Unfortunately, mental and behavioral health issues plague many people in our country, and depression affects a vast number explicitly. Coping with the daily hurdles of this illness requires tactical management plans and emotional aid.
Depression can be challenging to cope with and understand, especially for loved ones. This blog post outlines essential tips and tactics for yourself and your family members to recognize a depressed person and how to help — from attending family therapy sessions to finding help at a community mental health clinic like CarePlus NJ.
What Is Depression?
Approximately 280 million people globally struggle with a depressive disorder. This mental disorder is identified by endless sorrow and lacking motivation for activities that once piqued their interest.
Depression is more than feeling “down in the dumps,” although that may be the most visible symptom for someone suffering from the illness. The disorder requires a medical diagnosis and professional treatment, and many with depression symptoms fight an ongoing battle with mental-emotional health. Moreover, the effects of severe depression can be so damaging that it may become difficult to handle everyday life.
Signs and Symptoms of Depression
Depression symptoms can include physical, mental, and emotional signs. It is essential to look out for these symptoms in yourself and your loved ones. The most common signs of depression include:
- Persistent feelings of sadness or irritability
- Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
- Difficulty sleeping or sleeping excessively
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Fatigue and lack of energy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Suicidal thoughts or thoughts of death
Those experiencing depression can have angry outbursts and feel like there are no positive qualities in their own life.
Major depressive disorder (MDD) is a medical illness that interferes with a person’s ability to study, eat, complete tasks like household chores, and enjoy life. If you, a friend, or a family member have depression, you or the depressed person could be having suicidal thoughts. Suicide prevention begins by recognizing symptoms in your own life and the warning signs in a loved one’s depression.
The emotional crisis of depression can be overwhelming, making it hard to know how to help, so having the help of a licensed therapist or a mental health care professional like a psychiatrist can be beneficial. They can assess the situation, provide appropriate treatment, and monitor progress.
Biological, psychological, and environmental factors cause major depression. There is no single source of this psychiatric disorder, but rather a variety of interrelated variables that work together to produce difficult emotions and personality changes. Common causes include:
- Genetics and family history: When someone has a family history of depression, they may likely develop the illness or have an increased risk of low mood.
- Stressful life events: A traumatic event such as the death of a loved one, significant financial difficulties, relationship problems, loss of employment, or significant changes can trigger an episode for a depressed person.
- Medical conditions: Certain conditions such as thyroid problems, hormonal imbalances, chronic fatigue syndrome, and certain medications can trigger depression.
- Substance abuse: Substance abuse, including alcohol or drug use, can contribute to developing depression.
- Gender: Women are disproportionately impacted by depression compared to men, often facing greater odds of a diagnosis.
The above are only a few potential causes of depression, so visiting a qualified mental health professional is important if you or someone close to you is struggling with this illness.
Helping Someone With Depression
Depression affects all aspects of life. From going to work or school to enjoying their hobbies, depression can make it difficult for the person and their loved ones. If someone you care about is struggling with depression, there are a few ways in which you can offer them support.
Talk and Listen
When a person you hold dear feels the fog of depression, their emotional needs are stronger than ever. Giving a depressed person space and showing that you are willing to be a good listener and listen carefully is one of the kindest things you can do.
Try to have normal conversations with them and allow them to talk about what’s going on in their life. You will likely have to approach the conversation with a greater level of patience and understanding, but let them express their feelings with no judgment and as much compassion as you can.
Being there to create trust, safety, and emotional support can be extremely beneficial. Simply providing meaningful words to remind your friend or family member that they are special can provide the greatest comfort they need.
Offer Practical Help
Many people experience a decline in their ability to engage in everyday activities when they suffer from depression. Even basic tasks such as grocery shopping, cooking dinner, or folding laundry can be difficult feats.
One small but meaningful way you can support your loved one is by offering practical help. Whether you pick up groceries when they don’t have the energy or take on household chores that have been keeping them down, providing genuine assistance will make it easier for them to face the daily grind.
