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How Can I Help Someone Who Is Depressed?
Seeing a loved one suffer with depression is not an easy sight and at times can cause YOU to feel hopeless. For some individuals, depression can be debilitating and painful, making even the thought of getting help seem impossible. Trying to help someone who is depressed can be exhausting and met with many barriers. Arming yourself with knowledge, however, may help make the process easier. Below are a few suggestions of things to consider if you are trying to help someone you know.
Learn about Depression - there are many misconceptions about depression. Believing a person is lazy, weak and/or not interested in getting better are a few perceptions that individuals may have. Depression, is in fact, a common disorder that can be caused by a combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors. Generally speaking, interventions like medications, psychotherapy, and social support are needed in order to help alleviate symptoms.
Avoid Judgment - aside from understanding what depression is, it is also important to avoid judging your loved one. Being judgmental may cause your loved one to disregard what you are saying, especially if he/she is in denial of their symptoms. Being supportive by educating them about symptoms, options and resources can help provide the support they need and hopefully allow them to get some help.
Take Suicidal Talk Seriously - if your loved one has thoughts of hurting himself/herself it is important to contact his/her doctor right away or contact 911 if warranted. If they have not mentioned suicidal thoughts, be sure ask him/her directly so as to rule out the possibility. While some individuals may see this topic at taboo, it is crucial to know if these thoughts are floating around your loved one's head so that you can ensure treatment with the proper healthcare professional is obtained immediately.
Research Resources - knowing what types of assistance are available can help convince your loved one to reach out for help. Resources like local support groups, reading materials, online websites, etc., can help alleviate the feeling of isolation your loved one may be experiencing. Have this information handy when talking with him/her so that it will be immediately available when he/she needs it. Also consider including contact information for the National Suicide Hotline. This can be especially beneficial if your loved one is too ashamed to tell you the truth about his/her thoughts.
Aside from those listed above and those in the comments, what else should be included in this brief list of suggestions? Please share your thoughts below.
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What is Depression?
Depression is a term many individuals use to describe feelings of sadness, gloom and/or pessimistic thinking. Clinically speaking, depression refers to a type of mood disorder that impedes on a person's ability to function in various aspects of his/her life for a significant amount of time.
Due to the impact depression can have on someone's well-being, including those around them, it is important to be aware of some of the common symptoms associated with the disorder and what to do about them. Some of the most common symptoms include:
While the above symptoms vary according to the severity of the depression, it is important to not disregard what you or someone you know is feeling. Depression, if not taken care of early enough, can serve as a blockade to getting help. As a result, many individuals who are depressed often need friends and/or family to intervene and help them get assistance.
The first step in getting help is to consult with a medical professional to rule out any medical causes for the depression. Upon being evaluated by your physician, he/she may recommend seeking counseling either with a psychiatrist, psychologist or other mental health professionals to identify any emotional/psychological causes for the problem. Depending on what is causing the depression, generally a combination of medical and psychological care is helpful.
Do you have any thoughts or questions you would like to share? Please do so below.