Many people mistakenly believe that depression is a state of mere sadness or temporary mental indisposition. Affected people struggle with stereotypes and false beliefs about their condition almost every day. In fact, depression is a serious disease that significantly affects the life of you and your family.
Depression – symptoms and causes
According to WHO, depression is the fourth most serious disease in the world (after cardiovascular disease, cancer and diabetes). It is a mental disorder that affects the entire body, causes suffering and significantly reduces the quality of life of the person it affects. Doctors diagnose depression when two or more of the following symptoms persist for at least two weeks:
- depressed mood,
- loss of interest or pleasure,
- decreased energy or feeling tired.
In addition, there may be:
impaired memory and / or concentration of attention,
low self-esteem and decrease in self-esteem,
anxiety and constant feeling of tension,
remorse and guilt,
pessimistic vision of the future,
disorders of sleep, appetite, sex drive,
suicidal thoughts and tendencies.
Depression is a democratic disease that can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, education or social status. A combination of genetic, biological, environmental and psychological factors contribute to its occurrence. It happens both in crisis situations and when we are not affected by any difficulties or worries.
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What not to tell someone with depression?
Despite the fact that social awareness of mental disorders is evolving, depression is still underestimated and treated as an invention or a result of worse humor. Moreover, few of us can adequately support those who are affected by it. Good advice and affirmative and seemingly supportive messages do not help, and often do the opposite. Accompanying the sick person is not easy and is a challenge for his relatives. For this reason, it is worth knowing what not to do and tell the patient, so as not to make him unpleasant and not worsen his well-being.
Don’t belittle or deny the feelings of a depressed person. Avoid moralizing tones and biting remarks. The messages “embrace yourself”, “pull yourself together”, “do not worry”, “stop feeling sorry for yourself”, “everyone has better and worse moments” do not help, and even deepen the patient’s suffering. They suggest that he exaggerates his problems. They evoke a feeling of guilt and failure in him. They make him feel misunderstood and deprived of the right to experience sadness, regret, fear and anger.
Resources: Vita Recovery
Do not underestimate the illness of your loved one. Avoid judging and comparing. Don’t criticize him for his behavior and unwillingness to live. The messages “move”, “go out to the people”, “take care of something”, “it’s fine” or “others have it worse” suggest that the patient is lazy and deprived of interest. Remember that depression is not all about sadness and hopelessness.
It is a serious illness that is accompanied by a lack of energy, memory and concentration difficulties, disturbed sleep, appetite and sex drive. Activity and exercise are important, but you don’t have the strength to take care of them.
Avoid easy comforting and affirmative comments such as “everything will be fine”, “think positive” or “smile.” They can increase loneliness and feelings of guilt and misunderstanding. The sick person does not control his mood.
He is unable to change his attitude, smile when prompted, and pretend that everything is fine. Depression is not a whim that can be dealt with with willpower. Medical and therapeutic help is essential to cure depression.
Don’t say you know what a depressed person is feeling. Everyone is different and experiences the disease in their own way. Don’t be afraid to talk to the sick person about their problems. Listen to him and take what he wants to convey to you seriously.
Do not make a sick person happy by force. Don’t make him surprises or force him to participate in social gatherings and fancy events (but encourage him to stay connected and in touch with loved ones).
Do not replace the patient in the performance of daily work and duties. You can help him with them, but do not deprive him of his activity and activity.
Don’t challenge the doctor’s authority. The patient must trust him and follow his recommendations in order for the treatment to be effective.
Do not repeat myths and false beliefs about treatment (“antidepressants are addictive or change personality”, “only drugs can help”). A person suspected of depression should seek the help of a specialist as soon as possible, who will select a therapy tailored to their individual needs (the most effective treatment of depression consists in combining pharmacotherapy with psychotherapy).