How to Tell If a Friend or Depressed Loved One

Depression not only affects the person experiencing it, but it impacts the person’s entire social circle, including friends, relatives and coworkers. If you are concerned about the mental well-being of someone you care about, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Help A Stressed Or Depressed Loved One

Depressed Loved One1. Is the person withdrawing from others? People with depression often pull away from friends and depressed loved one, even those who reach out in concern. They may stop attending regular gatherings or meetings, or refuse to leave their home or answer the door. While it can be difficult not to take this personally, it usually is not a true reflection of the person’s feelings for those they love. They may feel burdensome, dull, or unworthy of love or attention. Keep reaching out.

2. Is the person sleeping more than usual, or sleeping less? Both can point to depression. Some people may want to stay in bed for 10 hours or more each day, while others suffer from insomnia. If you do not live with the person, look for signs such as drowsiness, sluggishness, or a decrease in performance at work. A major shift in sleeping habits can definitely point to depression.

3. How are the person’s eating habits? Depression can trigger cycles of binge eating, but it can also cause a person to stop eating. If the person you suspect is depressed constantly picks at his or her food, eats large amounts of food during emotional times, or never seems to be hungry, he or she may be depressed loved one.

4. Does the person make negative remarks about the state of his or her life? Many times, those with depression will make comments about feeling worthless, useless, or hopeless, even outside of a major upheaval like a death or breakup. If your loved one can never see the good in life or seems to be dwelling in especially negative territory, there may be a larger issue at play. The person may also be using these comments as a way of asking for help; in turn, ask if there is anything that you can do.

5. Have you noticed any signs of self-harm, drug or alcohol abuse? Depression can trigger self-destructive tendencies ranging from cutting oneself to drug and alcohol binges or reckless driving. These habits can become very dangerous, and it is best to confront the person as soon as possible to offer help. If you aren’t comfortable with the confrontation yourself, you may try an intervention, or see if someone closer to the person can get them into treatment.

6. Has the person had any previous suicide attempts? A person who has been depressed previously will likely experience episodes of depression again. Any history of suicide attempts or even ideation should be kept in mind when deciding how and when to approach a person you think is depressed. If the person makes any comments that suggest he or she is currently contemplating taking his or her own life, get the person immediate professional help by calling 911 or driving to the emergency room.

Noticing and acting upon the symptoms of depression someone you love is experiencing can actually save his or her life. If you suspect that someone is depressed loved one, help the person seek treatment, if possible. In difficult situations, contact a mental health professional for advice on how to proceed.