What is depression? Is it a sickness or disease? The labels “disorder” or “sickness” are widely used to characterize depression; nevertheless, some specialists refer to depression as a disease since the term emphasizes its physical and mental impacts.
Depression (major depressive disorder) is a widespread and significant medical ailment that has a negative impact on how you feel, think, and act.
According to WHO statistics, depression is the biggest cause of disability worldwide, with more than 264 million patients experiencing different degrees of depression.
These alarming figures are sufficient enough for us to take depression and its severely catastrophic consequences on a person and their immediate family members seriously!
So, how to help someone with depression?
Before you can help out a friend or family member dealing with depression, there are essential things you must know. Let’s get started!
What Causes Depression?
The reasons that may cause depression are not fully known. However, a mix of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological variables is thought to have an effect.
Among the possible causes are:
- Genetics: A family history of depression can raise the likelihood of developing the illness.
- Brain Chemistry: An imbalance of neurotransmitters in the brain may lead to depression.
- Medical Reasons: Certain medical factors, such as chronic disease or persistent pain, can raise the risk of depression.
- Life Events: Severe or stressful life events, such as the death of a loved one, the end of a relationship, or the loss of a job, can set off depression.
- Personality: People with particular personality traits, such as poor self-esteem or being overly critical of themselves, may be predisposed to depression.
The Top 10 Key Symptoms of Depression
How to help a friend with depression? This is the most common query people have. But, more important before helping is understanding depression.
The key symptoms associated with depression are the following:
- Feelings of despair, pessimism, or helplessness that persist
- Loss of interest in previously appreciated activities
- Difficulty concentrating or making judgments
- Changes in appetite or sleeping habits
- Fatigue or a lack of energy
- Feelings of inadequacy or guilt
- Suicidal or self-harming thoughts
- Agitation or irritability
- Physical problems that are unexplained, such as headaches or stomachaches
- Maintaining ties or social connections can be difficult
Depression and Anxiety: Are They Related?
It’s vital to remember that depression and anxiety are complex disorders that affect people differently. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all guide that can be applied to every circumstance.
It is critical to respect the person’s boundaries and not impose anything on them. Above all, you should always encourage them to consult with a specialist.
How to Help Someone with Depression and Anxiety?
Helping someone who is suffering from depression or anxiety might be difficult, but there are some things you can do to help them:
- Listen to them and acknowledge their sentiments: Let them know you care about them and that their feelings are valid.
- Encourage them to seek professional assistance: Depression is a serious disorder that frequently necessitates expert assistance. Encourage them to seek the services of a therapist or psychiatrist.
- Assist them in developing realistic goals: Depressed people frequently struggle with setting and achieving goals. Help them make small, attainable goals and offer to assist them in achieving those goals.
- Be patient with them: Depression is a chronic illness that takes time to recover from. Be kind and gentle with your loved one while they fight through their despair.
- Encourage them to keep healthy habits: Make them not give up on healthy living with gentle advice and reminders. Do not be pushy!
- Encouragement goes a long way: Motivate them to spend time with friends and family to help them create a support system.
- Educate yourself: Learn about depression and how to help someone who is suffering from it.
- Remind them that things will improve: Remind them that depression is a treatable disorder that will improve with time and professional assistance.
How to Help Someone with Depression who doesn’t want Help?
Helping someone who refuses to seek help for depression can be difficult, but there are measures you can take to encourage them.
- Be forgiving and nonjudgmental: People suffering from depression may lack the energy or desire to get help, and pressuring them may make them feel even worse.
- Actively listen and demonstrate empathy: Tell them you’re there for them and that you understand how they feel.
- Encourage them to seek professional assistance: Offer to assist them in locating a therapist or a support group.
- Assist them in setting small, attainable goals: Encourage them to participate in things that they enjoy, even if it is only for a few minutes per day.
- Learn everything you can about depression: Understanding the disease will allow you to better support the individual.
- Take care of yourself as well: Supporting someone suffering from depression can be emotionally draining, so it’s critical to look after yourself as well.
It’s crucial to remember that the decision to seek help is ultimately up to the person suffering from depression. You can only be a helpful and understanding presence in their life.
Depression and Anger: Are They Related?
Depression and anger are inextricably linked because they both spring from feelings of hopelessness, powerlessness, and loss of control.
Anger, irritation, and frustration are all symptoms of depression. People suffering from depression may become enraged at themselves for being powerless to improve their circumstances, or they may lash out at others. Physical symptoms such as muscle tightness, weariness, and difficulty concentrating may also occur.
Anger can be a sign of despair. People suffering from depression may be furious at the world for what they perceive to be unfair treatment, or they may be angry at themselves for perceived failings or weaknesses.