Sometimes, inviting them out shopping or over for lunch isn’t what they need. Offering relief around the house provides meaningful encouragement despite their psychological obstacles.
Urging someone to seek out the counsel of a professional is one of the most valuable contributions you can make toward their well-being. If they feel overwhelmed and unable to cope, suggest they speak with a mental health provider who can provide support and guidance.
Do your best to motivate them on their journey — for the initial appointment and the following sessions. Being supportive and helping them to stick to their treatment plan can make a difference.
You can also research treatment options such as support groups, medications, and other therapies to help them manage their depression better. Ultimately, they have to choose their treatment plan, but offering suggestions could be the lifeline they need.
It can be challenging to help depressed people, but a significant step that you can take is to take extra effort and stay connected. Let your friend or family member know that no matter how they’re feeling, you’re always there for them and won’t disappear if the discussion turns to symptoms of depression.
Reach out and show that you care — plan normal activities to stay healthy like taking a walk, going out for coffee, or enjoying a movie night. Try your best to remain positive and encouraging throughout their difficult times and remind them that they are not alone.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make the biggest difference.
No matter how hard it may be to offer help, remember that your support is invaluable to someone struggling with depression. It takes a lot of patience, understanding, and effort, but you can help ease their pain and positively impact their life.
Take Care of Yourself
If you are supporting someone who experienced depression, it’s vital to ensure you don’t neglect your mental health and well-being.
Enlist the help of others if needed, and take time out for yourself every day — even if it’s just a few minutes here and there. Practicing small tasks like self-care through yoga, meditation, journaling, or talking to friends can help reduce feeling trapped, stress and provide balance.
You also need to set boundaries that allow you to step back and create a safe space between you and the other person. If needed, honestly talk with your depressed friend or family member and explain your limitations so they understand why you cannot always be available.
Remember, it takes a lot of energy to support someone through their depression journey — be sure to fill your cup first!
Treatment for Depression
Though it can be difficult to provide emotional aid for someone you love struggling with depression, there are numerous actions you can take to help them. However, professional treatment is the best option for those struggling with depression and anxiety. Treatment helps minimize their symptoms, reduce the risk of relapse, and encourage them to reach recovery.
There are various types of treatment that a mental health professional may recommend.
Mental health issues like depression can be effectively managed with the help of medication. An example is selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are designed to regulate neurotransmitters in the brain implicated in depression. These medications can provide relief to many people living with this troubling condition.
SSRIs have been frequently prescribed over the last several years and have been effective in helping individuals manage their depressive symptoms. For those suffering from depression and seeking a solution, discussing treatment options with a medical professional can be extremely beneficial.
Talk therapy is an integral part of treatment for depression and can help individuals explore their thoughts and feelings, identify triggers, and cope with life’s stressors. Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a popular form of psychotherapy that helps patients challenge the negative thinking patterns often associated with depression.
Other forms of counseling, such as interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), can address relationship difficulties and provide individuals with new ways to communicate their needs.
Small lifestyle changes can significantly impact a person’s mental health. Eating a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting enough sleep is essential to managing depression. It all comes down to building healthy routines.
Alcohol and drugs may seem to offer short-term relief, but they cannot address the root cause of depression and often contribute to making symptoms worse in the long run. Therefore, abstaining from alcohol and drugs is important for recovery.
CarePlus New Jersey – Helping Those in Emotional Crisis
Mental illness can be a hard truth to accept, mainly when it affects our loved ones. Fortunately, several tools are available to tackle depression, such as therapy and support from family members and friends or seeking out online resources.
Everyone deserves good mental health, so don’t be afraid to ask for help if you or someone you know needs additional support. CarePlus New Jersey offers help for the depressed person in one of our mental health clinics in Bergen County, New Jersey.
We provide the assistance and security to address the depression, and offer solutions via psychiatric medication management, individual therapy or family therapy, and support groups.
Starting treatment and to schedule your first appointment begins with calling our admissions line or filling out an appointment request on our website.