Depression is more than just sadness. It is a medical condition that requires therapy and treatment. It manifests in various ways and can alter one’s perspective on life. It affects not only the individual negatively but also his family and friends.
Depression is a common mood disorder and affects around 5% of adults. Studies show that family and friends can play a significant role in treating patients who have depression. Not only are they the first ones to notice the changes, but also the ones whose support enhances treatment outcomes. Therefore, family support and love can help lessen negative thoughts, improve mood, and aid recovery.
If your loved one is suffering from depression, here are seven ways you can support them and aid in their healing.
- Know the signs:
Often, we fail to recognize the symptoms of depression. To us, these symptoms appear as mood swings or bad attitudes. Consequently, we tend to rebuke the depressed individual.
Instead of writing off others’ emotions as mood swings, try to understand and recognize the depressive behaviors. Signals like acting cranky, sad, uninterested, and unmotivated may be apparent. Signs of addiction, compared to depression, are similar, and if you suspect they are suffering from chronic depression, you need professional help. You can contact treatment centers like Delphi Behavioral Health Group for help overcoming depression or addiction to harmful substances.
Once you have recognized the symptoms, it is time to talk to the person about their condition. It may seem difficult at first. Instead of openly confronting the person, begin with a general talk about their health, and ask a few personal questions.
Try not to pry or give advice. Actively listen to the other person and give them time to sort out their feelings. Try to keep the environment quiet and confidential; so the other person feels comfortable talking about their feelings. You should not negate or compare their feelings to others and stay committed to listening to the other person.
- Look for treatment:
While communicating, you should also try to introduce the idea of treatment. At first, your loved one may reject the possibility, but over time, try to encourage them to seek professional help. Begin by recommending a visit to a doctor for a general check-up. Search for therapists and treatment centers for your loved one and make a list. Give them options to choose from, and if your loved one agrees to see a therapist, set up an appointment and show your willingness to help.
Try to help your loved one prepare a list of questions, symptoms, and other concerns they wish to discuss with the physician. On the day of the appointment, your loved one may seem demotivated but try to stay patient and offer support.
- Be supportive:
A chief problem for depressed individuals is following through on treatment consistently. The way their brain functions, it becomes troublesome for them to go to therapy repeatedly. Moreover, some days may be more difficult than others with little to no motivation. During such times, you must provide unwavering support to your loved one.
Try to talk positively about their sessions and treatment. Help them look at the pros of going to therapy, point out their progress, and encourage them to participate. Take them on trips to provide a change of environment. Similarly, try involving them in enjoyable activities that will boost their mood. In addition, you could help them keep track of their medication. Learn about these medications, their side effects, and withdrawal symptoms. Try to encourage them to take medication and be careful that they don’t stop. Lastly, assure them that it is perfectly okay for them to take these medications and that taking antidepressants doesn’t make them lunatics.
- Know when to intervene:
Constantly nagging a depressive patient will annoy them, and they might stop listening to you. Therefore, you must give them space. However, this does not mean you leave them totally on their own. Still, keep a close eye on them to intervene when necessary.
Depression and suicide go hand in hand. Depressed patients are most prone to suicidal thoughts. If your loved one’s behaviors are negatively changing and they prefer to stay alone more than usual, stay alert. Monitor their behavior and note if their talk shifts to a preoccupation with death. These can be the warning signs of suicide and need immediate intervention. You can arrange an emergency session with their psychological therapist and stay with them at all times. Moreover, set up a safety plan and keep all harmful things out of their reach.
- Celebrate together:
We all need someone to lift our moods on gloomy days with their words or actions. An affectionate word and a kind action can brighten the mood of depressed individuals and replace their negative thoughts. It not only makes us happy, but it also improves our outlook on life.
Try to celebrate their progress towards a commitment to healthier life choices. For instance, compliment them if they keep their appointment with their health clinic. Similarly, provide a reward for taking medication. In addition, show physical affection, tell them how much they mean to you, and how their presence is essential.
- Focus on yourself:
Supporting someone with depression has its ups and downs. Some days push you to the edge, and you feel disturbed. Supporting people with depressive behavior may frustrate you, and you might want to give up. However, it is best to stay patient.
Staying patient is easier said than done. It requires practice and willpower. The best way to stay calm is by focusing on yourself. Give yourself a break now and then. Understand how much you can tolerate and when you need to go out for a change. Thus, practice self-care, try to see the positive in things, and maintain a routine that lets you off the hook during the day to recover your strength.
Seeing your loved one suffer from depression can be disheartening. You want the family member or friend to heal and enjoy life like before. To fulfill this dream, you must support them. Give them your unconditional love and support to aid their healing. With patience, persistence, and support, your loved one is sure to show signs of improvement.