Sunday, April 14, 2024

How To Help Someone Cope With Depression

Educate Yourself On Depression

How to Help Someone With Depression or Anxiety

You will be better able to help someone with depression if you learn more about it. There are several resources, both online and through doctors and hospitals, that can provide you with more information about what depression is, what causes it and how to help someone who has it. By understanding what depression is and how it makes you feel, you will be better able to empathize with someone who has it.

Signs That Someone May Be Depressed

Depression has lots of possible symptoms.

You may notice that someone:

  • has lost interest in doing things they normally enjoy
  • seems to be feeling down or hopeless
  • has slower speech and movements or is more fidgety and restless than usual
  • feels tired or does not have much energy
  • is overeating or has lost their appetite
  • is sleeping more than usual or is not able to sleep
  • has trouble concentrating on everyday things, such as watching TV or reading the paper

Think Together About Whether Theres Anything In Particular Thats Making Them Feel This Way

This could include a problem with a friendship or family relationship, feeling bullied or left out at school, feeling overwhelmed by school work, struggling with a change such as divorce or separation in the family, or a combination of things.

Are there changes that could be made at home or school that would make things easier?

Read Also: Is Depression Really A Disease

Support Them During Treatment

If your partner decides to go with some type of therapy, support group, or treatment plan, its a good idea to celebrate it. You may tell them how brave you think they are, for example. Say something like, Im so proud of you for prioritizing your mental health. Its a really big deal.

To help them in the process, you might want to offer practical help. For example, offer to drive them to therapy, wait in the waiting room while they attend a session, or plan a debrief afterward so they can tell you how it went if that is something theyre OK with.

If theres medication involved, you may want to learn more about dosage, times, and side effects. You could also encourage them to work with a therapist, explaining the importance of getting medical advice, before they make any changes to their medication on their own.

If You Need To Wallow Wallow But Do So Constructively

How to Help Someone Struggling With Depression

Suppressing your feelings and emotions may seem like a strategic way to cope with the negative symptoms of depression. But this technique is ultimately unhealthy.

If youre having a down day, have it. Let yourself feel the emotions but dont stay there.

Consider writing or journaling about what youre experiencing. Then, when the feelings lift, write about that, too.

Seeing the ebb and flow of depressive symptoms can be instructive for both self-healing and hope.

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Are Some Types Of Therapy Especially Effective Against Depression

Depression is a multifaceted disorder, and it responds to therapies that specifically target one or another area of dysfunction. Four types of therapy have proved effective in patients with depression extensively studied during treatment and followed up for significant periods of time afterwards. They are: Cognitive and Behavioral Therapy , Interpersonal Therapy , Psychodynamic Therapy, and Behavioral Activation .

Andrew: Loving Someone With Depression

Depression is devastating. When someone is experiencing depression, their entire life is blown apart. It can be a massive struggle just to make it through each day. But they aren’t the only ones who struggle.

Often forgotten are the loved ones of a person with depression. No-one tells them how to cope. They don’t know what to do. I would like to try and offer some advice to those people.

Knowing somebody you love is struggling with depression leaves you feeling incredibly helpless. You feel if you could say the right thing, or do something special, that maybe you will be able to help them to get better. But you don’t know what to say or what to do.

You try a gentle approach, you try a firm approach. You give them space, you try to get them to open up. You suggest things that can help. You buy them presents. You say encouraging things, you get frustrated and argue. Yet nothing you do seems to make any difference.

From my experience, the big mistake that people often make is that they treat depression as a mood, as if saying or doing the right thing will lift the depression. What you must remember is that depression isn’t a mood – it’s a very debilitating illness.

That is EXACTLY what depression is like.

Just because you can’t see an injury doesn’t mean that it isn’t debilitating. After my worst bout of depression, it took months before I felt I could do my job properly. Even now, two years on, I’m not the same as I was.

This is the WRONG approach.

Recommended Reading: So Depressed I Can Barely Function

Dealing With The Winter Blues

For some people, the reduced daylight hours of winter lead to a form of depression known as seasonal affective disorder . SAD can make you feel like a completely different person to who you are in the summer: hopeless, sad, tense, or stressed, with no interest in friends or activities you normally love. No matter how hopeless you feel, though, there are plenty of things you can do to keep your mood stable throughout the year.

When Should I Seek Professional Help

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If the symptoms of depression your loved one is experiencing are having a damaging effect on their ability to live a normal life, it may be time to seek professional help. Encourage them to speak to their GP, who can offer you professional advice on arresting symptoms.

With the blessing of your loved one, you might also seek depression treatmenthere at Priory, where we can work with your loved one to develop a recovery programme that fits their needs and circumstances. We offer intensive inpatient stays, weekly therapy sessions that fit in with the life and work commitments of our patients, and online therapy that allows you to recover from the comfort of your own home.

