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Helping a Loved One With Depression

Helping a Loved One With Depression

About 6% of American adults are living with depression. It’s a common mental health condition, and it affects people of every age, race, and social class.

Depression is a complex condition that’s characterized by persistent sadness and hopelessness. Its effects can be far-reaching: It impacts your daily life, enjoyment of your favorite activities, and even your relationships with the people closest to you.

People with depression often become distant and disinterested. Their friends and family may see them struggling, but they just don’t know what they can do to help. If you’re worried about the mental wellbeing of someone you love, read on. 

At Boston Neurobehavioral Associates, our psychiatry and psychotherapy team specializes in depression — and that includes supporting family and friends. We’re here to help you learn more about depression and how you can help a loved one who’s living and coping with depression.

How to identify signs of depression in others

Sadness is a normal emotion, and everyone experiences it from time to time. But when someone starts feeling sad or moody more often than not, it could be a sign of depression.

Clinical depression is a serious mood disorder characterized by sadness, hopelessness, or loss of interest, with or without a clear cause. Although there are many common signs, depression affects different people in different ways.

If you’re concerned that a loved one might have depression, look for changes in their outlook on life or their behavior, including:

Depression can also cause physical symptoms, such as:

These are some of the most common signs of depression, but remember that only qualified mental health professionals can reach a diagnosis. If you think your loved one could be suffering from depression, the first step is talking to them about ways to seek professional care. 

Ways to support a loved one with depression

Seeing a friend or family member struggle with depression is hard. You want to help, but what’s the right thing to do?

Many people may not be aware that the feelings they’re experiencing could actually be depression. Others may be defensive or embarrassed, so it’s important to take a gentle approach when you bring up your concerns.

Start by telling them you love them and that you care about their wellbeing. Consider mentioning a few symptoms of depression that you’ve noticed in them, and ask if there’s anything you can do to help them.

Although it can be tempting, don’t dismiss their feelings or attempt to cheer them up right away. Depression is more than simply feeling down, and it’s not something that can be easily snapped out of.

If your loved one is willing, offer to help them schedule a consultation with a mental health professional. Let them know that depression is treatable, and there’s no shame in seeking help. 

Our team at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates provides comprehensive evaluations for depression and other mental health conditions. Every patient is different, but we generally diagnose depression when a person feels sad or hopeless most days of the week for longer than two weeks.

Treatment for depression often includes a combination of psychotherapy sessions and antidepressant medication. Our team works with each patient to help them develop skills for managing depression in their daily lives.

Support from loved ones is very important for people with depression, whether they choose to seek treatment or not. When you have a friend or family member facing depression, let them know you’re there for them in every way that you can be.

For more information about depression and supporting the people you care about the most, talk to our specialists at Boston Neurobehavioral Associates. Contact us online or call to schedule an appointment.

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