Helping someone with depression can be very challenging and confusing. In fact, when someone in your life is depressed! You might feel helpless and clueless about what is the right thing to do. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot help. Therefore, in this article, we’ll provide insights and information to help you help someone who’s depressed.
Although depressed people feel completely hopeless about recovery, That’s not true. They only need the right support. Thus, offering help to a depressed person can make a huge difference! And pave the way toward recovery.
Apart from this, helping someone with depression is truly one of the kindest acts. That’s because this illness kills people. It is considered among the main leading causes of suicide around the world.
So, when you support someone who’s depressed, you’re literally saving a life!
How to tell someone has depression?
To learn how to help someone who’s depressed, first you need to understand the symptoms & signs of depression. This will allow you to identify if your loved one or friend is suffering from it. It’s evident that this illness should be diagnosed by a health professional. Still, identifying depression isn’t so difficult if you pay attention to its apparent impact & symptoms on a depressive.
Signs & symptoms
Below, you’ll find a list of depression signs & symptoms to help you tell if someone is depressed or not. However, keep in mind! Sometimes it is tough to know if someone is suffering from depression. That’s because depressives tend not to show their emotions and retreat to themselves more often. It is very difficult for them to open up and speak up about their suffering and emotions. Therefore, a health professional is highly required to determine a final diagnosis.
The indications and symptoms of depression differ from person to person.
They may consist of:
- Sadness, outbursts of tears, emptiness, or a sense of indifference.
- Irrational attitude, anger, or frustration, especially about small issues.
- loss of pleasure or interest in the majority of everyday activities, including sex, hobbies, and sports.
- Excessive sleeping or insomnia.
- Fatigue and a lack of energy, even simple tasks need more effort.
- Changes in appetite, such as a decrease in appetite and weight loss or overeating and weight gain.
- Feelings of unease, anxiety, or worry.
- Sluggish speech, posture, or other body movements.
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness, obsessing about past mistakes or blaming oneself for situations that are not your fault.
- Problems with memory, concentration, decision-making, and clear thinking.
- Suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, or other types of self-destructive behaviors.
- Physical pain and discomfort.
How to help someone who’s suffering from depression?
Be patient & understanding
Helping someone who’s depressed requires patience & understanding. Usually, people suffering from depression may not accept the fact that they’re sick. They feel ashamed of their condition, and they refuse to seek help from others. This is due to how mental health is persistently stigmatized in our culture.
More often, depressives abstain from talking about their suffering to avoid judgment. Some even perceive their depression as a sign of weakness and not a real disease. Therefore, to help someone with depression, you need to convince them that it is a real issue.
By acknowledging that depression is a serious illness and not something to be ashamed of… You provide a positive grounding for a depressive to accept their illness & their need for help.
Moreover, being patient & understanding with depressives will help them overcome their feelings of loneliness & isolation. It provides them with the strength to cope with despair and helplessness. As a result, they’re more likely to accept their disease as a mental illness and not a flaw of character.
More tips to support someone with depression:
- Inform the individual of your observations and your concerns.
- Describe how depression is a medical problem, not a character flaw or weakness, and how therapy can commonly make it better.
- Suggest visiting a professional for assistance, such as a medical doctor or a mental health specialist like a certified counselor or psychologist.
- Offer help by creating a list of questions to go through at the first consultation with a physician or mental health professional.
- Set up appointments, accompany them, and attend family therapy sessions to demonstrate your willingness for support.
Pay attention to alarming depression signs
Depression might have common diagnostic symptoms, but it is experienced differently. The way a teen experiences depression is different from the way a middle-aged person does. Therefore, when helping a loved one, you should study their condition specifically! And how it affects their behavior and daily life activities.
This will give you a good idea about the intensity of their depression and how to deal with it. It will also allow you to identify alarming signs of worsening depression that require urgent assistance.
So, to evaluate the condition of a loved one with depression, Answer these questions:
- What kind of warning signs and symptoms have you observed in your friend or relative?
- When depression is severe, what actions and behavior do you notice?
- When he or she is performing well, what type of actions or language do you notice?
- What situations trigger more severe depressive episodes?
- Which activities help the most when depression becomes worse?
Answering these questions will help you evaluate your loved one’s depression and what to do to help them.
What to do when depression gets worse?
When depression gets worse, it becomes very dangerous and must be treated quickly. In fact, ignoring this can lead to tragic outcomes! Such as suicide or self-harm. Thus, if you notice that your relative’s depression is getting worse, you need to take action urgently.
For instance, you can:
- Urge Her/ him to seek help from a mental health professional.
- Call the doctor to inquire about changing medications or coming up with a new therapy plan.
- Consult a psychotherapist, such as a professional psychologist or counselor.
- Follow a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and engage in physical activity.
Pay attention to the alarming signs of suicide
To help someone who’s depressed, you should be aware of suicide risks. Most people with depression will contemplate suicide. Some of them will even attempt to take their life. Depression is a master of despair. In other words, when you’re depressed, hope ceases to exist. The mere possibility of living seems impossible and terrifying.
These dark emotions and states of mind can lead to suicide. That is why it is crucial to identify the slightest signs of suicide risks and take action if needed.
- Signs of suicide ideation:
- Making remarks like “I’m going to end my life,” “I wish I die,” or “I wish I hadn’t been born” when discussing suicide.
- Getting things that can be used to attempt suicide, such as purchasing a pistol or drugs.
- Avoiding social interaction and self-withdrawal.
- Being emotionally unstable, such as being euphoric one day and terribly depressed the next.
- A sudden interest in death, dying, or violence.
- Feeling stuck or hopeless in a circumstance.
- Increasing alcohol or drug use.
- Changing one’s typical routine, such as eating or sleeping habits.
- Doing actions that are dangerous or self-destructive, such as consuming drugs or driving recklessly.
- Giving up possessions or getting one’s affairs in order when there is no other logical reason.
- Saying farewell to people as though they will never be seen again.
- Changing personality or becoming very worried or agitated, especially while experiencing some of the warning indications mentioned above.
How do deal with suicide risks?
- Ask whether they have ever considered trying to kill themselves or if they have any plans to do so. That’s because having a real plan suggests a higher risk of suicide attempts.
- Seek professional help. Contact the patient’s physician, mental health practitioner, or other medical experts. Share the situation with other family members or close friends.
- Call a suicide hotline for urgent intervention.
- Ensure that the individual is in a safe space. Remove everything that may be utilized in a suicide attempt. Remove or lock up things like weapons, drugs, and guns.
- If you believe you’re loved one is at an urgent risk of self-harm or suicide! Call 911 or your local emergency number. Never leave someone who’s attempting suicide alone. Make sure someone else is with him/her.
Understanding how to help someone who’s depressed might not cure them. However, your support can have a significant influence on their condition. Just by being there! Listening to them and acknowledging their suffering can help them cope or even recover from depression.