If you know someone who’s depressed, it’s sometimes difficult to know how to act or what to say to that person. You’re afraid of exacerbating the situation, but the worst thing you can do is to do nothing at all. Below are some helpful tips and best practices to help someone dealing with depression.
What is depression
“Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. Also called major depressive disorder or clinical depression, it affects how you feel, think and behave and can lead to a variety of emotional and physical problems. You may have trouble doing normal day-to-day activities, and sometimes you may feel as if life isn’t worth living.”
Understanding the symptoms of depression is the first step in getting someone help.
Be aware of symptoms
- Emptiness, hopelessness, sadness, tearfulness
- Quick to anger, irritation, frustration, even over trivial matters
- No longer interested in activities that were pleasurable
- A change in sleeping habits
- Low energy
- Changes in appetite followed by unexpected weight loss or gain
- Agitation, anxiety, restlessness
- Slowed thought, speech, or body movements
- Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
- Obsession with past failures and personal responsibility
- Problems thinking, concentrating, or with decision making
- Frequent thoughts or talking about suicide
- Unexplained physical ailments
How do you know if depression is worsening?
Your friend or loved one insists they’re doing better, but you think otherwise. Because clinical depression won’t go away by itself, it’s important to understand the signals their condition is worsening. Consider the following:
- Have typical symptoms in your friend changed?
- What behavior or language have you noticed when your friend or loved one’s depression is at its worst?
- What behavior or language have you noticed when your friend or loved one is doing well?
- Have you noticed anything that triggers depression?
- Are there any activities that help your loved one or friend when the depression is at its worst?
What to say to a depressed person?
One of the most important things you can do for someone depressed is to be supportive. Support comes in different forms, and not everyone is comfortable giving or receiving it. Be aware: There is no “magic bullet” for helping someone with depression. Support is a matter of trial and error. Here are some things you can say to a depressed person:
- Do you need some space?
- I’m here to help.
- Please don’t forget that I love you.
- Take as much time as you need.
- You don’t have to say or do anything that makes you feel uncomfortable.
- Everything is going to work out.
- No, I don’t think you’re crazy.
- Remember, you’re a good person.
- This isn’t your fault.
- No, you’re not a burden.
Words of encouragement and love can go a long way toward helping depressed people find the strength necessary to get help and manage their symptoms.
The threat of suicide
The risk of suicide for a depressed person is small, about two percent, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, but the threat should never be ignored. If you’re supporting someone who’s depressed and their condition is worsening, you can:
- Talk to the person about your concerns
- Get help by contacting the person’s family or doctor
- Look for online resources
- Ensure the person’s in a safe environment
- Be prepared to call 9-1-1
How to diagnose depression
If your loved one or friend has agreed to see a doctor or therapist, you can help educate them about what to expect. Diagnosis often includes a physical exam and mental evaluation, and there may be uncomfortable questions about feelings, thoughts, behaviors, and personal and family history of mental illness.
Someone who’s depressed and agrees to get help will talk to a doctor or therapist for treatment. In most cases, fighting depression starts with psychotherapy, medicine, or a combination of the two.
Ketamine and depression
Ketamine started as a fast-acting anesthetic and pain reliever, an innovative new treatment option. Research in the last two decades has shown that ketamine is a powerful new tool for treating depression.
Ketamine stimulates the growth and regrowth of neurotransmitters in the brain, essentially rewriting the parts of the brain causing distress. Up to 70% of patients may find relief from the symptoms of depression after a series of IV ketamine infusions.
Contact us today to learn more about this innovative new treatment option.