how to cope when living with someone who has chronic mental health issues?

How to cope when living with someone who has chronic mental health issues? 

how to cope when living with someone who has chronic mental health issues?

Helping someone with depression can be challenging. If you know someone who has depression, you may feel helpless and wonder what to do. You can help your loved one cope with depression by offering support and understanding. Here are some suggestions. 

Understand the symptoms of depression 

The signs and symptoms of depression differ from person to person. They can include: 
  • · Feelings of sadness, tears, emptiness, or hopelessness 

  • · Angry outbursts, irritation or frustration, even over small matters 

  • · An inability to enjoy most or all normal activities, such as sex, hobbies, or sports 

  • · Insomnia or excessive sleep 

  • · A lack of energy makes even small tasks difficult 

  • · Changes in appetite - reduced appetite and weight loss or increased appetite and weight gain 

  • · Restlessness, anxiety, or agitation 

  • · slowed thinking, speaking, or movement 

  • · A feeling of worthlessness or guilt, focusing on past failures, or blaming yourself for things that aren't your fault 

  • · Trouble concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things 

  • · Death, suicide thoughts, suicide attempts, or mention of suicide frequently or recurrently 

  • · Physical problems that are not explained, such as headaches or back pain 

In many cases, depression symptoms are severe enough to interfere with day-to-day activities, such as work, school, social activities, or relationships with others. Others may feel generally miserable without knowing why. Rather than being sad, children and teens with depression may be irritable or cranky. 

Encourage treatment 

Many people with depression don't recognize or acknowledge that they're depressed. They may not be aware of depression's signs and symptoms, so they may think their feelings are normal. 
People feel ashamed about their depression and mistakenly believe they should be able to overcome it with willpower alone. However, depression rarely gets better without treatment and may worsen. The person you care about can get better with the right treatment approach. 
Here's what you can do to help: 
  • · Tell the person what you've noticed and why you're concerned. 
    · Depression is a medical condition, not a personal flaw or weakness, and it usually gets better with treatment. 
    · Seek professional help - a medical doctor or a mental health provider, such as a licensed counsellor or psychologist. 
    · Prepare a list of questions to discuss in an initial appointment with a doctor or mental health provider. 
    · By setting up appointments, going along with them, and attending family therapy sessions, you can demonstrate your willingness to assist. 

Contact a doctor, hospital, or emergency medical service if your loved one's illness is severe or potentially life-threatening. 

Identify warning signs of worsening depression 

Depression affects everyone differently. Keep an eye on your loved one. Find out how depression affects your loved one or friend - and what you can do when it worsens. 
Consider these points: 
  • · What are the typical signs and symptoms of depression in a relative or friend? 
    · What behaviours or language do you see when depression is worse? 
    · When he or she is doing well, what behaviours or language do you observe? 
    · Are there any circumstances that trigger more severe episodes of depression? 
    · Which activities are most helpful when depression worsens? 

Depression that is getting worse needs to be treated as soon as possible. Work with your loved one's doctor or mental health provider to develop a plan when signs and symptoms reach a certain point. This plan may include: 
  • · Consult your doctor about adjusting or changing your medications 
    · Talk to a licensed counsellor or psychologist 
    · Take steps to take care of yourself, such as eating healthily, getting adequate sleep, and exercising 

Understand suicide risk 

Suicide is more likely to occur in people with depression. If your loved one is severely depressed, prepare yourself for the possibility that he or she may feel suicidal at some point. Do not ignore any signs of suicidal behaviour. 
Take action if necessary: 
  • · Discuss your concerns with the person. Find out if he or she has ever considered suicide or has a plan for how to commit suicide. Someone with a plan is more likely to attempt suicide. 
    · Seek help. Consult the person's doctor, mental health provider, or other health care provider. Tell other family members or close friends what's happening. 
    · Make sure the person is in a safe place. Remove anything that could be used to commit suicide. This includes firearms, other weapons, and medications. 
    · If the person is in danger of self-harm or suicide, call your local emergency number immediately. Make sure someone stays with the person at all times. 

Stay alert for warning signs of suicide 

Keep an eye out for common warning signs of suicide: 
  • · Suicidal statements, such as "I'm going to kill myself," "I wish I were dead," or "I wish I hadn't been born" 
    · Purchase the means to attempt suicide, such as buying a gun or stockpiling pills 
    · Refusing to interact with others and wanting to be left alone 
    · Having mood swings, such as being emotionally elated one day and deeply depressed the next 
    · Having an obsession with death, dying, or violence 
    · feeling trapped or hopeless 
    · drinking or using drugs 
    · changing normal routines, such as eating or sleeping 
    · Engaging in risky or self-destructive behaviour, such as using drugs or driving recklessly 
    · Giving away belongings or getting affairs in order without any other logical explanation 
    · Saying goodbye to people as if they wouldn't be seen again 
    · Developing personality changes or being extremely anxious or agitated, especially if you experience some of the warning signs listed above 

Provide support 

Remember that no one is responsible for your loved one's depression. Although you cannot fix the person's depression, your support and understanding can be helpful. 
What you can do for your loved one: 
  • · Encourage sticking with treatment. Remember to remind your relative or friend to take prescribed medications and to keep appointments if he or she is in treatment for depression. 
    · Be willing to listen. Tell your loved one that you want to understand how he or she feels. Listen carefully when someone wants to talk, but avoid giving advice, opinions, or judgment. Being understanding and listening can be a powerful healing tool. 
    · Give positive reinforcement. Those suffering from depression may judge themselves harshly and find fault in everything they do. You should remind your loved ones of their positive qualities and how much they mean to you and others. 
    · Offer assistance. Your relative or friend may not be able to handle certain tasks well. Please suggest specific tasks you would be willing to take on or ask if there is anything you can do. 
    · Help create a low-stress environment. Regular routines can help a person with depression feel more in control. Make a schedule for meals, medication, physical activity, and sleep, and help with household chores. 
    · Locate helpful organizations. Many organizations offer support groups, counselling, and other resources. Mental health concerns can be addressed through the National Alliance on Mental Illness, employee assistance programs, and many faith-based organizations. 
    · If appropriate, encourage spiritual practices. Faith is a vital component of depression recovery - whether it's involvement in an organized religious community or personal spiritual beliefs and practices. 
    · Make plans together. You can invite your loved one to join you on a walk, watch a movie, or work with you on a hobby or other activity he or she previously enjoyed. However, do not force the person to do anything. 

What you can do for yourself: 
  • · Learn about depression. Understanding what causes depression, how it affects people, and how it can be treated will help you better communicate with and help the person you care about. 
    · Take care of yourself. Dealing with depression isn't easy. Take steps to avoid becoming frustrated or burned out, and ask other family members or friends for help. Make time for hobbies, physical activity, friends, and spiritual renewal. 
    · Finally, be patient. Depression symptoms can improve with treatment, but it may take some time. To find the best treatment, you might need to try more than one type of medication or treatment approach. For some people, symptoms improve rapidly after starting treatment. Others may take longer. 


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