Thursday, July 18, 2024

How To Give Good Advice To Someone Who Is Depressed

Depression Can Make People Withdraw

7 Things to Say to Someone With Depression

It may feel like the depressed friend is pulling away from the friendship. But this is usually a symptom of the depression itself. In his 2017 Ted Talk, comedian, and storyteller Bill Bernat spoke about his own clinical depression and said, Depression doesnt diminish a persons desire to connect with other people, just their ability.1

A person who is depressed may feel unworthy of friendship. Dr. Saltz says, They may say, no one would want to be with me or I have no energy to engage in conversation but that is the chemical depression talking.

Depression may cause a person to push away the friends that are trying to be supportive. Again, this is most likely the depression talking and not the friends actual feelings. Caroline Leaf, a clinical psychologist explains, People can be difficult when they are depressed, but we should not take this personally, which often happens when one friend is depressed and tends to lash out at the other friend. This person may not be aware that what they are doing is wrong, or what is going on inside them, or they may not even care, she says. Or they may even be asking for help, but in a really roundabout and confusing way.

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.

Remind Them You’re There For Them

Depression can feel as though no one understands what you are feeling or even cares enough to try to understand, which can be isolating and overwhelming.

Research has shown that people tend to withdraw when they are depressed, so reaching out to a friend in need is an important first step. If your friend isn’t ready to talk, continue to offer your support by spending time with them and try to check in regularly, either in person, on the phone, or by text.

When you reach out to a friend, letting them know that you are going to be there every step of the way can be very reassuring.

You may not quite know what this will look like at first, but know that just reminding your friend that you are someone they can lean on can mean the world.

Read Also: Can You Overcome Depression Without Medication

Help Them To Find Support

Your friend might not be aware of what professional support options are available, or they may be unsure of how to get support. Even if they know about support options, it can be daunting to see a health professional.

You can offer support by encouraging your friend to speak to a health professional or an adult they trust. You could offer to join them for the conversation if they want, or even ask if theyd like you to book the appointment if its with a professional. A GP can organise a mental health care plan for them if needed. This means that your friend will get a referral to a psychologist or other professional. Theyll also get Medicare-subsidised sessions getting help doesnt have to mean they have to fork out hundreds of dollars.

Not everyone is ready to see somebody face-to-face. You could recommend hotlines or online chat-based helplines. The ReachOut NextStep tool can also provide tailored support options so they can make their own plan. Here are some support services they could use, and some more information about getting professional support for depression and anxiety.

If theyre not able to seek help on their own, ask for their permission to talk to an adult they trust on their behalf. If they refuse, and youre still really concerned, consider talking to an adult you trust, such as a teacher, parent or school counsellor.

How To Talk About Suicide

Rethink Depression on Twitter: " As a friend or relative of ...

In addition to the above tips, remember that speaking openly and honestly about suicide will not increase the likelihood of suicide and, in fact, often helps. Try to avoid judgemental language and use the term, “die by suicide,” if possible . Do not glorify suicide nor dwell significantly on suicide methods.

Read Also: Why Is It Hard To Shower When Depressed

What Can I Do If Someone Doesn’t Want My Help

If you feel that someone you care about is clearly struggling but can’t or won’t reach out for help, and won’t accept any help you offer, it’s understandable to feel frustrated, distressed and powerless. But it’s important to accept that they are an individual, and that there are always limits to what you can do to support another person.

You can:

  • Be patient. You won’t always know the full story, and there may be reasons why they are finding it difficult to ask for help.
  • Offer emotional support and reassurance. Let them know you care about them and you’ll be there if they change their mind.
  • Inform them how to seek help when they’re ready .
  • Look after yourself, and make sure you don’t become unwell yourself.

You can’t:

  • Force someone to talk to you. It can take time for someone to feel able to talk openly, and putting pressure on them to talk might make them feel less comfortable telling you about their experiences.
  • Force someone to get help . As adults, we are all ultimately responsible for making our own decisions. This includes when or if we choose to seek help when we feel unwell.
  • See a doctor for someone else. A doctor might give you general information about symptoms or diagnoses, but they won’t be able to share any specific advice or details about someone else without their agreement.

