Helping someone who has depression can be a challenge. If your loved one is facing clinical depression, it is normal to feel lost and uncertain about how to support them. However, your support can make a huge difference in them getting the help they need.
Supporting your loved one is a kind and wonderful thing to do. However, you must learn to support your loved one without becoming a caregiver. Which means helping them to get the help they need. This begins with understanding clinical depression and encouraging them to get treatment.
Depression, which is also called clinical depression or major depressive disorder (MDD), is a very serious mood disorder. If your loved one is experiencing depression, their symptoms will affect how they feel, think, and function regularly.
Diagnosis for clinical depression means that symptoms have been present for at least two weeks. While the symptoms of depression will vary, common symptoms include:
- Continuous sad or empty mood
- Irritability or frustration
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, or shame
- Fatigue or decreased energy
- Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities
- Unfocused and struggle to make decisions
- Difficulty sleeping
- Changes in weight and appetite
- Thoughts about death, suicide, or suicide planning
- Physical aches and pains
- Digestive problems
- Suicide attempts
The severity of these symptoms will vary. However, if your loved one is facing clinical depression, these symptoms can be severe enough that they interfere with their daily life. It is important to note that your loved one may experience certain symptoms more than others. For example, they might exhibit symptoms of crankiness more than sadness which is commonly not associated with clinical depression even though it is a symptom.
Encouraging Treatment for Clinical Depression
If your loved one is facing depression, they may not realize it. They may think the way they feel is normal or just how they are. Additionally, many people feel shame about depression and other mental health conditions. This often makes it more difficult to acknowledge and can inhibit your loved one from seeking help.
Speaking with your loved one is the first step. If you believe they are experiencing clinical depression and not getting the help they need, having a discussion is key. It can help if you explain that depression is a mental health disorder, not a flaw in who they are. Sharing your experience with them and why you are bringing it up is also important for them to see themselves from a different perspective.
Helping your loved one acknowledge their symptoms is a great way to start. However, if they are facing depression, getting help can be very daunting. Encouraging them to seek help and offering to support them through the process can make a huge difference. This might look like helping them find a clinician or preparing information and questions they might have at their first appointment.
Remember, encouraging treatment is very different from forcing treatment. It is possible that your loved one is not willing to acknowledge their symptoms or get help. If they are at risk of suicide, contacting their doctor or a mental health professional is important. However, if they are not at risk of suicide, you may have to wait until they are ready for help.
Addiction Co-Occurring With Clinical Depression
Laguna Shores Recovery Center understands that depression and addiction commonly occur together. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) explains that mental health disorders put individuals at a higher risk of substance abuse and addiction. This is because drugs and alcohol are often used to minimize symptoms of a mental health disorder. When used long-term, this can turn into an addiction.
If your loved one is coping with clinical depression and addiction, you can also provide support. Helping them to see their behavior more clearly can help them to seek and accept treatment. At a treatment facility, they can receive assistance with both depression and addiction.
Providing Continued Support
Professionals at Laguna Shores Recovery Center understand that watching a loved one struggle is painful. Remember that your loved one’s mental health struggles are not anyone’s fault. It is normal to feel like you want to help them and make a difference. Helping your loved one acknowledge and seek support for depression and addiction is wonderful and looks different for each person and situation.
You can support them by encouraging them to find and stay in treatment, creating an environment of acceptance, or listening. By providing them with a safe space, they are more likely to come to you for support, where you can provide care and understanding without solving their problems for them.
Caring for Your Needs
When you want to help a loved one, it can turn into a full-time job. However, to be able to support them, you need to first care for yourself. Finding time to exercise, eat well, and de-stress are all very important for your mental and physical health. If this is something you struggle with, speaking with a mental health care professional about how to find this balance is a great first step.
Clinical depression is a serious mood disorder that can cause someone to be unable to function normally. If your loved one is coping with depression, there are many ways for you to support them. Initially, helping them to notice their symptoms and find care will make a huge difference in their life. At Laguna Shores Recovery Center, we understand that addiction and depression commonly occur together. We offer a dual diagnosis program that helps individuals heal from mental health disorders and addiction. If your loved one is facing depression, addiction, or both, we can help. Call us today at (866) 774-1532 to speak with a staff member and learn more about our programs.