW Im supposed to feel better than I do, but I dont. It sucks, and now I feel even worse for feeling like Im so broken that I cant even appreciate the good that I intellectually know is in my life that wreaks havoc in their minds.
Believe me, people struggling with depression dont usually need to be reminded of what is good in their lives. Theyre well aware of it, and they feel guilty for not having the brain chemicals available to them to be able to feel gratitude for those things.
So, what do people struggling with depression need to hear? Here’s how to help someone with depression by saying these things:
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Tips On How You Can Help Someone With Depression
- Post author
In its mildest form, depression can simply mean feeling low. For most people, feeling sad from time to time is just a natural part of life.
However, for some of us, feelings of sadness, despair and melancholia are present on a daily basis and can prevent us from living our normal lives.
If you can relate to this, it could mean you are suffering from depression and should seek help from a GP or therapist.
It is nothing to be ashamed of, 1 in 4 of us will experience a mental health issue in our lifetime, and depression is one of the most common illnesses.
However, despite this fact, the stigma that still surrounds mental health can often hinder peoples understanding of depression some may feel awkward towards, or unable to help those who are experiencing it.
Remember that not everybody will feel comfortable asking for help, but there are some signs you can look out for, including :
- Avoidance of social events
- Loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy
- Loss of self-confidence or self-esteem
- Unexplained anger and irritability
- Changes in their appetite/weight.
So what should you do to help and support somebody suffering with depression?
Here are 5 ways in which you can help someone who may be suffering from depression.
How To Support Someone In Treatment
You can still support a person even after they seek treatment for depression. If youre unsure how to help, you can ask them how they would like you to support them during this time. Depending upon their level of comfort, they may ask you to be a part of their treatment by attending therapy sessions or appointments. Other people may prefer to get help on their own but may ask you to call or check in with them.
If you think that you may be playing a role in the persons depression, you may even consider getting help yourself. For example, if you suffer from addiction, high levels of stress, or mental health issues yourself, you may not even realize that your own struggles can be impacting your loved one. If this is the case, you may benefit from counseling, therapy, or support groups.
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Talking To Someone With Depression
- Be ready – are you in a good headspace, and do you have the time?
- Be prepared – are you ready for a difficult conversation where you dont have the answers?
- Pick your moment – have you chosen somewhere comfortable to talk, and an appropriate time?
Tips For Helping Someone With Depression Get Treatment
If someone you know is depressed, there are ways to encourage them to get help. However, you dont want to force or pressure them into anything, because this could cause them to say no. Instead, you will want to gently suggest that they get help, while giving them the power to make the decision.
When discussing treatment for depression with a person, consider the following:
Know the treatment options available. Before discussing treatment with a person, do some research on local mental health professionals, treatment centers, and support groups. You can even call ahead to ask about the admissions process, but dont book an appointment without their permission.
Ask the person if they would be open to getting help. Rather than demanding that they seek help, ask if it is something that they would consider. If they seem reluctant, you can remind them that they can take time to think about it. Do not pressure them to make a decision on the spot.
If they seem resistant, ask why without passing judgement. They may tell you that they are nervous, unsure of how to get help, or hopeless that treatment can help them. Depending upon their answer, you can offer support, reassurance, and provide more information to help ease their concerns.
Ask the person if there is any way that you can help. If theyre unsure, you can offer some suggestions, like helping them schedule an appointment or going with them to their first appointment.
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Dont Try And Rush The Process
Theres no set time frame on how long itll take your friend to get to a better place and no rush, either. Medication and therapy will do their jobs, but not overnight.
Its important that your friend has all the time they need to come to terms with their depression and start working through it when theyre ready.
Your friend is the one leading their slow walk toward recovery from depression. Your job is listening, following their lead, supporting them, and reacting to their needs.
Just be there for them, however long it takes.
What if your friend considers suicide?
The signs can be hard to spot. People living with depression are often good at hiding it from the world, and wearing a mask of contentedness. There may be zero indication that theyre considering suicide.
Make A Plan For Recognizing A Relapse
When youre in it for the long haul with someone who has depression, its important to understand that depression is a chronic illness with symptoms that can flare up periodically, just like you might expect with physical conditions like heart disease or diabetes.
Knowing and accepting that there will be ups and downs can help mitigate any personal frustration one may experience when dealing with a depressed loved one, Thames say. Family members or loved ones dealing with someone who has depression may want to seek out personal therapy to help them cope and adjust to the person’s mood.
Although depressive episodes can go into remission with proper treatment, the potential for future relapses can take a toll on relationships, says Thienhaus. That makes it important to talk to your loved one when theyre in remission so that together you can form a plan for how to recognize and respond quickly when a relapse is on the horizon.
Recognizing the early signs is important in order to gently intervene, Thienhaus says.
You can also encourage lifestyle habits that may help keep depression at bay, Riba says, such as:
- Healthy eating and exercise habits
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