You dont have to struggle with depression expert, established treatment is available. To find out how Priory can help your loved one to overcome your depression and return to a positive way of life, call our dedicated team today on 0800 840 3219 or make an enquiry.

For details of how Priory can provide you with assistance regarding mental health and wellbeing, please call 0800 840 3219 or make an enquiry. For professionals looking to make a referral, please click here.

Also Check: What To Do When You Have Severe Depression

Learn What You Can About Depression

When you better understand what causes depression, what its symptoms are, and the consequences of this mental illness, you are better equipped to support someone who has it. Make sure, however, that you are getting your information from a reliable source. It is also important to remember that depression changes. Your loved one is going to have good days and bad days. Even on their worst days, they may be able to pretend that they are having a great day. Assuming that someone is no longer depressed, just because they seem cheerful is not helpful.

Create A Supportive Home Environment

Its important to remember that your partners depression isnt anyones fault. While you cant fix it, your support will help your partner work through this difficult time.

Changes in lifestyle can make a big difference during the treatment process. Because depression can zap a persons energy and affect both sleep and appetite, it can be difficult for depressed people to make healthy choices. You can help:

Also Check: Who Can I Talk To When I Feel Depressed

How Will Know That Therapy Is Working

Feeling better is a good yardstick, but it is by no means the only measure of therapeutic effectiveness. Mental health professionals regularly assess the progress of therapy and rely on two important tools to monitor patient gains. One is their own experienced judgment of the patients ability to engage in the therapeutic process. The other is a standardized symptom rating scale that assesses patient standing on each of the constellation of symptoms of depression, from personal outlook to physical slowness. Has the veil on thinking or sluggishness of thought or speech persisted, lifted slightly, lifted significantly, or completely disappeared? Does the patient weep frequently, occasionally, or not at all? The most widely used symptom checklist is the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression, often called the Ham-D.

Ways To Help A Friend With Depression Or Anxiety

10 Therapies for Managing Depression

If you want to be there for someone whos dealing with depression or anxiety, youre already being a great friend. It can be hard to know exactly how to help someone with depression or anxiety, and what to say to someone who’s having a rough time. Remember that each person is different, and while these tips are a guide, when helping a friend with depression or anxiety, its important to talk with your friend about what they feel they need.

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Listen To What They Have To Say

People with depression can often feel isolated and find it hard to talk about their depression. Be willing to talk openly with your loved one about their feelings and listen to what they have to say. This will show them that no matter what they might be going through and how negative everything may feel to them, they are loved and valued.

Its also important to be an active listener and really immerse yourself in the conversation. Use verbal and non-verbal prompts during the conversation, maintain eye contact throughout, and regularly paraphrase what your loved one says back to them to clarify meaning and demonstrate that you have understood them. This will make opening up to you as easy and natural as possible for your loved one, making it more likely that theyll confide in you in the future if they need to.

Why Is It Important To Seek Therapy Promptly

Early treatment of depression is essential because depression itself changes the brain. Research shows that depression is linked to inflammatory changes in the brain. As a result of such changes, the longer an episode of depression lasts, the greater the likelihood of a recurrence of depression. Untreated, depression can become a progressive disease leading to neurodegeneration. Untreated depression especially compromises the prefrontal cortex, the area of the brain essential for reasoning and decision-making and enabling control of emotional reactivity. Therapy helps patients develop the skills not just to beat back a current episode of depression but to prevent future ones as well.

Also Check: What Are The Characteristics Of Depression

Is Group Therapy Ever Helpful

Although depression is a very individualized disorder, with each patient exhibiting a distinctive patterns of symptoms, group therapy can sometimes be helpful. One area of special value may be group education in coping skills, problem-solving skills, and techniques for managing difficult emotions, as deficits in those areas are known to underlie most expressions of depression. Such treatment is often labeled psychoeducation and it may be especially appealing to people who cannot afford an individual course of therapy or who feel stigmatized by it. Whatever the format of depression group therapy, it can offer some advantages over individual therapy. Most obviously, it counters the social isolation that is a major precipitant of depression. Groups also allow for working though the dysfunctional relationship patterns that contribute to depression. Further, group interaction provides a forum for credible challenges to the negative evaluations depressed people make about themselves.

Offer To Help With Tasks

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For those who live with depression, even small tasks, like brushing teeth or cleaning up the kitchen, may drain emotional bandwidth. For this reason, offering to help with something seemingly small can make a huge difference in someones day.

If you have capacity, offer to start a load of laundry, walk the dog, watch the kids for a couple of hours, or drive them to the store.

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Know The Different Forms Depression Can Take

Depression often involves sadness or a low mood, but it also has other, less well-known symptoms.

