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How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Depression

People learning how to talk about depression

It can be tough to figure out how to talk about depression if you think a friend or family member might be struggling with a depressive disorder. You might worry about saying the wrong thing or be unsure of how to bring up the topic. But talking about depression is essential. Depression is a severe medical condition that licensed and trained mental health professionals can effectively treat.

But where can you learn how to talk to a friend about depression? How can you approach a family member about considering depression treatment, especially if you’re not close? It may be challenging to do it, but you need to start the conversation as soon as possible. Untreated depression can lead to unwanted and life-threatening consequences, including self-harm and suicide. Alleviant Health Centers of Jonesboro offers a depression treatment program and the resources and support you need to start the conversation about depression. Call 870.657.0337 to speak with a compassionate mental health professional today.

What You Should Know About Depression

Depression is more than just feeling sad or down for a few days. It’s an actual medical condition that causes persistent sadness and loss of interest in activities once enjoyed. Depression can also cause physical symptoms like fatigue, trouble sleeping, and aches and pains. People struggling with depression may also have trouble concentrating, making decisions, or remembering things.

Clinical depression differs from the occasional bout of sadness or “the blues” that everyone experiences from time to time. Clinical or major depression is a severe mental health disorder that can interfere with every aspect of life, including work, school, and personal relationships. Apart from major depression, other types of depressive disorders include the following:

  • Persistent depressive disorder—also called dysthymia
  • Postpartum depression
  • Seasonal affective disorder (SAD)

Although depressive episodes are only part of bipolar disorder, it is also considered a depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by extreme mood swings, from highs or mania to lows or depression.

How to Talk to a Friend About Depression

If you’re worried that a friend or family member might be depressed, the best thing you can do is talk to them about it. You can make the situation less awkward by including some of their favorites—like bringing them to their preferred coffee shop or giving them their comfort foods—but there is no natural way to cushion the discomfort of getting straight to the point.

You can start by saying something like, “I’ve noticed that you seem really down lately. I’m here for you if you want to talk.” Let your friend or family member know that you’re concerned and offer your support. If they don’t want to talk about it, that’s okay. Let them know you’re there for them if they need to talk.

What to Expect from Depression Treatment

Depression treatment usually involves a combination of the following:

  • Medication – Antidepressants can help to relieve the symptoms of depression.
  • Lifestyle changes – Depression can sometimes be caused or exacerbated by poor lifestyle choices, such as not getting enough sleep, not eating a balanced diet, or not getting enough exercise. Making positive changes in these areas can help to improve the symptoms of depression.
  • Peer support groups – Connecting with others dealing with depression can be helpful.
  • Self-care practices – Stress-relief techniques, such as yoga and meditation, can help to reduce the symptoms of depression.
  • Talk therapy – Also called psychotherapy or counseling, this is a chance to get around to talking about depression and related feelings and thoughts with a trained mental health professional.

In particular, prescribed medication can help reduce symptoms of depression and stabilize moods. Psychotherapy can provide tools and techniques for managing depression and improving coping skills. Most people with depression will need at least medication and talk therapy to feel better.

Learn More About Depression Treatment at Alleviant Health Centers of Jonesboro

Alleviant Health Centers offers comprehensive mental health treatment programs and services in various locations in Arkansas. If someone you know needs depression treatment, contact Alleviant Health Centers of Jonesboro today at 870.657.0337 to learn how to talk about depression with your friend or family member and get them the help they need.