What Causes Depression In Men

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the U.S. Current research suggests that depression is caused by a combination of risk factors including:

  • Genetic factorsmen with a family history of depression may be more likely to develop it than those whose family members do not have the illness.
  • Environmental Stressfinancial problems, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, major life changes, work problems, or any stressful situation may trigger depression in some men.
  • Illnessdepression can occur with other serious medical illnesses, such as diabetes, cancer, heart disease, or Parkinsons disease. Depression can make these conditions worse and vice versa. Sometimes, medications taken for these illnesses may cause side effects that trigger or worsen depression.

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Make Sure You Actually Know What Youre Talking About

The second biggest sin of advice-giving is giving someone advice when you dont have the proper experience yourself. The person youre trying to help may not notice, but I guarantee you people who do have the experience will notice. And whether they say anything or not, you will lose credibility. As the old adage goes: He who thinks he knows everything, learns nothing.

If you dont have experience but you do feel like you have an important or useful observation to make, then you should always qualify it by saying: Ive never had this problem before, but it seems to me or something similar before speaking or posting.

Classic Bad Advice Example: Getting advice on how to fuck from a virgin.

Learn About Depression On Your Own

How to Help Someone Who is Depressed

Imagine having to educate each person in your life about a mental or physical health condition youre experiencing explaining it over and over again. Sounds exhausting, right?

You can talk with your friend about their specific symptoms or how theyre feeling, but avoid asking them to tell you about depression in general terms.

Read up on the symptoms, causes, diagnostic criteria, and treatments on your own.

While people experience depression differently, being familiar with the general symptoms and terminology can help you have more in-depth conversations with your friend.

These articles are a good starting point:

Also Check: How Do I Support Someone With Depression

How Are You Managing How Is Your Depression

This can give you some insight into how their treatment is going or if they need help getting professional assistance.

Depression is a medical condition. Its not a flaw or weakness. If someone you love has depression, encourage them to seek professional help if they havent already done so. Remind them that asking for help is a sign of strength, not weakness.

Asking how their treatment is going can also encourage them to stick with their treatment plan. You may also tell them when youve noticed improvements. This can help validate its working, even if they dont always feel like it is.

Accept That Some People Wont Ever Listen

Dont even try

Some people just wont listen. And thats fine. Just let them fall. That sound harsh, but its for the best. We cant save everyone with life-saving advice.

A know-it-all tells you she majors in creative writing? Just let it happen. A close buddy wont listen to your ? Hell have to learn the hard way. Your energy should not be dumped into these people. Your energy can be used for many more people. So, focus on the ones that you really care about, like family. Also, try to get people that are on the fence. Just dont worry about people that are dead set on self-destruction.

Read Also: Major Depressive Disorder Disability Rating

What Causes Depression

There is no single cause of depression. Different things may cause depression for different people. This section looks at some of the things that might cause depression, or depressive symptoms.

Can depression be inherited?

There is not a clear pattern to suggest that depression can be inherited. Some studies suggest that your genetics can play a part in developing depression. For example, 1 study found that particular genes may play a key role in developing recurrent depression.

Some researchers have suggested that people who have a parent or sibling with depression, have a 2 to 3 times more chance of developing depression. However, just because a relative lives with depression, it does not mean you will too.

Can my background or current situation cause depression?

Researchers have looked at whether having parents or other family members with depression can increase your chances of developing the condition. For example, a study has looked into the effects having a mother with postpartum depression can have on children as they grow up.

Research has also suggested that stressful events, such as problems at home or work, a relationship ending or financial issues may also make it more likely you will get depression.

Can my hormones or the chemicals in my body cause depression?

Changes in your hormones and chemicals in your body may cause depressive symptoms.

How can lifestyle factors affect depression?

Can drugs and alcohol affect my mental health?

Youre Important To Me

Avoid Saying These 8 Things to Someone With Depression

Its always nice to know youre loved or wanted. When someones depressed, they may feel the exact opposite.

Thats why telling someone that theyre important to you, that you need them in their life, and that they matter can be so comforting. You can also be more specific to what you love about them or how you appreciate them for something they do.

Recommended Reading: Lack Of Sleep Causes Depression

Tips To Help Someone Who Seems Down

  • Let them know you care and are there to listen.
  • Accept them as they are, without judging them.
  • Gently encourage them to help themselves for example, by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and doing things they enjoy.
  • Get information about the services available to them, such as psychological therapy services or depression support groups in their area.
  • Stay in touch with them by messaging, texting, phoning or meeting for coffee. People who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to leave their home.
  • Try to be patient.
  • Take care of yourself.