For example, many people dont realize depression can involve:

  • confusion, difficulties with memory, or difficulty focusing
  • excessive fatigue or sleep concerns
  • physical symptoms such as stomach distress, frequent headaches, or back and other muscle pain

Your friend may often seem to be in a bad mood, or feel exhausted a lot of the time. Try to keep in mind that what theyre feeling is still part of depression, even if it doesnt fit into the stereotypical versions of depression.

Even if you dont know how to help them feel better, simply saying Im sorry youre feeling this way. Im here to help if theres anything I can do may help.

Why Is Dealing With Depression So Difficult

Depression drains your energy, hope, and drive, making it difficult to take the steps that will help you to feel better. Sometimes, just thinking about the things you should do to feel better, like exercising or spending time with friends, can seem exhausting or impossible to put into action.

Its the Catch-22 of depression recovery: The things that help the most are the things that are the most difficult to do. There is a big difference, however, between something thats difficult and something thats impossible. While recovering from depression isnt quick or easy, you do have more control than you realizeeven if your depression is severe and stubbornly persistent. The key is to start small and build from there. You may not have much energy, but by drawing on all your reserves, you should have enough to take a walk around the block or pick up the phone to call a loved one, for example.

Taking the first step is always the hardest. But going for a walk or getting up and dancing to your favorite music, for example, is something you can do right now. And it can substantially boost your mood and energy for several hourslong enough to put a second recovery step into action, such as preparing a mood-boosting meal or arranging to meet an old friend. By taking the following small but positive steps day by day, youll soon lift the heavy fog of depression and find yourself feeling happier, healthier, and more hopeful again.

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Offer To Help With Everyday Tasks

With depression, day-to-day tasks can feel overwhelming. Things like laundry, grocery shopping, or paying bills can begin to pile up, making it hard to know where to start.

Your friend may appreciate an offer of help, but they also might not be able to clearly say what they need help with.

So, instead of saying Let me know if theres anything I can do, consider saying, What do you most need help with today?

If you notice their refrigerator is empty, say Can I take you grocery shopping, or pick up what you need if you write me a list? or Lets go get some groceries and cook dinner together.

If your friend is behind on dishes, laundry, or other household chores, offer to come over, put some music on, and tackle a specific task together. Simply having company can make the work seem less daunting.

Does Therapy Help In Ways That Medication Does Not

How To Help People With Depression

Many studies have evaluate the effects of psychotherapy vs. medications. Medication for depression may relieve symptoms more quickly than therapy, but the symptom relief lasts only as long as medication is taken. Therapy has enduring effects it not only relieves symptoms of a current episode of depression but reduces the risk of future episodes. Studies show that both types of treatment change the way the brain functions. Therapy gives people insight into how their own patterns of reactions to negative experience set off a downward spiral of thinking that lead to depression. It also fosters the development of coping skills that interrupt the chain of reactivity. Further, therapy restores a sense of control, something no medication can deliver. Perhaps most important, the bond that develops between patient and therapist becomes an instrument of support and recovery.

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Avoid Judgment And Blame

If someone you love is depressed and no longer able to do the activities they used to, including working or helping around the house, you may feel like they are lazy. When you get frustrated, try to remember that someone who is depressed isn’t lazythey’re ill. Everyday activities like cleaning the house, paying bills, or feeding the dog may seem overwhelming, if not impossible, to someone who is depressed.

If your loved one’s responsibilities around the house are piling up, you may not be able to take them on yourself.

In addition to resisting the urge to blame your loved one, try not to blame yourself either. Know that it’s OK if you need to ask for help.

Learn About What Your Friend Is Going Through

Not totally sure what depression or anxiety are, or how to help a friend with depression or anxiety? A really great first step in helping your friend is to find out more about depression, anxiety or anything else your friend is going through this will help you to better understand what’s happening and how they feel.

My friends try to learn more about what Im experiencing, especially asking for and going to sources of information I recommend. hellofriend

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Seeking Your Own Support

While offering support is vital to a womans recovery from postpartum depression, it can be a challenge for partners to remain supportive if they too are struggling. It is important for partners to seek their own support if needed.

Husbands, partners or spouses can discuss concerns with a family physician, spend time with friends and family, or even seek their own therapy treatments with a mental health professional to ease stress.

Reaching out to loved ones is a great way to build a stronger support network for both the couple. This may include asking friends and other family members for help with child care, attending appointments, household tasks or any other area where help is needed.

Additionally, husbands and partners may find that they need to seek their own support from a mental health professional. This could be counseling or therapy to help them manage their feelings and stress.

Postpartum depression support groups and online forums are also available specifically for partners of those with PPD. These groups allow loved ones to share their own stories and provide each other with encouragement and understanding. Support groups help husbands and partners express emotions they may not otherwise feel they can share.

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