When a friend or a family member is depressive, your encouragement and support can play a pivotal role in their recovery. However, depression can also bring your energy levels down if you keep on neglecting your needs. The following guidelines will help in maintaining an emotional equilibrium and can help you in supporting a depressed person as well.

Recognizing Depression in a Friend or a Family Member

Aiding a Depressed Friend or a Family Member

Depression is treatable yet a major disorder that affects a lot of people belonging to all ages. It intervenes in the daily habits and causes tremendous pain as well as suffering. It not only affects the person who is suffering from it but also all the other people who are in his or her surroundings.

If your closed ones like a friend or a family member is depressed, you may be feeling emotionally low. There may be a variety of emotions like fear, guilt, anger, sadness and frustration that may be clouding your mind. It should be kept in mind that dealing with a depressed person is not easy and these feelings are normal. If you do not tend to care for yourself, it can be overwhelming for you as well.

There are certain measures that can be taken to help your loved one in recovering from depression. Begin by knowing everything about depression and speak about it to your family as well as friends. When you are reaching out to others for help, be sure to handle your emotional health as well. It may not be counted as selfishness when you take your health into consideration. When you are emotionally strong, you can grant better support to your depressed loved one.

Recognizing Depression in a Friend or a Family Member

The following are a few points to remember when you are dealing with a depressed friend or a family member.

  • Depression is a Severe Illness: The graveness of depression should never be underestimated. Depression can drain a person's energy, motivation as well as optimism. Try to remember that your friend or a family member cannot snap out of depression instantly and you will have to give them time.
  • Do Not Take the Signs of a Depressed Patient Personally: Depression can make it difficult for a person to be in connection on an emotional basis. Depressed people often say things that can be hurtful or may even lash out at times. You should always understand that such things should not be taken personally as it is the depression talking and it is not your loved one.
  • Do Not Hide your Friend or Family Member's Depression Problem: Never try being an enabler. It does not help any of your loved ones if you are making thousand excuses or hiding about the depressed condition of your friend. If you tend to do so, it may keep your friend away from seeking the right treatment.
  • Do Not Try to Solve the Problem On Your Own: Never try to rescue your friend from the depressed condition all by yourself. You cannot fix the problem and it is not on you to make your friend feel less depressed or something. You cannot blame yourself for what your loved one is going through. It is in the hands of the sufferer to head towards recovery.

How to Surely Know if My Friend or a Family Member is Depressed?

Friends and family are often the very first people to whom you can speak about the depression. They act as the first line of defense and this is why; it is extremely important to understand the signs of depression. You may be able to notice the problem in your loved one way before he or she even realizes. Your concern and influence can motivate the person to ask for help.

Be Worried if your Friend or a Family Member:

  • Does not care about any aspect or situation anymore.
  • Is abnormally irritable, critical, sad, short-tempered and moody.
  • Shows lack of interest in hobbies, sex and other delightful activities
  • Speaks about feelings of hopelessness or sadness.
  • Sees lie in a bleak way or has a negative outlook about it
  • Complains about frequent headaches, backache and stomach issues
  • Complains about feeling drained or tiresome at all times
  • Has socially withdrawn from friends, family and others
  • Is suffering from hypersomnia or insomnia
  • Has lost or gained weight and tends to eat a lot or more than the usual
  • Has become forgetful, disorganized or indecisive
  • Abuses alcohol or drugs including sleeping pills and painkillers.

How to Talk to a Friend or a Family Member About Depression?

Sometimes it can be hard to determine whether a friend or a family member is depressed or not. You might have a fear that if you will bring up the worries you have in your mind, your loved one will get angry, ignore your words or feel insulted as well. You may not be sure about the questions that have to be asked or how to support the depressed person.

The below mentioned suggestions can be of great help if you are not knowing where to start giving some help to your loved ones. Always try to remember that being a listener is important than just giving some advice as well. When you tend to be a good listener, the person will eventually start feeling better. Encourage the friend or the family member to speak about the feelings and be willing to listen to everything without any judgments.

The feelings of depression cannot end within a single conversation. People who are depressed often have the tendency to socially withdraw and isolate themselves. You may have to express the willingness and concern to listen to the person. Be persistent as well as gentle.

The following are the better ways to start the conversation about depression:

  • I am concerned about the way you have been feeling these days
  • I have noticed certain changes in your behavior and wanted to know how you are doing
  • I wanted to just check in to see if you are fine as you seem pretty sad lately.

The following are the important questions to ask a friend or family member who is depressed:

  • When did you start feeling this way?
  • Is there something wrong due to which you have been feeling like this?
  • How can I help you feel better?
  • Have you thought of seeking help from any person?

Remember that being support includes hope and encouragement. Often, this involves talking to a person while being depressed. It should be noted that you should speak in a language that the friend or family member understands.

How Can I Encourage a Depressed Friend or a Family Member to Get Help?

You can begin encouraging the depressed friend or a family member for seeking help even when you cannot control the recovery process. It can be difficult to get the person into treatment. Depression can take away all the energy as well as motivation, so finding a physician can seem daunting. There are negative thoughts associated with depression. The person who is depressed may feel hopeless and may also be of a notion that it is pointless in getting the treatment.

Due to all these obstacles, it can be difficult for the depressed person to admit that he or she is suffering and it can be solved with the right kind of treatment.

What Should You do When your Friend or Family Member is Not Interested in Depression Treatment?

Try to do the following if your friend or family member opposes getting help for depression:

  • Suggest your depressed friend or family member to consult a general physician.Your loved one may feel less anxious about seeing a physician rather than a professional who deals with mental health. Going for a regular treatment can be of great help as the doctor may rule out all the symptoms that are due to depression. He or she may also refer you to a specialized doctor as it can help you in recovery.
  • Help your depressed friend or family member by looking for a qualified therapist or a doctor. It can be a little difficult to find the right doctor and the entire process is based on trial and error. A person who is depressed, he or she is already having very little energy. It can be helpful if you give your assistance to them in finding a therapist and looking for other options.
  • Ask your depressed friend or family member to make a list of observed depression symptoms. You may also bring up a variety of things that you have noticed as an outsider. Try to speak about it to the person who is suffering from depression.

Helping Your Friend or a Family Member in Depression Treatment

Your unconditional love and support can be the most important thing that you can give to the friend or family member who is depressed. This also involves being patient as well as compassionate which does not seem easy when one is dealing with moodiness, negativity and hostility. All these instances often go hand in hand when it comes to depression.

  • Help Your Friend Or Family Member In Whichever Way You Can. Assist your friend or family member to make appointments and keep all the treatment options in hand. Help them to follow the right schedule as well as the medications that are prescribed.
  • Have Practical Expectations. When you have a family member or friend struggling from depression, you may find it quite frustrating to watch them recover very slowly. However, you have to remember that it is not easy to recover from depression and it does not happen in a fortnight.
  • Try to Become a Role Model. Persuade your family member or friend to follow a healthier lifestyle that can be mood-boosting. Eat better, avoid drug and alcohol, have a positive outlook and exercise regularly are a few things you can ask them to do.
  • Make Sure That They Are Active. Ask your loved one to participate in various activities. Invite him or her for a social dinner or go for a walk together. In short, be persistent and keep encouraging them in a gentle way.
  • Help in Smaller Tasks. It may be difficult for a person who is depressed to manage even smaller tasks. So, offer them help in completing household chores without burning up yourself.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 24, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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