How to Spot Depression in a Friend or Family Member

Woman suffering from anxiety

Depression can affect anyone, regardless of age, sex, and background. Every year, millions of Americans suffer from depression and thousands of them commit suicide when the illness consumes them. If you live in pro-mental health places such as Westport, CBT or cognitive behavioral therapy can treat your loved one’s depression, among other mental illnesses.

However, the first step is getting their depression diagnosed. You need to know the common signs and symptoms of depression that your loved one may or may not exhibit. Remember that some of these symptoms may be part of normal life, but if a person has dealt with these issues for a long time and in a stronger intensity, they may have undiagnosed depression.

Physical signs

Signs of depression are present physically and can manifest either for a long time or for a short time only. These signs include:

  • Lethargy or lack of energy
  • Feeling tired the majority of the time
  • Restlessness and agitation
  • Difficulty in sleeping or oversleeping
  • Weight loss or weight gain
  • Use of alcohol, cigarettes, or drugs
  • Lack of libido
  • Muscle pains
  • Self-harming
  • Changes in appetite

Behavioral signs

People with undiagnosed depression can also show changes in behavior, such as:

  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Poor decision-making
  • Trouble thinking clearly
  • Loss of interest
  • Anger and agitation
  • Reckless behavior
  • Detachment from loved ones
  • Impatience

Emotional signs

Perhaps the most difficult signs to spot in a depressed individual are the emotional changes they experience. In depression, a person may exhibit:

  • Feelings of helplessness
  • A bleak outlook in life
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Feelings of self-loathing
  • Crying a lot
  • Feeling sad all the time
  • Low self-confidence
  • Low self-esteem
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Feelings of shame

Risk of suicide

Individuals with depression are more at risk for suicide. Feelings of hopelessness and sadness can make people long for an escape, often through death, if not through prohibited substances or alcohol. If you suspect that a loved one is living with depression, make sure you watch out for the warning signs of suicide:

  • Talking about feeling hopeless and being trapped
  • Expressing the desire to kill or harm themselves
  • Being preoccupied with death or dying
  • Saying that everyone is better off without them
  • Acting recklessly or putting themselves in danger
  • Suddenly acting happy
  • Saying goodbye to people
  • Giving away their prized possessions
  • Tying up loose ends
  • Looking for a means to kill themselves
  • Having extreme mood swings
  • Withdrawing and isolating themselves

Treatment

Support group

Don’t let your loved one’s depression get to the point of suicide. To help them seek treatment for their mental health, sit down with them and talk openly about wanting to help them. More importantly, listen to what they have to say and reassure them that you want to help.

The treatment of depression consists of:

  • Professional help through therapy
  • Medication that can help relieve symptoms
  • A support system comprised of loved ones they can trust
  • Regular exercise
  • A healthy diet
  • New hobbies or interests
  • Constant love and support

Up to 17.3 million American adults have experienced a major depressive episode, but only a fraction of that number seeks treatment. If you think that your loved one might be suffering from depression, help them get the right treatment as soon as possible.

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