How to help someone with depression Think of depression as your mood’s weather prediction. On Monday, there is a 100 percent probability of clouds and showers. Tuesday as well. Wednesday appears to be no better. Actually, the forecast for the next two weeks is only for storms. You seem to be stuck in this awful weather pattern with no end in sight.
Despite the fact that you may feel alone, you are not alone. One of the most prevalent mental health diseases, depression—or major depressive disorder (MDD), the name for clinical depression—affects an estimated 350 million individuals across all age groups.
And let’s just get this out there: sadness isn’t the same thing as depression. While occasionally feeling down or uninspired is common, depression is more pervasive. It also has a true biological foundation. It’s a severe mood condition that could have a bad effect on your health, your way of life, and the people closest to you.
What is Depression?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) defines clinical depression as “a period of at least two weeks when a person experienced a depressed mood or loss of interest or pleasure in daily activities and had a majority of specified symptoms, such as problems with sleep, energy, concentration, eating, or self-worth.”
Up to two-thirds of folks who experience depression actually, try to put up with it; they don’t ask for or receive the support they need to cope, and those who do frequently wait months before discussing it with their doctor. If untreated, depression can last for years and result in physical symptoms or even suicidal thoughts. Even if an episode ends on its own, it might happen again. Here, we will discuss How to help someone with depression.
Thankfully, the stigma associated with mental health issues like depression is still decreasing. And with depression screening now being offered in primary care, it is hoped that more people will have access to the necessary care.
What are the causes of Depression?
Due to the interaction of genetic, biochemical, environmental, and psychological elements, there is no one single explanation for the onset of depression. These consist of:
The chemistry or physical makeup of the brain.
Brain scans of certain depressed individuals reveal a shrunken hippocampus, which is involved in long-term memory. According to research, chronic stress can hinder the development of nerve cells in this region of the brain. So, reduce stress this is one of the ways How to help someone with depression.
Unbalanced amounts of serotonin are present.
Here’s another brain activity that may be related to depression: the serotonin receptors behave differently than they would in a person who is not depressed. Because of this, several therapeutic medications utilize serotonin.
Depression in the family’s past.
Those who have a parent or sibling with MDD are two to three times more likely to experience depression than the general population (20 to 30% likelihood vs. 10% chance).
Different genetic codes exist.
You inherit one short or one long gene from each parent when you are born. Alleles are what these are. It turns out that having one or more short ones is associated with a greater propensity to become depressed when anything negative occurs.
Various problems or associated mental health issues in the past.
Learning difficulties, substance use disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder are frequently linked to or can worsen depression. Anxiety is a major issue: An anxiety condition coexists with depression in up to 50% of cases.
important or stressful life situations.
Depression can be brought on by a variety of circumstances, including abuse, money troubles, the loss of a loved one, and job loss. However, even happy occasions like a significant move, marriage, graduation, or retirement might leave you feeling down. These occurrences change your routine, but they might also make you feel as though the success or joyous occasion wasn’t earned.
Hormone alterations Periods of depression can be brought on by menstrual cycles, pregnancy, and childbirth.
Chronic pain and headaches are two examples of physical disorders that may cause or contribute to depression.
Depression symptoms can also be brought on by several drugs, including blood pressure and sleeping pills.
What Are the Different Types of Depression?
The most common kind of depression is major depression, sometimes referred to as unipolar depression and diagnosed as MDD. People who have significant depression endure recurrent episodes throughout their lives and have depressive symptoms for the majority of the day, almost every day, for at least two weeks at a time. You can further categorize depression into a number of distinct subcategories under MDD:
Seasonal affective Disorder (SAD) is a condition that develops during specific times of the year, typically in the winter, as a result of less natural sunlight.
The main distinguishing feature of atypical depression is mood reactivity. When something wonderful occurs, those who experience this type of depression see an improvement in their mood.
Previously known as manic depression, bipolar disorder entails alternating between episodes of great euphoria and melancholy.
When a person experiences depression episodes that are so severe that they begin to have erroneous fixed beliefs (delusions) or hear or see things that other people cannot hear or see, this condition is known as psychotic depression (hallucinations).
