Sunday, June 16, 2024

How To Treat A Friend With Depression

Dont Play The Comparison Game

Helping a friend struggling with depression: Tips from Dr. Randy Auerbach

If people with depression had a dollar for every time they heard the words yeah, Ive been feeling a bit down lately, too, theyd probably be able to buy a private island.

Newsflash: Unless youve been through a depressive episode yourself, the chances are that you dont understand how it feels. Comparing it to regular sadness can invalidate the feelings of peeps with depression.

Similarly, try to avoid comparisons with other people who have depression. Everyones depression experience is different. What worked for your other friends might not help this unique person.

Instead, its usually better to tell them that you dont understand how they feel, but that youre there for them. You can offer support without diminishing what theyre going through in any way.

Bring Up Your Concerns With Your Loved One

If you notice signs of depression in your loved one, its important to calmly share your concerns in a way thats nonjudgmental, says Ole Thienhaus, MD, a professor of psychiatry at the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. Its also crucial to give your loved one space to talk about what theyre feeling.

Listening is the most important part of beginning to help, Dr. Thienhaus says.

To get them talking, you may start by sharing the changes youve observed recently that worry you, Thienhaus says. When you do this, dont be critical just state the facts as you see them in a neutral way and pause often to give them room to respond to what you have to say.

Avoid any suggestion that they have no reason to feel so sad, Thienhaus adds. This means not saying things like, Look at all the good things in your life or Look at how much worse off so-and-so is, but she doesnt let her problems get her down.

Why is this harmful? Many people with depression already believe they should be able to snap out of it or should be mentally strong, Thames says, feelings that can stand in their way of seeking treatment for depression.

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What You Should Avoid Doing

Its easy to make mistakes when youre trying to help someone through depression, and you shouldnt beat yourself up too much. This is as new to you as it is to your friend. Forgive yourself for mistakes instead of withdrawing because you got one thing wrong.

Heres some things to avoid when supporting your loved one.

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How To Talk To Friends About Your Depression

Deciding to tell the people you love that you’re struggling with depression is a big step. Not only is it challenging to find the energy to reach out to people, but there are naturally worries about how the news of your diagnosis will be received.

Unfortunately, there are too many misconceptions about mental health and what it means and the last thing you need is to be judged negatively because of it.

But, opening up about your depression is one of the most effective ways to get the help and support you need at a time when you likely feel vulnerable and alone, especially if you choose to disclose your illness to people that you know and trust.

Remember though, you are in control and you get to choose who knows and who doesn’t. Just don’t let fear of the unknown keep you from opening up to the people who care about you.

If you’re considering disclosing your diagnosis to the people close to you but just aren’t sure how to start the conversation, here are some things to consider.

Understand You Arent A Therapist

Depression Infographic

Its important to encourage a depressed friend to seek qualified help. You cant cure your friend by talking things out or giving great advice major depression needs to be addressed by someone with professional training, who can prescribe antidepressants if appropriate. Dont think that you can manage their symptoms on your own, says Dr. Bates. Just be there in a supportive, nonjudgmental way.

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Listen Without Offering Advice

When someone close to us is suffering, its a natural impulse to want to solve their problem and take away the pain. Its essential to recognize that if it were a quick fix or an easy solution, your friend wouldnt be struggling. So resist the urge to give advice and instead listen to your friend. Lean in with your body to show your attention. Get curious and ask questions. Empathize and offer compassion. Responding with that sounds really difficult is so much more powerful than you should do this. Feeling seen and heard can provide tremendous relief for someone who is feeling hopeless.

How You Feel About Your Depression

As you prepare to tell other people about your depression, it also can be helpful to consider how you feel about the diagnosis first.

In other words, what are your perceptions of depression as well as your expectations of yourself?

Understanding your feelings and coming to terms with your diagnosis helps you be more confident about sharing with others without feeling afraid or ashamed.

Read Also: How To Get Out Of A Depressed Mood

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.

If Someone Tells You Theyre Depressed What Should You Say Next

How to Help Someone With Depression: 32 Tips for When They Don’t Want to Talk: Depression Skills #2

I think its really important that you dont feel like you have to fix it, but just be curious and listen to your friends experience, says Rosen. She advises asking questions like: What has it been like for you? Are you able to function at work? How are you doing at school?These should lead into the most important question to ask: Has it ever gotten so bad that you feel like hurting yourself or you want to end things?A lot of people wrongly think that asking about suicide will give someone the idea to do it. But experts say thats not how suicide works and that its really, really important to ask about suicide directly. By not asking, you could isolate a friend even more, and cause the person to spiral even further into suicidal thoughts.

Unless youre a mental-health professional, its not worth following up with hyperspecific, nitty-gritty questions like When did you start feeling bad? or What makes you feel worse? because whatever the person says will put you in a position of needing to share advice youre not qualified to give.

The next step would be trying to see if theyve actually been clinically diagnosed, says Cordero. Have they done any of the screenings? Suggest they take an online test its the same quiz theyd take in a primary-care doctors office, where people are encouraged to start seeking help for depression in order to rule out any other medical conditions.

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Taking Care Of Yourself

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.

Know The Warning Signs Of Suicide

The risk of suicide is high in those living with depression. No matter what you say or what you do to help your friend, they may still experience suicidal thoughts and feelings. Make sure to be on the lookout for warning signs of suicide and know when to seek help.

