Helping friends and family cope with depression

All of us feel sad, moody or “blue” from time to time. These feelings are a normal part of life. Depression, however, is different.

Depression is a treatable medical condition that involves chemical imbalances in the brain and affects people of all genders, races, ages and income levels.

Depression is not a sign of personal weakness, nor can a person just "snap out of it." It is hard to recognize depression if you are the one suffering.

If you know the signs and symptoms of depression you can lend a hand in getting your family member or friend help.

Recognizing the signs of depression

Depression can be very different for each person, but some common signs include:

  • Loss of energy or interest in normal daily activities
  • Difficulty experiencing enjoyment or happiness
  • Feelings of sadness, isolation or crying spells
  • Experiencing fatigue, insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Significant weight loss or gain
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making simple decisions
  • Thoughts of death

If you suspect that someone you care for is depressed, one of the best steps you can take is to gently urge your loved one to see a doctor. Point out that depression is a medical condition that doctors can effectively treat. You may also offer to go to their first appointment with them for support.

A call can help

A qualified, licensed professional therapist can be very helpful for anyone struggling with stress, anxiety and depression. Short-term, problem-focused therapy may provide you and your family with additional support during difficult times. Contact your doctor today.