After giving delivery, postpartum depression happens. Mothers may experience a sense of separation from their newborn or worry that they might harm the infant.
What Are the Treatments for Depression?
Using medicine to treat your depression is not shameful. For physical problems, people frequently take medication; the same is true for mental illnesses.
Neurotransmitters in the brain are impacted by antidepressants in order to work. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), and norepinephrine-dopamine reuptake inhibitors serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), are common forms of antidepressants (NDRIs).
You may find a list and descriptions of these drugs here. To find out which prescription is best for you, go to your doctor. If you’re concerned about potential side effects, keep in mind that any medicine can be reduced or stopped. This is one of the ways How to help someone with depression.
One significant advancement being studied in psychopharmacological research for treatment-resistant depression is ketamine, an anesthetic substance used in medicine. As a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and a psychologist, Jessica Stern, Ph.D., emphasizes,
“It’s important to understand that ketamine is beneficial for only a very specific subset of the population and is only to be used after several other full courses of therapies—both psychotherapy and numerous other medications—have been extensively tried.” Ketamine would therefore not typically be used as a first or second line of treatment.
Nowadays, who doesn’t visit a therapist? It’s just as common a topic of conversation as the weather. When combined with medicine, psychotherapy (also known as talk therapy) can be incredibly helpful in treating, managing, and shortening the duration of a depressive episode.
According to Dr. Stern, evidence-based therapies for depression include Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), and Dialectical Behavior Therapy. These psychotherapies are active skill-based treatments that aid in the development and maintenance of coping mechanisms for challenging emotions and thoughts.
Many of these therapies, like CBT, which aims to alter your cognitive processes, as well as light therapy for seasonal affective disorder, can be provided by trained professionals like psychiatrists and psychologists. This is one of the ways How to help someone with depression.
One objective of CBT is behavioral activation, a successful therapy and technique in which a therapist can assist you in making time for more enjoyable things that provide your life purpose, meaning, or pleasure. For those who are seeing a therapist for reasons other than MDD, behavioral activation may possibly potentially lessen the chance of depression, according to Dr. Stern.
How does it Help
It’s possible that therapy is now more accessible than ever. Due to the pandemic, more than 75 percent of clinicians claim to now offer their services remotely, mainly over the phone or by video on a specific telehealth platform.
Thus, you have no justification for not scheduling an appointment. “Research has proven, before to COVID-19 and now increasingly with COVID-19, that telehealth-based psychotherapy is highly successful,” says Dr. Stern, whether you have MDD or just regular mental health issues. This is one of the ways How to help someone with depression.
It lowers barriers that would make it challenging to attend sessions in person while enabling psychotherapy to be delivered in a manner that is very comparable to in-person psychotherapy. In other words, your session can be conveniently held in your home without the need for childcare or travel.
Maintaining a good diet, routine exercise, a restful sleep schedule, and, yes, even attentive self-care activities. Moreover, one should go hand in hand with any treatment for depression. According to Dr. Stern, all of these are beneficial in easing or lessening the severity of symptoms.
Exercise improves your ability to manage stress, and the endorphins released during exercise could improve your mood. More studies have revealed that “physical activity and exercise can have considerable impacts on depression, especially in those with mild-to-moderate depression,” she continues.
“This could be stretching, aerobic exercises, or mindfulness-based exercise like yoga.” According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), exercising can also improve your quality of sleep, which can lead to a more supportive routine. This is one of the ways How to help someone with depression.
Another very powerful method for cleansing your mind and soothing your body is meditation. You might also attempt to start a notebook; some individuals discover that doing so helps them to let their ideas out rather than holding them inside. Discuss your struggles with close friends and relatives as well. A social support network is essential for preserving your mental health and well-being.
Recovery is a process, not a finish line. Even though bad days will still happen, you should be able to recover from extreme lows with well-targeted treatment. Even though there is no known medical treatment for mental illnesses like depression. It is absolutely possible to lead a happy and fulfilled life despite them.