Alcohol Tobacco And Other Drugs
Misusing alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs can have both immediate and long-term health effects.
The misuse and abuse of alcohol, tobacco, illicit drugs, and prescription medications affect the health and well-being of millions of Americans. SAMHSAs 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that approximately 19.3 million people aged 18 or older had a substance use disorder in the past year.
How You Can Help
It might seem small, but just doing things together, being there and staying connected can be a big help.
Depression and anxiety are so common that its highly likely that at some point youll know someone who might be experiencing it. It might be someone in your whnau, a team-mate or someone from your community. People with depression and anxiety are more likely to get through with help and support than on their own.Being depressed and anxious can be a really lonely experience. Sometimes the most important thing is having supportive people around or checking in. Having a coffee, watching television, phoning or texting to say Hi can help a lot. When youre feeling down, knowing that people are thinking of you can really lift your spirits.Often when people are feeling bad they dont want to go out and do anything. Everything feels just too hard. So encouraging them to do something with you is a great support. It could be something small like watching funny video clips, listening to music, going for a walk or window-shopping. Think about something you both like to do. There are different things you can do, depending on who youre trying to help:
The Best Things To Say And Ask When Someone’s Depressed
Once youve determined its the right opportunity to approach a friend who might be depressed, youre probably thinking next about what, exactly, to say. But heres where you need to take a step back: You need to go in listening, Bonior says. Its just as important to think about how to listen to them as it is to think about what youre going to say.
Also Check: Can Depression And Anxiety Cause Hallucinations
Tip : Eat A Healthy Depression
What you eat has a direct impact on the way you feel. Reduce your intake of foods that can adversely affect your brain and mood, such as caffeine, alcohol, trans fats, and foods with high levels of chemical preservatives or hormones .
Dont skip meals. Going too long between meals can make you feel irritable and tired, so aim to eat something at least every three to four hours.
Minimize sugar and refined carbs. You may crave sugary snacks, baked goods, or comfort foods such as pasta or French fries, but these feel-good foods quickly lead to a crash in mood and energy. Aim to cut out as much of these foods as possible.
Boost your B vitamins. Deficiencies in B vitamins such as folic acid and B-12 can trigger depression. To get more, take a B-complex vitamin supplement or eat more citrus fruit, leafy greens, beans, chicken, and eggs.
Boost your mood with foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids.Omega-3 fatty acids play an essential role in stabilizing mood. The best sources are fatty fish such as salmon, herring, mackerel, anchovies, sardines, tuna, and some cold-water fish oil supplements.
How To Encourage Someone You Love To Seek Help With Their Depression
Chances are you know someone with depression. It may be a family member, friend or coworker. Its unfortunate that depression is so common in todays world, and our loved ones are being affected.
If you havent dealt with depression or youve never lent support to someone who is dealing with it, here are a few ways you can show you care and and give support.
You May Like: Overcoming Depression On Your Own
Its Okay To Feel This Way
As you help your loved one get out of depression, you may hear him or her say, I wish I didnt feel this way. This natural response often leads to resentment, shame, or feigned happiness. Encourage acceptance of negative emotions, as resistance can make them stronger. Encourage him or her to practice meditation, yoga, and self-compassion exercises together to learn awareness of, acceptance, and appropriate responses to unwanted feelings.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States. Call 1-800-273-8255 to get help on mental health advice.
Recommended Reading: What Is A Good Medicine For Anxiety And Depression
Dont Try To Cheer Them Up All The Time
This is one of the worst things you can do because it invalidates their feelings and makes them feel like theyre not allowed to be sad or down in the first place! Its important to let your loved ones know that its okay to feel however theyre feeling, without any pressure from you to change how theyre feeling.
Coping With Depression Tip : Reach Out And Stay Connected
Getting support plays an essential role in overcoming depression. On your own, it can be difficult to maintain a healthy perspective and sustain the effort required to beat depression. At the same time, the very nature of depression makes it difficult to reach out for help. When youre depressed, the tendency is to withdraw and isolate so that connecting to even close family members and friends can be tough.
You may feel too exhausted to talk, ashamed at your situation, or guilty for neglecting certain relationships. But this is just the depression talking. Staying connected to other people and taking part in social activities will make a world of difference in your mood and outlook. Reaching out is not a sign of weakness and it wont mean youre a burden to others. Your loved ones care about you and want to help. And if you dont feel that you have anyone to turn to, its never too late to build new friendships and improve your support network.
Need to talk to someone?