Some signs to watch for include:

  • Talking about wanting to die
  • Expressing that they feel like a burden to others
  • Feelings of extreme hopelessness and sadness
  • Withdrawing from friends and loved ones
  • Sudden mood swings
  • Giving away possessions or making a will
  • Making ambiguous statements about not being around in the future
  • Open discussions about suicide or having a suicide plan
  • Previous suicide attempts

If you spot warning signs of suicide, you should talk to your loved one and ask them to speak with a mental health professional. When there is an immediate risk, you should remove dangerous items from the home, make sure you don’t leave them alone, and get help from a medical professional immediately.

If you or someone you love are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.

For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.

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How To Help A Friend With Depression Seek Treatment For Ketamine Therapy

Here at Ketamine Wellness Centers we offer support and education in many ways. Our clinics, located nationwide, provide a healing and comfortable environment for patients as they embark on their road to wellness.

If you have a friend who is suffering with depression, PTSD, OCD, anxiety, suicidal ideation, chronic or neuropathic pain, we are here to help. Here are a few quick ideas to consider when supporting a friend in seeking ketamine therapy treatment.

1. Hold space for your friend:

  • Listen and sit with your friend in non-judgment
  • Resist the urge to fix your friends problems
  • Encourage your friend to feel all their emotions
  • Be empathetic without taking on the burden of their challenges

2. If you are a KWC patient:

  • Connect your friend with your Patient Liaison. The Patient Liaison who assisted you in beginning your treatment journey with us will offer support and educate your friend about our services in the same gentle manner you experienced.
  • Allow your friend to accompany you in the treatment room next time you are scheduled.
  • Guide your friend to our website and patient intake forms, and assist them in completing them if they wish.

3. If you are not a KWC patient:

We are here for you, your friends and your family. For additional guidance and patient support, please contact us at or reach us directly 855-KET-WELL.

Harmony Green is the Health and Wellness Coordinator for Ketamine Wellness Centers

Instead Say: Im Worried About You Are You Getting Help With This

How can i get help for depression

The difference in these phrases may seem subtle, but the idea is to focus on how you feel about your friend instead of labeling or unintentionally judging their experience.

Starting with a question also helps you learn more about your friends experience. Maybe theyre already speaking to a therapist, loved ones or spiritual figures or maybe they are cut off from support. Either way, its important to ask instead of assuming you know how your friend is doing or what is best for them.

If your friend wants to see a mental health expert, you can offer to research nearby or telehealth therapists or figure out insurance. Its equally important to avoid pressuring or harassing your friend to seek help if they arent ready or interested, as this can cause more harm than good though there is one critical exception.

In general, you always want to take someones lead and value their autonomy and privacy. If someone is so depressed they are suicidal, however, thats a problem and they need help, says Dr. Laurel Pellegrino, a psychiatrist who sees patients at UW Medical Center Roosevelt.

If your friend starts talking about death or suicide, gives away their belongings or exhibits other warning signs, seek support for you friend. You can call a suicide prevention line with them or call emergency services and ask for a welfare check. In an emergency, call 911.

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How To Help A Friend With Depression Who Wont Talk

Everyone has had a bad day, been in a bad mood, or experienced a difficult time in their lives, but this isnt the same as being depressed. And if youve never experienced a major depressive disorder, it can be very difficult to understand how it affects everything in your life and can make even the smallest tasks difficult. Some common, but not so helpful ways, people may try to cheer up a depressed person include telling them the situation isnt as bad as it seems, acting as if they can just magically get out of depression with the right playlist, or a walk around the block or trying to commiserate too much and end up enabling the person into even more negative behaviors.

While these are all usually done out of concern for your loved one, it can be very frustrating when people with depression arent getting better. The truth is that depression is isolating and can be a very complex mental health condition. It requires a combination of various therapeutic techniques and often medication to start seeing an improvement in symptoms of depression. However, this doesnt mean that you cant still be of help. Here are some ideas on how to help a friend with depression.

Depression: Facts Statistics And You

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Sadness and grief are normal human emotions. We all have those feelings from time to time but they usually go away within a few days. Major depression, or major depressive disorder, however, is something more. Its a diagnosable condition thats classified as a mood disorder and can bring about long-lasting symptoms such as overwhelming sadness, low energy, loss of appetite, and a lack of interest in things that used to bring pleasure.

Left untreated, depression can lead to serious health complications, including putting your life at risk. Fortunately, there are effective treatments for depression through options like therapy, medication, diet, and exercise.

Specific circumstances can trigger other forms of depression or subsets of the condition.

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Tips For Overcoming Depression

Depression can feel impossible. You donât have to give in to depression and think that things wonât get better. Instead, use these tips to improve your outlook:

  • Get help from a mental health professional.
  • Maintain activities that you once enjoyed.
  • Keep up with friends and family members by talking regularly.
  • Get some exercise, even if you just go for a short walk.
  • Keep a routine of getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy diet.
  • Adjust your expectations so you can cope with depression.
  • Donât drink or do drugs as a way of treating your depression.â
  • Search for local depression resources.

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How To Talk To Someone About Depression

how to help someone with depression

Sometimes it is hard to know what to say when speaking to someone about depression. You might fear that if you bring up your worries the person will get angry, feel insulted, or ignore your concerns. You may be unsure what questions to ask or how to be supportive.

If you dont know where to start, the following suggestions may help. But remember that being a compassionate listener is much more important than giving advice. You dont have to try to fix your friend or family member you just have to be a good listener. Often, the simple act of talking face to face can be an enormous help to someone suffering from depression. Encourage the depressed person to talk about their feelings, and be willing to listen without judgment.

Dont expect a single conversation to be the end of it. Depressed people tend to withdraw from others and isolate themselves. You may need to express your concern and willingness to listen over and over again. Be gentle, yet persistent.

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