How to Tell If Your Loved Ones Are Depressed

Depression is a serious mental illness that can lead to low quality of life and to suicide. This problem is often overlooked because depressed people often give off signals that they just want space and to be left alone. Read on to learn the warning signs that someone may be depressed so that you can catch your loved ones‘ depression before it is too late.

How To Help A Stressed Or Depressed Loved Ones

Loved OnesDepressed people often actively try to get other people to leave them alone. Some depressed people simply become withdrawn and avoid social events, family gatherings and other places where they have to interact with people. A fair number of depressed people, however, take things a step further and lash out at their loved ones. They may seem extremely angry or irritable or lose their tempers over everything. These behaviors often succeed in pushing people away because they are unpleasant–however, the depressed person tends to use anger as a cry for help. If your loved one is suddenly irritable all the time and/or is unwilling to socialize or spend time with others, these are strong signs that he or she is depressed. Let him or her know you are there for them despite these behaviors.

Depressed people often let their physical health go. Oversleeping is a classic sign of depression, but many depressed people stay up late and get up early. They often can’t sleep because they are too stressed and upset about situations in their lives. They also may overeat or eat very little. Finally, they may stop showering, exercising or doing other things that support their physical health. If you observe any of these symptoms in your loved ones, talk to him or her to find out what is going on.

Pay close attention to what your loved one is saying. Many depressed people openly state how bad they are feeling; this sign is often overlooked because people think their loved ones “doesn’t really mean it.” Take it at face value if your loved one says his or her life is horrible and listen non-judgmentally to what they’re trying to tell you. Don’t try to talk your loved ones out of his or her feelings; listen and make comments like, “That must be a hard situation” or “I understand how upset you feel” so that the person knows you are really listening.

If a depressed person tells you that he or she is considering suicide, it’s important that you do two things. First, don’t panic. Take a deep breath and let the person know you are listening. Ask him or her if they have a plan. Try to find out how imminent the threat is. If you think your loved ones is in danger, offer to take them to a hospital or call 911.

Thousands of lives are lost each year to suicides and accidental deaths related to depression. Many of these tragedies can be prevented by learning what the signs of depression are and getting the depressed person help before he or she engages in self-harming or suicidal behavior.