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How to Support a Loved One With Depression

Depression can be a silent struggle. There are tips on how to support a loved one who is struggling with depression. Being able to be present with and encouraging to those who are struggling with depression around you can seem overwhelming, however, there are ways to still be supportive and maintain your own mental health. Understanding what depression is, and how it is treatable can help you to fully be able to support and help them through the struggles they may be enduring.

What is Depression?

Depression is a mental illness that can affect the way someone thinks, feels, and behaves. To be diagnosed as a depressive disorder, the symptoms should be present for two weeks, and they must affect the abilities to function normally. Depression affects approximately 6.7% of adults, one in fifteen. Depression can happen at any point in someone’s life, and it doesn’t necessarily have to be situational. Although it can occur any time during someone’s lifetime, depression usually begins to exhibit symptoms in early teen years up to the mid 20’s. Grief and bereavement are different from depression, although the two can exist at the same time in the same person. Understanding this can help you understand how to support a loved one with depression.

Symptoms of Depression

There are different signs you can look out for when trying to figure out how to support a loved one with depression. Looking out for these signs and symptoms can help you to identify that there may be a problem, and that your loved one may need help to have a successful and productive future. Some signs and symptoms of depression can include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Difficulty or excess sleeping
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Energy loss/increased fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Restlessness
  • Extreme weight changes
  • Isolation
  • Changes in interpersonal relationships
  • Increased thoughts or talk of suicide

Depression is not indicative of being weak, it is a mental health disorder that requires attention to alleviate the symptoms.

Is Depression Treatable?

Yes, depression is treatable. Encouraging someone to seek treatment is the best way you can support a loved one with depression. Therapy and proper support can help someone who struggles with depression to find hope and feel like their life can improve. There are many medications that can be used in conjunction with therapies to help those who struggle. Having the proper care can make all the difference.

Tips for Supporting Loved Ones Struggling With Depression

Those who struggle with depression often show the above signs and symptoms. Identifying these symptoms and learning how to support a loved one with depression can help them to feel safe with you. Having feelings of safety can be highly beneficial to those loved ones who may be struggling with depression and mental health.

Encourage Treatment

As previously stated, treatment can be the best form of support someone can have to help with their feelings of depression. Having a professional to guide them through the feelings and emotions they are experiencing can lead to a positive outcome. These professionals are trained to help safely work through or manage the symptoms of depression.

Listen, Don’t Judge

When trying to figure out how to support a loved one with depression, remember that listening can be one of the best forms of support you can provide them. Being able to speak their feelings and thoughts out into the open, without being or feeling judged, can help them to self regulate and work through their feelings without being self destructive.

Offer to Help

Many people who struggle with depression have difficulty completing daily tasks. Things like laundry, and dishes can feel so overwhelming. Offer to help them complete these tasks, and take the load off of them, so they can be in a clean and healthy living environment.

Recognize When Someone is in Crisis

This is a crucial step on how to support a loved one who has depression. Depression can lead to suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Understanding and identifying when they are in crisis is vital to them receiving help at the pivotal point where they need it the most.

Maintain Your Mental Health

Your mental health comes first. You cannot pour from an empty cup to fill up someone else’s cup. Make sure that you are at your best before you try to push yourself to help someone who is struggling. People can take on the emotions and feelings of others, and this can be a challenge if you aren’t at your best.

Finding Depression Help in Louisville, KY

If you or a loved one are struggling with depression, we at Louisville Addiction Center can help. We can help you to work through the feelings of depression and find healthy coping skills to counteract the detrimental behaviors associated with depression. Contact us today, and allow us to help guide you through the beginning stages of recovery from depression.