How to support a loved one in depression: 5 expert tips

Depression is one of the most common mental disorders: according to the WHO , about 250 million people in the world are experiencing one or another of its symptoms right now . Often the words “depression” or “depressive” are used synonymously for a bad mood, but this comparison is fundamentally wrong: if sadness or melancholy are transient emotions, then in case of depression you can not do without the help of a specialist . We will tell you how to help a loved one cope with this disorder.               

Learn More About Depression 

The first thing the experts advise is to learn more about depression: what symptoms it has, why it occurs, how it is treated. It is best in this case to use authoritative sources – for example, to study the publications of the same WHO or other organizations that adhere to the principles of evidence-based medicine. Do not react to myths and guesses, but stick to the facts: yes, depression is a mental disorder, people with depression are not always in a bad mood, depression can be a sign of other diseases.              

Depression is a difficult test in the life of every person, but it is effectively treated: both psychotherapeutic methods and medications can help . As in the case of other diseases, it is important not to self-medicate: identify what can help, can only psychiatrist. If you think that a loved one has symptoms of depression, then try asking him to take the Zanga test , its reliability has been confirmed in the course of studies. Another common test was proposed by the American psychotherapist Aaron Temkin- Beck, his method is also considered effective and specific.                 

If the person already knows they have a depressive episode or bipolar disorder, then it is important not to react reactively. Even worse – a meaningless phrases, clichés like “this is nonsense”, “smile, and everything will”, “you just have to move more often,” and all in this spirit. We have already said that even in a normal situation there is no support for them – and in the case of a person with depression, they can only worsen the situation. If you are now very few know about depression, it is better not to say anything and just offer aid, but about this is to tell apart.                      


Ask what help is needed

As obvious as this point is, the question of help is really worth asking. To support other people, we often make them feel good as we would like to ourselves – in other words, in such situations we think out for those around us. Being supportive is great, but it’s important to understand that what helps us doesn’t necessarily help others. To advise a treatment regimen, you need to be a doctor – to maintain the same in other respects may be precisely because of you.                

Help can be completely different: someone can ask to cook dinner, help clean up or go out with the dog, someone just listen. Estimate your resources in advance: don’t offer courtesy help if you don’t really plan to help . It is also important to be delicate and not insist if a person says that now he or she needs to be alone: ​​this is a normal request for any of us and filling the time with vigorous activity at this moment may not be the best idea. The same thing, by the way, can be said about the online activity: do not be offended and not be discouraged if your loved one does not respond to your message this very same moment.                        

Be there when you can

The support of loved ones for people in depression is very important, so if possible, do not ignore your loved one – whether it is a request to take a walk, drink tea together, or just talk on the phone. The most important thing here is your own resource: communicating with a depressed person can be difficult, so it is worth assessing your strengths in advance. That is why it is important to monitor your mental health: you are unlikely to be able to help if you yourself need help.             

Good practice in this sense is to start a special mood journal, Western psychologists advise . Such a diary is used in positive psychology. The journal allows you to track when the mood is elevated or normal, as well as understand what was happening at that time. In a simple form, such a magazine is an ordinary table, where days or time intervals are located on the vertical axis, and mood types along the horizontal axis. However, it can also be done on a smartphone: in the Apple Store and Play Store , you can find different options for the query ” mood tracker ” (or ” mood log “).                   

Include a loved one in social life 

The difficulty of socialization is something that haunts many people experiencing a depressive episode: when there is no strength to get out of bed or wash a cup of coffee, not to have a friendly get – together. When your offers to meet or talk are constantly rejected, it can be difficult at some point to continue to show attention – however, psychologists say that it is important for a depressed person to know that he or she was not forgotten, he or she was not abandoned because of the experience disorders. Therefore, invite the person wherever you call and so – even if you know that, most likely, he or she will refuse or will not respond at all to your invitation.                    

It is worth noting here that it is important to control your own emotions. Do not get angry or upset if your loved one behaves colder than usual – and do not take coldness personally : no matter how corny it may sound, in the case of depression, it is most likely not really about you.             

Celebrate progress even if you don’t see it at first glance  

Sometimes the first step in treating depression may be the most important – see a doctor or sign up for therapy. You can support a person at this very moment by offering, for example, an escort in the clinic. Write a pleasant message to your loved one before, ask how it went, after. All these are signs of attention that say directly: you want the person to cope with their disorder, you want him or her to see concrete progress in treatment.             

Notice it may not be so easy – especially when you consider that many antidepressants have a cumulative effect. It is important here to focus on those successes and victories that may not seem like such in another situation – for example, if a person in a severe form of depression can already get out of bed, then this is an important stage and a good sign. But even if you do not manage to notice any progress right now, do not be discouraged and do not give up. According to scientific data , the prognosis for treatment of depression is very optimistic – remission occurs in 70-80 percent of all patients. At the same time, it is noted that in half of them the changes do not occur immediately: in order to cure depression, it is necessary to stock up not only with money, strength or pills, but also with time.

local_offerevent_note March 8, 2021

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