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What to Do When You or a Loved One Has Depression

Apr 26, 2008
Families often feel helpless in the face of depression, especially if the depressed family member refuses to communicate meaningfully. The family might react by in turn withdrawing from the sufferer, almost frightened to be perceived as "interfering". Alternatively they might exhort the sufferer to "just pull up those socks" or "look on the bright side".

But of course none of these things have any positive effect, and sometimes merely make things worse.

Keep in mind that depression is not a private matter just for the sufferer. It is truly a family matter, and even a community matter, because of the damage it does to everyone. So the family has a right to insist that the sufferer receive and co-operate with treatment. Additionally, life and death matters take first place over privacy matters. You might want to try to help to reduce the stress level of the sufferer, but this should never involve enabling them to avoid treatment.

With a little knowledge, families CAN be effective in working together to help avoid their members' becoming depressed in the first place, and to resolve depression very quickly if it does arise. This knowledge is in relation to crucial lifestyle factors.

For instance although the estimation of fluid requirements have been somewhat overstated in the past, we still find people presenting with depression solely due to dehydration. Immediately the sufferer starts eating and drinking normally, the depression magically disappears.

Physical activity levels can also play a role in depression. Inactivity has a high association with depression, and 2 separate studies (McGill University in the USA, and The Lifeworks Group in Perth, Western Australia) have shown that depression can be resolved very rapidly with the introduction of a brisk, daily 30-minute walk with a partner or group.

Most depression specialists agree there are around 17 lifestyle mistakes associated with depression. Sadly these "mistakes" have become very common in many families and communities, and are even regarded as "normal", despite the fact that they are "sick making". You can protect yourself and your family not only against depression, but against anxiety, chronic pain, overweight, and a host of other physical and mental problems by paying attention to the checklist.

Because depression rates are escalating so quickly, we need to do something rather urgently, and for that reason the book "17 Solutions" outlining the lifestyle mistakes and describing the answers, is freebie for anyone who wants to resolve depression in their family.

But there's more to depression than lifestyle factors, as crucial as they are! Typically the depressed person will have developed an habitual, depressed thinking style and these thoughts and feelings serve to hold the depression in place. The family can be at least a little helpful here by remaining caring, but firm. By all means hear the depressed person out, but not the same stories over and over again. Be compassionate, but do your best to be a role model of someone who is fully engaged with life, and living healthfully and happily.

As well as intelligent help from the family, it's essential for the sufferer to receive therapy in order to firstly resolve issues that may have helped create the depression, and secondly to eliminate unwanted thoughts and feelings that keep the depression in place. BMSA should be the treatment of choice in most cases, provided that is delivered by a properly qualified health professional, in the context of a comprehensive therapy plan.

BMSA is suitable for both self-help and professional therapy, and in most cases the therapist will encourage supervised use of the technique in between sessions. The book "Relieving Depression - Quickly, Easily and Safely" has been written for health professionals and clients alike.

Other factors may also play a role in depression and the professional therapist will ask a host of questions that can help identify where to place attention and effort. He/she will help the sufferer to think about what choices are available, and how improvement may be made so that problems are solved much more satisfactorily.

What happens in therapy is certainly private and the legislation regarding privacy is well-known. Not so well known are the requirements of the therapist in cases where suicidality is an issue. The therapist must ask questions about suicidality, must document answers, must have written permission from the client to speak with certain family members and/or other health professionals, and such permission must specifically describe what kind of information the therapist may or may not impart to which people.

The goal of therapy is first and foremost to assist the client to work toward treatment goals, but sometimes this involves taking steps to protect the client in the process.

If you or your family member has been prescribed drugs for depression, make sure everyone knows that sudden withdrawal is to be avoided because of the potential for severe and dangerous side-effects. In particular the SSRI's actually change the way serotonin behaves in the brain, and some people react by reducing the amount of serotonin they produce. When the drug is withdrawn, this reduction in serotonin can be catastrophic.

By attending to lifestyle issues that may underpin or even cause depression, and also eliminating depressed thinking patterns (which are basically automatic, conditioned thinking styles) the sufferer can become free of depression not only quickly, but permanently. Although it may be very useful to purchase a self-help manual, and therapy is almost always required, you'll also find excellent information and support on the internet.
About the Author
The free book "17 Solutions" is of vital importance to families with a depressed family member. Also the free book "Stop Wishing and Start GETTING" demonstrates how rapidly unwanted thoughts and feelings can be completely resolved with BMSA.
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