Home » How to Talk About Depression with Family and Friends

Due to the very nature of the subject, depression is often a challenging discussion topic. People are sometimes afraid that they will say the wrong thing or misinterpret their words. The point of having the conversation is to have an open and honest talk about depression. The last thing that is desired is for the conversation to be seen as too aggressive or insensitive.

The Fear and Taboo of Depression:

Misunderstanding about mood disorders can make someone experiencing depression feel worse about themselves. These misunderstandings are remedied through education, versus staying silent and refusing to learn more about the condition.

It is better to have a sincere conversation about depression, rather than simply ignore it and hope the condition cures itself and goes away. This topic, and its relation to suicide, is too important to ignore. The fear and perceived shame in talking about these topics are misplaced. The topic of depression is no longer considered a taboo subject.

Talking about depression will not make others catch the disorder or worsen the symptoms of depression. People need to realize that depression is a real medical issue, and not a personality flaw or sign of weakness. These misconceptions encourage fear and anxiety in people who are experiencing depression, but do not know where to turn or how to deal with their depressive thoughts.

Open conversations about depression will not promote or make the condition worse. It is actually the opposite. Having a supported and thoughtful talk about these feelings can provide great comfort for individuals who are struggling with depressions. Openly discussing these thoughts can help a person feel that they are accepted and not alone. With this mindset, individuals can now seek treatment for their depression and not feel judged or ashamed.

Symptoms of depression:

For a more complete list of depression symptoms, please refer to our article on the signs of major depression. In short, for many people with severe depression, their symptoms are severe enough to create noticeable problems in their day-to-day activities. This includes everything from work and school to social activities and relationships with others.

Some people with depression are troubled by general feelings of misery or sadness, yet are not sure as to the origin of these feelings. In children and teenagers, symptoms of depression include displays of irritability versus feelings of sadness.

Ask Questions and Listen:

People who struggle with depression sometimes have an inner voice that urges them to feel worse about themselves. They may feel thoughts of self-loathing, pessimism, and negativity. Depression may manifest itself mildly, such as in the form of a consistent yet mild low mood, or in the form of severe suicidal ideation, self-harm, and even attempted suicide.

Sometimes, people who are facing thoughts of depression do their best to hide these negative thoughts. Some people fear a backlash of being diagnosed with a mental illness. Others do want the label of depression hanging over them. Because of people’s ability to hide some behaviors, it is sometimes difficult to identify depression symptoms in people. Especially if the person is good at acting happy, despite a constant barrage of self-deprecation thoughts.

This is why it is important that people understand that they are not being judged or criticized. It is best to ask, but do not preach. Listen, but do not judge.

A Behavioral Health Professional is Needed.

People struggling with depression should be encouraged to seek treatment. Depression treatment from an experienced psychiatrist does work, but it takes time. Treatment approaches for depression usually rely on psychiatrists identifying what therapy was the most successful.

Antidepressants are available in different brands and categories, each either functioning differently or utilizing a different chemical composition to achieve the same effect. Medication that might work for some individuals, may not work for others. Other medications can produce side effects that limit the functionality of the medication. A psychiatrist will usually prescribe different medications in an effort to identify the right kind of treatment, one with no lasting side effects and the right kind of efficacy.

Treatment-resistant depression can be treated through newer therapies like transcranial magnetic stimulation. It may take some time to find the right treatment path, but once the right treatment is found, a person’s quality of life will improve. When individuals understand more about depression, they have a better chance of successfully treating the condition. People should have a frank discussion with loved ones about this condition. They should contact a healthcare provider who specializes in depression treatment.

Steps Loved Ones Can Take to Help:

There are actually several practical steps a person can take in order to help a loved one who is experiencing major depression. Here are five steps a person can do to help a loved one who is experiencing depression:

  • Make sure that the person is taking his or her medication. Offer to drive them to doctors’ or therapist appointments or help fill medication prescriptions.
  • Provide feedback. Someone with major depression is probably in therapy or on medication (or both). By keeping an eye out for certain behaviors, you’ll help the person report back to his doctor. This is particularly helpful if the loved one has anxiety or is not sure if the medication is working.
  • Provide some financial help. Therapy and medications are expensive. Insurance may not cover all medical expenses.
  • Be willing to talk. When people are feeling anxious or sad, it is comforting to know that they are not alone.
  • Educate yourself. There are numerous websites, books and articles that explore the topic of depression.

About Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center:

The successful treatment of depression is one of the specialties at Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center. Their psychiatry practice is focused on providing experienced and professional treatment options for the treatment of depression.

They understand that they are here to serve the needs and concerns of their patients. By forming a trusting partnership with their patients, Emerald Psychiatry generates a comprehensive treatment plan that is customized to an individual’s needs.

For more information, contact Emerald Psychiatry & TMS Center.

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Contributor:  ABCS RCM