Home Mental Health & Well-Being When a Loved One Is Depressed: How Do You Help Them?

When a Loved One Is Depressed: How Do You Help Them?

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Depression is a mental illness that can affect anyone, at any time. The symptoms vary from person to person, but generally, the condition makes it difficult to concentrate on everyday tasks or enjoy life.

It can also make people feel exhausted and unmotivated. Depression is often confused with sadness or grief. However, these feelings are usually temporary. If you’ve noticed any warning signs in someone you love, here’s how to support them in their journey out of depression. 

Understand the symptoms

In many cases, people with depression don’t feel like doing anything. However, it’s important to learn to differentiate the symptoms of depression and anxiety. Contact an expert at a treatment facility such as Alta Loma to get a comprehensive diagnosis, and develop a plan to move forward. 

When depressed, it’s challenging to find meaning in life. Depression can affect a person’s appetite and make it hard to sleep. If you’re not sure if your loved one has depression, look for these warning signs:

  • They withdraw from activities they used to love.
  • They feel hopeless or guilty.
  • They seek solitude.
  • They have difficulty concentrating on tasks.
  • They often cry, sometimes for no reason.
  • They have suicidal thoughts.
  • They always have a negative perception.

Bring out your concerns

The first step is to talk to your loved one about your concerns. Highlight what you have noticed, why you’re concerned, and let them know there is help available. Your loved one may feel hopeless and lack the strength to step out of the messiness, but with your help, they can take strides towards a more positive future. Be patient, persistent, and follow up on their progress.

Seek professional help

Look for experts who can offer your loved one the needed help. Talk to friends, medical experts and look for online reviews to find a suitable support system. Involving your loved one in this process helps prepare them for what’s ahead. They’ll also be more responsive to treatment and any other helpful suggestions. 

An individual should avoid self-medicating or using addictive substances to cope with depression. Doing so worsens the symptoms. If your loved one refuses to see a therapist or psychiatrist, there are other options you can pursue, such as getting them a mentor they can talk to.

Help your loved one cope with the daily challenges of depression

Depression doesn’t just affect how an individual feels. It also impacts how they function. It’s a challenge to take care of simple tasks such as personal grooming or other responsibilities. Be a good listener, help where you can, and ask others to chip in as well.

For instance, a friend can deliver meals for a week while another arranges childcare services. Listening validates your loved one’s feelings and shows support. Also, remember to congratulate them for every effort they make to get better.

Be aware of suicidal signs

Depression can make people feel hopeless, leading to suicidal thoughts. Have your loved one evaluated by a mental health professional if you suspect any suicidal signs or behaviors.

If you notice that they withdraw from friends and family, show increased anxiety, or talk about death, seek professional assistance. If you believe they are at a high risk of commiting suicide, don’t leave them alone. Call emergency services immediately.

Take care of yourself

Taking care of a depressed person can take a toll on you as well. When feeling overwhelmed, exhausted, or burnt out by your responsibilities, you will not be able to help them effectively. The best way to take care of yourself is to ask for help from family members and trusted friends.

Asking for assistance will recharge your batteries and give you the strength to tackle the challenges ahead. You can also try taking time off work or volunteering so that you have something else to focus on besides your loved one’s depression. Additionally, look for support groups for guidance and help on how to take care of yourself and your loved one.

Check if treatment is working

Check in with your loved one and see if the treatment is working. Remember that it might take some time before you start noticing any significant improvements after beginning a medication or therapy regimen. 

Visit the professional regularly and observe your loved one for signs of improvement. If their symptoms have not improved or they’ve worsened, it might be time to talk to a doctor about changing treatments or the approach.

There’s help for you and your voved one

Don’t despair, because there is help available for you and your loved one. Understandably, it’s a challenge dealing with a depressed person, but you have professionals willing to walk with you throughout the journey. 

You’ll get all the information you need on depression, learn how best to take care of your loved one, and which symptoms to watch for. With the right treatment plan, your loved one can quickly get back to their old, productive, optimistic, and energetic self. 

Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.

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