Depression is a common problem; In fact, it affects nearly 9 percent of all adults. While depression is a very inward condition, there are often numerous external behavioral symptoms that can be noticed by others, especially close friends and family.
The symptoms of depression vary from person to person, and many people don’t realize that they’re suffering from depression. However, these signs may indicate that your loved one needs professional help.
Here are some of the most common signs that your friend or family members might be depressed.
Common Behavioral Signs of Depression
Changes in sleeping patterns – Many people with depression struggle to get quality sleep. Studies have shown individuals with depression have an increased chance of developing or exacerbating the symptoms of insomnia, as well as other sleep disorders.
Loss of interest in hobbies and pastimes – Some people with depression lose interest in their favorite hobbies and pastimes. Others become preoccupied with trivial matters such as counting the number of steps they’ve taken during the day.
Lack of motivation – People with depression often feel unmotivated and unable to concentrate. They may spend hours watching television or surfing the Internet instead of doing productive work.
Poor eating habits – Depressed individuals often eat less food and crave sweets and carbohydrates. They may overeat or binge on junk foods.
Irritability – People with depression can often experience irritability and anger. They may inexplicably become short with friends and relatives, or engage in arguments with them.
Mentioning of death or suicide – Suicide is a major cause of death among young adults. Studies have found that those who suffer from depression are at greater risk of committing suicide. If a loved one becomes noticeably more preoccupied with death or suicide, this may be a dangerous sign of depression. NOTE: If you believe a loved one is at risk of commiting suicide, reach out a suicide hot line immediately.
Displaying feelings of hopelessness – People with depression may often believe that no matter what they try, they’ll never succeed. They may feel like giving up and think that everything is hopeless. A sudden pessimistic attitude in everyday activities may be a sign of depression.
How You Can Support Your Loved Ones Who May have Depression
Having a close friend or family member can be a difficult situation to be in. If you notice many of the symptoms listed above in a loved one, here are some ways you can help your depressed friend or family member.
Don’t ignore the signs of depression – Depression is hard to spot, especially when it first starts. But if you see your friend or family member acting differently, or showing signs of depression, talk to them about it. Ask questions like “How are you doing?” and “What’s going on?”
Listen carefully – Depression makes people less interested in talking about themselves. So listen carefully to what your friend or family member says. Pay attention to their tone of voice and body language.
Offer support – A lot of people with depression feel isolated and alone. They need someone to talk to. Try to spend time with your friend or family members regularly. Make sure they’re comfortable enough to open up to you.
Encourage physical activity – Exercise can help boost mood and reduces stress. Your friend or family member might enjoy joining a gym or walking club.
Keep track of their progress – If you are concerned for your friend or family member, it may be helpful to keep track of their mental health progress. Journaling how their behavior has changed, how much exercise they are getting, and noting seemingly important remarks can be helpful in gauging in the remission or exacerbation of depression.
Stay positive – Remind your friend or family member that they have many strengths. Tell them that they’re smart, kind, funny, talented, etc. Depression can include a myriad of negative self-dialogue; positive inputs into their lives can make a tremendous difference.
Let Meridian Advance Psychiatry Help
If you or your loved ones are suffering from depression or any other mental illnesses, our team at Meridian Advanced Psychiatry is ready to help. Our specialized staff is trained and licensed to use a variety of therapeutic tools and techniques to help clients find relief from mental health conditions.
Contact us or call us at (208) 515-CARE to get started.