What To Do If You Fear Your Loved One Is Suffering From Depression

What To Do If You Fear Your Loved One Is Suffering From Depression

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest; depression can affect the way you feel, think and behave which may lead to sufferers having trouble conducting normal day to day activities.

The symptoms to look out for are; feelings of sadness, anger outbursts, loss of interest or pleasure in most or all activities, sleep disturbances, reduced or increased appetite, frequent or recurrent thoughts of death or suicide and trouble concentrating.

These symptoms usually occur on a day to day basis and are severe enough to cause noticeable problems in activities such as work, school, relationships and social activities. For a diagnosis for depression symptoms must last at least two weeks and is important to rule out any causes which may be a result of medical conditions.

There can be several factors which can play a role in depression such as differences in certain chemicals in the brain or genetics.

Personality can be a factor as people with low self-esteem can become easily overwhelmed by stress. Those who are generally pessimistic are more likely to experience depression whilst environmental factors such as exposure to violence, neglect, abuse or poverty make some people more vulnerable to depression.

It can develop slowly. Someone who is depressed doesn’t always realise or acknowledge that they’re not feeling or behaving the way they usually do and so it is often a partner, family member or carer that realises that help is needed.

If you feel your loved one is suffering from depression, there are some simple and practical thing you can do to help:
  • Let them know you care and that you are there to listen. This may sound simple but having that ‘one’ person who you can trust and who listens can help them to feel comfortable to talk.
  • Gently encourage them to help themselves by staying physically active, eating a balanced diet and doing things in which they enjoy. Sleep is an important factor so encourage a regular sleep pattern.
  • Provide them with information about services which may be available such as psychological therapy services or depression support groups in their area. This can be a big step for anyone to approach a support group so having someone there to help them find an ideal group or going along to their first session will help.
  • Try and stay in touch with them by messaging, texting or phoning as people who are depressed can become isolated and may find it difficult to communicate as normal.

  • Pitch in when possible – seemingly small tasks can be hard for a depressed person to manage. Offer to help out with any household responsibilities or jobs, but only do what you can do without getting burned out yourself.
  • Encourage a trip your GP. Your loved one may be less anxious about seeing a family doctor than a mental health professional. A regular doctors visit can be a great option as the doctor can rule out any medical causes of depression.
  • If you are worried about your loved one due to them expressing suicidal feelings, contact a GP or NHS 111. Charities like Samaritans are also beneficial for confidential, 24-hour support.
  • Do some research into what other treatments may be out there to help depression. In 2015 the NICE guidelines approved Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) as an approved treatment for depression. TMS involves stimulating the pre-frontal cortex of the brain through magnetic pulses and by doing this, TMS can lead to complete remission from depression with patients reporting that they feel much more positive; they are more motivated and talkative. Smart TMS provide this form of treatment and have clinics in Birmingham, London and Dublin.

Chloe Ward is Technician for Smart TMS, the UKs leading mental health clinic specialising in transcranial magnetic stimulation. 

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