How To Deal With a Depressed Family Member

By Subodh / July 1, 2014

Depression affects millions of people irrespective of age, young or old. It is a serious disorder causing tremendous pain to the patients and to their family members and friends. However, it is treatable and with consistent efforts from near, ones can be cured completely. Encouragement and support are the two things that are most important for bringing back the depressed person to a normal state of mind.

So, how can you help your depressed friend or beloved? Here are a few guidelines that will help you to deal with a depressed family member.

Understanding Depressed Family Member

A depressed person experiences varying range of emotions such as fear, sadness, guilt, helplessness, anger and frustration. You will be surprised and perplexed at the same time by this behaviour of your depressed family member as it becomes difficult to understand his state of mind. To get closer to him and reach out to the core of his heart, you must first try to learn about depression and also consult a psychiatrist who can help you understand the frequent emotional changes that disturb your family member.

Depressed Person

Symptoms of Depression

Here are some symptoms that will make identifying whether your family member is suffering from depression or not much easier. If your dear one displays most of these symptoms, then he is suffering from depression.

  • Has stopped caring about anything, including himself
  • Is always irritable, critical, uncharacteristically sad, short –tempered or moody
  • Has no interest in hobbies, work, sex and any other activities that used to pleasure him before
  • Always talks about hopeless or being helpless
  • Is negative in his approach
  • Feels drained and tired all the time
  • Sleeps less or is suffering from insomnia
  • Frequently complaining about pains and aches such as stomach problems, headaches and back pain
  • Has stopped moving out into social circles
  • Avoid being with family members and friends
  • Is involved in drug abuse, alcoholism or addiction to painkillers and sleeping pills

Start by Communicating

Since a depressed person can take even a simple talk to his heart, it is very important how you converse with him. Communication is the first step towards finding a solution for his depression. Starting communication does not mean that you need to do most of the talking. Rather, you need to act, as a compassionate listener to know more about the problem of your depressed beloved, only then it is possible for you to help him.

Things to Remember While Conversing

  • The first rule while talking with a depressed person is to remain patient. He may not complete the conversation and simply withdraw without giving you answers. But you need to keep on trying and encourage him to talk. It may take days or even months when finally he will come around and share himself with you.
  • Be gentle and consistent but do not be forceful. Give him some time to respond, as depressed people are often vague and do not remember what they spoke a few minutes earlier.
  • Start by saying some kind words such as I have been noticing some changes in your behaviour lately, you seem to pretty down for some days or I feel concerned about you and so on.
  • When he starts responding you can ask more questions such as since when have you been feeling like this, what happened that made you feel like this, or how can I help you and so on.

Encouragement and Professional Help

Encourage him to talk more, encourage him to take the part in social activities and if possible, persuade him to take the help of a professional. For the initial sessions, you can accompany him to support him.

With proper help, support, motivation and care, you can help your family member come out of depression shortly.

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