The random moments of sadness, those Monday blues, the cloudy night that made us sulk were undoubtedly depressing. But they were momentary gloominess that passed by. Depression, however, is not a fleeting feeling. It is a serious mental disorder, which can affect the quality of life of both the patient and those associated with him or her. Affecting millions of people across the world, depression involves persistent feelings of sadness, accompanied by a low mood, loss of interest in activities, hopelessness, which can significantly impair one’s daily life.Depression is a common problem but one needs to understand it well to overcome it. Only people suffering from the condition can understand the helplessness and suffocation they experience. The situation for them is equivalent to being lost in a never-ending dark tunnel. Hence, they feel dejected and disheartened.
Symptoms of depression-
Understanding the basic characteristics of depression helps in easy identification of the problem. Being aware of the symptoms can help in recognizing the existence of the condition in your loved ones. However, it is advisable to seek medical help for accurate diagnosis of the condition. Below are few symptoms of depression that can help you become a savior of your loved ones:
- Constant feelings of anxiety, nervousness and worry.
- Loss of motivation, interest in activities and self-confidence and belief.
- Persistent feeling of unhappiness, worthlessness and hopelessness.
- Isolation and withdrawal from surroundings like friends and family.
- Emotional instability and sudden changes in mood and behavior.
- Experiencing random but chronic pains and aches.
- Development of substance abuse disorder.
- Provocative or suicidal thoughts.
- Drastic changes in appetite.
Saying no is not an answer-
Unfortunately, majority of the people suffering from depression do not seek help, primarily due to the attached stigma. The discrimination forces them to be in constant denial of their condition and not accept the help offered by friends and family members. Consequently, they are unable to come out of their situation and eventually it worsens.
How your support can make a difference –
In such a scenario, it becomes important for family members and friends to make sure the patient receives proper treatment at the earliest. An untreated condition can trigger suicidal tendencies and other complications. However, it is not easy to offer help to them as they can become aggressive and unapproachable. To tackle this, one can follow some tips, such as:
- Your presence can make a difference –
Yes, you need to be patient and be around as much as possible. Your loved one is suffering from a silent, yet very serious disease. Your non-judgmental support can be a source of strength. He or she may not be vocal about it but your constant presence can make a world of difference. When with him/her, try to be normal, however, at the same time make an effort to reach to the core of the problem. Refrain from being pushy and do not force yourself on the patient at any point, as it can have severe repercussions.
- Complete your research –
It is not easy to diagnose depression because of its different manifestations. However, some symptoms are typical of the condition. One should go through the information available on the internet. While researching, you will come across phrases like “Get over it” or “It’s just a phase” that should be best avoided while dealing with a depressed person. Instead, phrases like “I’m here if you want to talk to me” or “You are not alone” can give them the courage to come out with their problem and seek help. Hence, it is advisable to do your research well so that you can understand the unsaid need of your friend, which will further help him/her cope with the situation and may be admit it. However, do not try to self-diagnose or self-medicate your friend as it can have negative results.
- Keep them busy –
Staying busy is no medical remedy for depression but it prevents negative or suicidal thoughts. Therefore, if you suspect your loved one to be suffering from depression, encourage and motivate them to keep themselves busy by indulging in activities like cleaning the place (wardrobe, bookshelf, etc.), cooking food, getting the groceries or medicine by themselves. Such activities will help them stay away from negative thoughts and prevent the condition from worsening.
- Motivate them to seek help –
No matter how much you help your friends he/she needs to undergo proper medical treatment for complete recovery. Therefore, you should always try to convince him/her to seek medical help. While doing so, be cautious about becoming forceful, as this may further make him or her more rigid and unwelcoming. You may start with suggesting him/her to visit a general physician for usual check-up and then can later visit a therapist. A certified therapist is the best person to handle such cases under whom your friend will be able to recover completely.
Various factors, ranging from stress, worry, trauma to severe loss can lead to depression. Besides, genes can also play an important role in the development of the condition. Though depression is a mental health disorder that needs proper medical treatment, maintaining a healthy lifestyle, taking nutritious diet, indulging in physical activity and socializing can go a long way in keeping depression at bay.
Depression is a silent killer. According to studies, over 90 percent people who commit suicide suffer from clinical depression. Besides, depression can also lead to other mental problems. Therefore, it should be treated at the earliest. Looking at its prevalence, it is important for all to be informed about the symptoms and characteristics of the condition. However, one should avoid self-medication and helping the patient with home remedies or suggestions available over the internet. A patient of depression needs proper medical intervention for complete recovery. Nevertheless, each of us can help the patient by simply being there and encouraging him or her to share the symptoms and seek medical help.