Take Care Of Yourself

When you care about someone whos living with depression, its tempting to drop everything to be by their side and support them. Its not wrong to want to help a friend, but its also important to take care of your own needs.

If you put all your energy into supporting your friend, youll have very little left for yourself. And if youre feeling burned out or frustrated, you wont be much help to your friend.

Set boundaries

Setting boundaries can help. For example, you might let your friend know youre available to talk after you get home from work, but not before then.

If youre concerned about them feeling like they cant reach you, offer to help them come up with a contingency plan if they need you during your work day. This might involve finding a hotline they can call or coming up with a code word they can text you if theyre in a crisis.

You might offer to stop by every other day or bring a meal twice a week, instead of trying to help every day. Involving other friends can help create a bigger support network.

Practice self-care

Spending a lot of time with a loved one who has depression can take an emotional toll. Know your limits around difficult emotions, and make sure you take time to recharge.

If you need to let your friend know you wont be available for a while, you might say something like, I cant talk until X time. Can I check in with you then?

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People With Social Anxiety Don’t Want To Be Alone

For people who have anxiety attacks, the fear of having one is often as debilitating as the attacks themselves. The person may fear having a panic attack in specific situations , or that they will experience one out of the blue.

If your loved one has a clinical anxiety disorder, and their anxiety feels out of control to them, they may worry they’re losing their mind or “going crazy.” They may see anxiety as a sign of being a weak person or doubt that there are effective therapies out there that will help them overcome their anxiety.

Communicate that you don’t see their anxiety as a weakness, character flaw, or a sign of them being incompetent in their life, work, or other roles .

Normalize any types of thoughts you can relate to. There are many kinds of anxiety-based thoughts people with anxiety disorders experience that even relatively non-anxious people also experience from time to time. For example, most people can relate to the fear of being judged or of asking for something and being told no.

Also, it’s extremely common for anyone to have fleeting thoughts that they’ll do something odd, dangerous, or out of character . Individuals with anxiety often don’t realize that many people have these types of thoughts. People who are not especially anxious tend to write off the thoughts as just weird, whereas those who are anxious often equate having the thoughts with a real risk that they will act on one of their odd thoughts.

4. Beware the reassurance-seeking trap.

Wrapping Up

Taking Care Of Yourself

Can a Depressed Person Have Good Days? – Atypical Depression

Theres a natural impulse to want to fix the problems of people we care about, but you cant control someone elses depression. You can, however, control how well you take care of yourself. Its just as important for you to stay healthy as it is for the depressed person to get treatment, so make your own well-being a priority.

Remember the advice of airline flight attendants: put on your own oxygen mask before you assist anyone else. In other words, make sure your own health and happiness are solid before you try to help someone who is depressed. You wont do your friend or family member any good if you collapse under the pressure of trying to help. When your own needs are taken care of, youll have the energy you need to lend a helping hand.

Speak up for yourself. You may be hesitant to speak out when the depressed person in your life upsets you or lets you down. However, honest communication will actually help the relationship in the long run. If youre suffering in silence and letting resentment build, your loved one will pick up on these negative emotions and feel even worse. Gently talk about how youre feeling before pent-up emotions make it too hard to communicate with sensitivity.

Recommended Reading: Best Anxiety And Depression Podcasts

Tip : Watch For Warning Signs Of Depression

Its common for a grieving person to feel depressed, confused, disconnected from others, or like theyre going crazy. But if the bereaved persons symptoms dont gradually start to fadeor they get worse with timethis may be a sign that normal grief has evolved into a more serious problem, such as clinical depression.

Encourage the grieving person to seek professional help if you observe any of the following warning signs after the initial grieving periodespecially if its been over two months since the death.

  • Difficulty functioning in daily life.
  • Extreme focus on the death.
  • Excessive bitterness, anger, or guilt.
  • Neglecting personal hygiene.
  • Constant feelings of hopelessness.
  • Talking about dying or suicide.
  • It can be tricky to bring up your concerns to the bereaved person as you dont want to be perceived as invasive. Instead of telling the person what to do, try stating your own feelings: I am troubled by the fact that you arent sleepingperhaps you should look into getting help.

    Take talk of suicide very seriously

    If a grieving friend or family member talks about suicide, seek help immediately. Please read Suicide Prevention or call a suicide helpline:

    • In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255.
    • In the UK, call 116 123.
    • Or visit IASP for a helpline in your country.

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