Depression: Supporting Someone Who Is Depressed
What is an Actionset?
If someone you care about has been diagnosed with depression, you may feel helpless. Maybe you're watching a once-vibrant person slide into inactivity or seeing a good friend lose interest in activities that he or she used to enjoy. The change in your loved one's or friend's behavior may be so great that you feel you no longer know him or her.
You probably want to help in some way. This topic will give you the tools to do so.
Return to topic:
Depression is a disease. It's caused by changes in the chemicals in the brain. Depression isn't a character flaw, and it doesn't mean that the person is bad or weak. It doesn't mean that he or she is going crazy.
Depression causes a person to feel sad and hopeless much of the time. It's different from normal feelings of sadness, grief, or low energy. The person may lose interest in daily activities and may feel sad and grouchy for a long time.
Many people don't get help because they are embarrassed or think that they'll get over depression on their own. But most people need treatment to get better.
Treatment depends on how severe the depression is and includes medicine, counseling, self-care, or a combination of these. Sometimes a person has to try several types of treatment before finding one that works. Most people feel better in 1 to 3 weeks, but it can take as many as 6 to 8 weeks for treatment to work as well as it can.
Depression is common. Men and women of all ages, ethnic groups, and economic groups can have it. It often runs in families. But it also can happen to someone who doesn't have a family history of depression. A person can have depression one time or many times.
Test Your Knowledge
Depression is a disease, just like asthma is a disease.
If you've never been depressed, it's hard to understand just how hopeless and discouraged depression can make you feel. Depression can upset your life as much as other major illnesses, and it can make it hard to take care of family, work, and social duties.
Supporting someone who has depression is important because it can:
Test Your Knowledge
Helping someone with depression is important because:
It may help the person stay in treatment.
It makes you feel good about yourself.
Here are some things you can do to help:
The more you know about depression, the better you can understand what the person is going through.
Help with professional treatment
If you have permission, you can:
A person who has depression may feel alone in the world. Your support can help.
Take care of yourself
Spending a lot of time with someone who has depression may be hard on you too. These caregiver tips can help:
For more information, see the topic Caregiver Tips.
Test Your Knowledge
A way to help someone who has depression is:
Tell the person to face up to things and get back to normal.
Listen and give support, but also point out that not everything is bad.
Help out around the house. Someone who is depressed may not have energy, so running errands or doing some housework can help the person.
You need to do everything possible and put your life on hold to help a person with depression.
Now that you have read this information, you are better prepared to help someone who has depression.
Some medicines for depression have side effects that cause people to stop taking them. For help in managing any side effects of these medicines, see:
If you would like more information on depression, the following resource is available:
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies