How to help someone who might have depression.

How to help someone who might have depression.

Mental health illnesses are in a rise since the pandemic and depression tops the list. You must have seen it in news, read the statistics, act shocked and then got back to work. 

Certain things are difficult to internalize until you are afflicted with them. I don’t wish ill for you but depression is real and anyone might be on the brink of a mental breakdown and you won’t even know about it. Simply because they are great at hiding their feelings, they don’t want to trouble others or appear weak as depression is often looked upon as a sign of weakness.

It could be your mother or wife whose home since a year and is crushed under the household chores, tending to kids, or working from home. It could be your husband whose so disconnected with the outside world that he was so used to, that now he’s going bonkers and wouldn’t even show in front of the kids. Or it could be your parents who might now be delusional from staying indoors, without the sunshine vitamin to boost their moods and senescence working its way into depression. Read this post for them. Keep an eye out for these signs in your friends, loved ones and yourself. 

8 Signs that indicate a person might be depressed and you should check up on them.

I. Their actions and behaviours depict recklessness. 

2. They talk as if there is no hope for the future. 

3. They’re going through a tough time like break up, loss of job, divorce, illness or death of a loved one. 

4. They seem to have withdrawn socially. You find it difficult to connect with them. They fail to respond to your calls, messages, or if you are living with them then signs like avoiding a conversation, no eye contact,  diverting topics. 

5. Fluctuations in appetite either in the form of loss of appetite or eating a lot.

6. Feeling overwhelmed frequently and over little things

7. They seem to ask for alone time or prefer staying solitary for long hours. 

8. They avoid eye contact more than usual. 

Keep an eye on your loved ones and surround yourself with people will do the same for you.  if you are a parent of a teenager then this group is particularly at risk for mental health illnesses. Psychologist Tripti Vaid explained here, how to identify mental health illnesses in teens and when to seek help. Being a parent is a huge responsibility. Raising happy children who are emotionally stable and independent needs hard work right from their tender years. Psychologist SIddhika has shared some amazing excerpts in this episode.

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If you have a hunch that someone might be suffering from a mental illness then the first thing you shouldn’t do is try not to be a therapist and talk them out of it saying it’s just a bad mood and they will get over it and things will be ok or time is the best healer. The reason being, we are all built and wired differently. We process emotions differently. So expecting our reactions to be similar for a certain situation is only unfair and foolish.

Another important thing to note is a person might be suffering from clinical depression and on the outside, you wouldn’t even know. If you aren’t alert enough while conversing with your friend and you take it lightly, your friend might not get the right help from you. Next thing you know he’s taken a drastic step and all you are left with is regret. Wondering if only you had sensed something is wrong and take him to a doctor for seeing professional medical help. 

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Does talking to someone help in depression? 

let’s turn depression and mental health illness, into a living room conversation.

As a physician, I am happy that such topics have made a way into our houses thus reducing the stigma associated with it. But it also saddens me that people are looking for help in wrong places.

Depression occurs because of a reduction in the level of a neurotransmitter -SEROTONIN, which needs replacement by medications at times. Mere talking to a Patient of major depression will help only temporarily but it isn’t the cure and he will further delay getting help by visiting a psychiatrist and might take a drastic step.

It’s like saying “talk to a person with Dengue and his platelet counts will rise up”.

No, they won’t.

Depression needs treatment just like any other medical illness. Reduce the stigma around mental health but raise awareness with the right information.

Who to seek help from if you are suffering from Depression?

A psychologist is a person who will offer therapy. They do not offer medication but are professionals with the training to diagnose you. In case you’ve felt suicidal, then you need to see a psychiatrist. They are trained doctors who along with counselling are allowed to prescribe medications.

There are misconceptions and taboos attached to antidepressants and psychotic drugs, but if your body needs the chemically bought serotonin and you deny it, there will be repercussions. 

Never take antidepressants unless prescribed. You might face severe side effects of it. Worse, your ailment might not be treated too. Always get a diagnosis first and don’t consume someone else’s prescribed medication.

These drugs always need to be weaned. Just because you feel fine after taking them do not stop it abruptly. It just increases your chances of relapse. And lastly, medication and therapy work only if you have a supportive environment. You can’t have a bad lifestyle or be surrounded by toxic people and expect medications and therapy to work. 

This post is part of Blogchatter’s CauseAChatter campaign which is a year-long initiative which aims at making a difference with our writing better known as Blogging with a purpose.

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This Post Has 23 Comments

  1. Pratibha P

    You are completely right when you say that the drugs need to be weaned, in fact even though I have been off meds, there are still times when I need it as an SOS!

  2. Surbhi Prapanna

    Great post and you had covered all important pointers related to depression. I agree that there is no harm in taking professional help if someone have persistent symptoms long time. Taking good care of your mental health is something that work great in long way and help in reducing day to day stress and other common mental issues.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Yes absolutely and a supportive environment is the final pillar of a successful treatment to any mental illness. One that is non judgemental.

      1. Dr.Amrita Basu

        Mental health requires healthy habits and professional help if and when needed.Just like physical health, its immensely important to take care of our minds properly as best as possible. Interesting article

  3. simi sp

    Keeping mind stable is really important as mental health really counts it is a good to go read and you have covered all the points thank you for sharing this wonderful write up..

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Yes mental health is an essential part of the holistic growth of a person.

  4. myworldwitheira

    Depression is one of the worst things and to avoid it is another mistake. If we find someone in the situation, we should definitely help them out. Your guide is very helpful.

  5. TripleAmommy

    Mental health is an important issue and it is great to see more and more people write about it. Thanks for a useful Post

  6. Neha Sharma

    Very well explained, Dr. Rahat. I hope this post reaches the masses and people get to understand more about depression. I feel this word itself is so depressing and also carries a lot of stigma that it’s taking so much efforts to normalize it.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Absolutely. A simple way would be to turn mental health illness into a living room conversation

  7. The Champa Tree

    I have seen several families judging their relatives as reckless and finally they were diagnosed as depressed. Sadly the awareness is still minimal. Posts like yours will surely bring a change in this scenario .

  8. Ruchie

    I totally agree that yes, we need to understand and seek for medical help in case of depression and even we let people know depression is something not be ashamed off and give ears to them who are facing this problem.

  9. priyanka chhabria

    Very insightful. We all need a lot of awareness around this. Like you said, People usually think it’s not a disease, but it is a serious disease and therapy should be completely normalised. I don’t know why people judge therapy.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      I think its because of the social construct created around a person with mental health issues and seeking treatment.

  10. jhilmildsaha

    I had always wanted to about this as I have had people around who had been suffering from depression but did nit know how to help them in the right way.

  11. A healthy environment where communication is key in all these aspects. I have read the book Modern Depression Guidebook by Dylan Brody where he also explains the factors and the symptoms very well plus in a lighter note so that reader have a smile at the end of the chapter.

    1. Dr. Rahat Sayyad

      Oh thats a great suggestion n yes overalll environment greatly influences the management of depression

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