Get affordable online counseling from BetterHelp or visit HelpGuides directory for free helplines and crisis resources. HelpGuide is reader supported. We may receive a commission if you sign up for BetterHelp through the provided link. Learn more.
Recommended Reading: What Factors Led To The Great Depression
You Dont Need To Do Anything That Makes You Uncomfortable
Feeling pressured into something, such as social situations when youre feeling depressed can be incredibly upsetting. You may feel obliged to appear cheerful, which can be very difficult. Knowing these events can be avoided for the time being can help a person feel relaxed and allow them the time to focus on their own health.
Im Really Sorry Youre Going Through This Im Here For You If You Need Me
The fact is, theres no perfect thing to say to someone living with depression. Your words wont cure them. But they can help.
Reminding someone that youre there for them whenever they need you whether thats in the form of help with a small task or someone to call in a crisis can be so essential to saving a life.
According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, there are three categories of suicide warning signs to look out for:
Ways To Help A Friend Or Family Member With Depression
When someone close to you is depressed, offering support can feel tricky if you don’t know what the person needs. These tips provide a basis for how you can start to help.
Depression doesnt happen in a vacuum. It causes a ripple effect that touches everyone surrounding the person. Family members and friends often feel helpless, not knowing how to reach out or what to do to help their suffering loved one.
It would be nice if the depressed person could vocalize their needs, so that friends and families knew exactly what to say and do. However, according to J. Raymond DePaulo Jr., MD, a former professor of psychiatry and the director of the affective disorders clinic at the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, their relationship skills are significantly diminished. Communication becomes problematic because the person is embarrassed to say how they feel, anticipating judgment.
How does a family member proceed, then, with little or no direction? Every individual is different in how they handle the beast of depression, but here are a few universal things you can try that will empower both you and your loved one toward recovery and hope.
Dont Play The Comparison Game
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.
Also Check: How To Cure Clinical Depression
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.
How To Support Someone With Depression Virtually
The pandemic has taken a toll on many of us, especially when it comes to our mental health. Four in 10 adults in the U.S. have reported symptoms of depression during the pandemic, an uptick from one in 10 adults before COVID-19, according to data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics.
Given the statistics, chances are you know someone who’s affected, and maybe you’ve been affected, too. Even as states drop mask mandates and vaccination rates increase, people with depression still face mental health challenges and will likely continue to do so post-pandemic. On the plus side, since we’re all online more, there are more ways for us to help one another: “Everybody, but particularly people with social anxiety and there’s a high correlation between depression and anxiety they are now in the habit of being online,” says Dr. Carol Landau, a clinical professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Brown University who wrote a book on how to prevent depression and anxiety in college-bound teens.
Given our even more frequent online behavior these days, there are more chances to connect with and help depressed loved ones through a screen. While you can’t treat your loved one’s depression , Mashable spoke with experts who specialize in depression to find out how you can help support your loved one with depression from afar.
Read Also: Uv Light Therapy For Depression
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
If You Do Only One Thing Let It Be Listening
You could disregard everything Ive written and just do this: Listen. Suspend all judgments, save all interjections do nothing more than make excellent eye contact and open your ears. In her bestselling book Kitchen Table Wisdom, Rachel Naomi Remen writes:
“I suspect that the most basic and powerful way to connect to another person is to listen. Just listen. Perhaps the most important thing we ever give each other is our attention. And especially if its given from the heart. When people are talking, theres no need to do anything but receive them. Just take them in. Listen to what theyre saying. Care about it. Most times caring about it is even more important than understanding it.”
Important: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and not Everyday Health.
Don’t Miss: Advice For Someone Who Is Depressed
Letting The Person Know You’re There
Other Ways To Be Supportive
Loved ones can support people with depression in many ways, but it is not possible to cure another persons depression.
While it may help to encourage a person to seek treatment, it is not possible to force someone to see a doctor or therapist.
Instead of trying to force a specific outcome, therefore, focus on cultivating a loving environment.
Some strategies that can help include:
- inviting the other person to do things that they once enjoyed
- using humor if it usually helps that person
- avoiding spending all of the time together talking about depression
- taking care of your own needs and setting boundaries if you feel uncomfortable
Avoid saying anything that dismisses the persons symptoms, judges them for their emotions, stigmatizes depression, or makes them feel hopeless.
Some examples of what not to say include:
People who love a person with depression may also need external support from friends, family members, or a therapist.
Also Check: Ssi For Adults With Depression And Anxiety
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.
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.
You May Like: What Can I Do To Get Rid Of Depression