Depression is becoming a more and more common issue these days not just in adults but in youngsters as well. If you have come across someone with depression, you probably know that helping the person suffering from it can be quite a challenge. It might even make you feel helpless and make you look for answers on what you can do or how you can help them.
Getting the person all the support and help that they need, in every way and that too at the right time is very important in helping them fight this depression. If you are looking for ways that you can help them, keep reading on.
Know the Signs and Symptoms of Depression
While the symptoms may vary from person to person, here are some typical ones.
- Feeling sad/ empty/ hopeless very often
- Frequent outbursts of anger, frustration or irritability
- Not sleeping enough or sleeping too much
- Constant feelings of worthlessness and guilt
- Not being able to let go of the past failures
- Blaming self for things that are beyond one’s control
- Loss of interest in most activities, even in the most normal or common ones
- A sudden change in appetite- either it is drastically reduced or increased
- Being very restless or anxious
- Trouble concentrating or making decisions or even remembering things
- Suicidal thoughts or attempt to suicide
Identifying the Signs of Depression
For people with depression, the symptoms are usually severe enough to affect their day-to-day life. It can take a toll on their daily activities like work, school, relationships or social activities. Watch out for any of the symptoms mentioned above and observe your loved ones closely.
If you even have the slightest feeling that someone close to you might be suffering from depression, observe them and their behaviour carefully.
You can start by observing their typical symptoms. What are the typical signs that you see in them and how often do you see them? And if you notice multiple signs from the ones mentioned above, the person is definitely in need of help.
If you also observe the symptoms worsening, it’s time to help the person in any way that you can.
What can be done to Help?
More often than not, a person may not realize that he’s depressed. He might think that his feelings are totally normal and the person may be completely unaware of all the signs.
It is only the right approach and the right treatment that can help a person come out of depression. Here are ways that you can help your close one out.
In the early stages of depression
- Have a conversation with the person about what you have observed and whether there is anything particular bothering him/ her.
- Explain to them that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and that seeking help can help them come out of it.
- Suggest taking help from a professional counsellor or psychologist.
- Show the person that you are willing to offer genuine support to help them come out of depression.
- Accompany the person to their psychologist’s appointments and attending sessions with them.
- Show them your support outside of these appointments too and offer them help in any way that you can. You can help motivate the person or engage with them in activities that can help with the depression.
- Even small acts of kindness and love will go a long way in helping the person cope with depression.
If you observe that a loved one is suffering from severe or life-threatening depression, you need to take action as soon as possible. In such a case, here is what you can do to help them out.
In severe cases of depression
It might happen that by the time you realize that a loved one is suffering from depression, his/ her depression could have become severe. However, don’t worry, as there are still several ways out of it.
Consider things like their typical signs and symptoms, frequency of their depressive episodes, what triggers their depressive episodes and the most helpful activities when the depression gets worse.
- Be in constant touch with the doctor/ psychologist to discuss what’s working and what’s not. If things aren’t getting any better, talk about adjusting or changing medications.
- Make sure that the person is taking their medications regularly.
- Apart from the medications and what is suggested by the therapist, make sure that the person takes other self-care steps. Ensure that the person is eating healthy, staying physically active and getting proper rest.
Understanding the risk of suicide
People with depression, especially those with severe forms of it, are at an increased risk of suicide. If you see severe depression in a loved one, chances are that he/ she has suicidal thoughts. Take the signs and symptoms of suicidal behaviour seriously and take action against it immediately.
- Carefully talk to the person on this issue and ask whether he or she has actually been thinking about it. Try to get out of the person whether he/ she has actually been planning it. Having an actual plan for it indicates a high likelihood of attempting suicide.
- Seek help from others and let the person’s doctor/ therapist, friends and family members know about what’s been going on.
- Make sure that the person is in a safe environment and try to eliminate everything that they can use to attempt suicide.
Knowing the signs of suicide
Look out for these signs and take action immediately if you notice any of them.
- Talking about suicide; for instance, things like ‘I wish i were dead’ or ‘I wish I hadn’t been born’.
- Having serious mood swings
- The feeling of being trapped or hopeless
- Being severely anxious or agitated
- Withdrawal from social life/ contacts and wanting to be left alone
- Locate helpful organizations like support groups that can help the person.
- Encourage the person to indulge in activities/ hobbies that makes him/ her feel good.
- Make plans together like going on a walk or watching a movie.
- Encourage them to stick with the treatment and continue medication.
- Be willing to listen to them so as to know what actually is going on in the person’s mind and how he/ she is feeling.
We hope this article helps you in understanding what you can do if your loved one is suffering from depression. As for yourself, you can learn more about depression, take good care of yourself and be very patient to help your loved one come out of this very unfortunate situation.