Some people with depression may also experience explosive outbursts of anger, known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED), which can be very disruptive to their lives and relationships.
How to Help Someone with Depression and Anger?
Therapy, drugs, and lifestyle modifications are commonly used to treat depression and rage. Therapy can assist people in understanding the underlying causes of their anger and despair, developing coping mechanisms, and improving communication skills.
Antidepressants, for example, can help manage depression symptoms and minimize emotions of rage. Regular exercise, a nutritious diet, and decent sleep habits can also assist boost mood and lessen feelings of rage.
If you are suffering signs of sadness and rage, you must seek professional help. A therapist or psychiatrist can assist you in gaining an understanding of your symptoms and developing an appropriate treatment plan.
If someone you know is expressing suicidal thoughts or behaviors, it is important to take them seriously and offer help and support.
Here are some steps you can take to help someone who is suicidal:
How to Help Someone Who is Suicidal?
Severe depression can build up suicidal thoughts among patients. It can be challenging to help such people, but here are some things you can do:
- Listen actively and be empathetic. Show them that you care and that you’ll always be there.
- Encourage them to seek professional assistance. Offer to assist them in locating a therapist or a crisis hotline, and accompany them to their first session if possible.
- Remove any methods of self-harm, such as weapons or drugs, from their environment.
- Assist them in developing a safety plan. This should include a list of persons they may contact for help as well as a plan for staying safe in a crisis.
- Check-in on them regularly. Tell them you care about their well-being and that you are there for them.
It is critical to remember that suicide is avoidable and that assistance is available. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room if you or someone you know is in urgent danger.
If you are unable to provide the necessary assistance, seeking professional assistance is the best approach to assure their safety and well-being.
How to Help Someone with Depression and Suicidal Thoughts Over Text?
It can be difficult to assist someone who is suicidal owing to severe and continuous depression. It is especially difficult to determine someone’s emotional condition while communicating via text.
You can only encourage them to seek expert assistance. Offer to assist them in locating a therapist or a crisis hotline and provide contact information. You can also try to provide them with depression and suicide prevention resources and information.
It’s also crucial to tell them that texting is not a substitute for professional help. Texting should only be used to offer support and encouragement, not to diagnose or treat their problem.
Foods that can Alleviate the Symptoms of Depression
You may suggest your friend take certain foods that help deal with the symptoms of depression. There is some evidence that some foods may help ease depressive symptoms.
Including the following foods in your diet may help enhance your mood and overall well-being:
Fish: Fish strong in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna, and sardines, have been proven to have anti-inflammatory qualities and may help relieve symptoms of depression.
Berries: Berries high in antioxidants, such as blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries, may help reduce inflammation in the brain, which can contribute to depression.
Leafy greens, such as spinach, kale, and broccoli, are high in folate, a nutrient related to better mood and cognitive performance.
Nuts and seeds: Almonds, walnuts, and flaxseed are abundant in omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients that may help alleviate depressive symptoms.
Fermented foods, such as yogurt, kefir, and sauerkraut, include probiotics, which may aid in intestinal health and overall mental well-being.
Whole grains, such as quinoa, brown rice, and whole wheat bread, are high in complex carbs, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and enhance mood.
It’s crucial to remember that a well-balanced diet is essential for overall well-being and that food cannot treat depression.
It is always vital to seek professional assistance and to utilize food as a supplement to a comprehensive treatment plan that may include therapy, medication, and other interventions.
How to Get Professional Help for Someone with Depression?
There are certain helplines and portals available that can be connected if you need professional help for someone suffering from depression.
In the United States:
In the United Kingdom:
These helplines are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and offer anonymous assistance, advice, and information. They are manned by trained professionals who can assist you with any concerns you may have and direct you to additional resources if necessary.
If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression or suicidal thoughts, you must seek professional help.
It’s vital to remember that depression is a complex disorder that affects people differently. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach that can be applied to every circumstance.
It is critical to respect the person’s limits and not impose anything on them. Above all, you should always advise them to consult with a specialist.
A person suffering from depression should seek professional counseling from a therapist or a psychiatrist. They can provide an accurate diagnosis and prescribe a treatment plan that may involve counseling, medication, or a mix of the two.
Furthermore, depressed individuals must take care of themselves by obtaining regular exercise, eating a good diet, and getting adequate sleep. It’s also crucial to seek emotional support from loved ones, friends, and support groups, as well as to engage in activities that offer them pleasure and satisfaction.
It’s important to remember that depression is a treatable disorder and that with the correct care and support, you can recover and live a full life.