10 November 2017

How to Help a Friend with Depression

Depression is something that is surprisingly common. An estimated one in four adults will experience it at some point in their lives, to a level where it would be diagnosed should they see a doctor. For some, it is something temporary that passes with time or comes and goes, whereas for others it is a more permanent state and if left untreated can be extremely debilitating.

If you have a friend who has reached out to you and said they are having issues with depression, or you notice signs like them canceling on social engagements, doing less of the things that usually interest them, and taking less care of their home and appearance, then you're going to want to help them. Here are some ways that you can help.

Offer Your Support

The first thing you can do is to offer your support in helping them get better. You don't have to be a doctor or a psychiatrist to be able to offer some practical help, like helping them make sure they get to therapy appointments when they don't feel motivated, or helping them clean and sort out their bills (things depressed people often find very difficult but which actually then exacerbates their problems). Being around for them to talk to is important too, and this is something you can do even if you don't live nearby.

Do Your Research

While simply being there can help, unless it's just a brief bout of depression most people will need some form of treatment. There are lots of treatments that work on depression, but because our brains are complicated, everyone is different. For some people, herbal remedies like St John's Wort can make a difference. Others can benefit a lot from non-medical treatments like transcranial magnetic stimulation, which is offered by Smart Brain and Health, a TMS Los Angeles company. For some, even diet and lifestyle changes or talking therapies like CBT and counseling can be all it takes. Others, however, get the best results from medication. Doing your research into how depression is treated can help you talk to them about their options knowledgeably, and you may be able to suggest something that will help solve the problem.

Work Towards Solutions

Some people think that all they need to do to help a person with depression who they care about is simply be kind to them. However, while this is better than blaming them or neglecting them because they can be hard work, what is best is to work with them to help them get better. There are plenty of treatments to consider and so there is no reason to simply 'ride out' a bout of depression. You may also be able to find an underlying cause to their current situation that you can offer practical help with. For instance, if they are having money problems, relationship issues, or problems in their job, you could help them figure these problems out.

Many people find a way to improve and manage depression, but it is almost always with help from their friends and an experienced doctor.

Disclosure:  This is a contributed post.


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