How To Help Someone With Depression – The Definitive Guide

Depression is one of the most common serious mental disorders, and yet it is often misunderstood, unnoticed, or even ignored. Everyone feels down sometimes, but depressed people have a persistently low mood that affects all facets of their life. If you believe you or someone you love may be depressed, read the following information to learn ways to help someone with depression.

This guide consists of ten chapters that will help you learn about this serious mental disorder and how to treat it. To skip to a particular chapter, click one of the following links:

Chapter 1: What is it? – Types of Depression

Chapter 2: What are the Symptoms? – Symptoms of Depression

Chapter 3: When to See a Doctor – Diagnosis of Depression

Chapter 4: Who is at Risk? – Causes of Depression

Chapter 5: How to Help – What to Say to a Friend with Depression

Chapter 6: Types of Treatment

Chapter 7: Natural Treatments

Chapter 8: Counseling and Therapy

Chapter 9: Medication

Chapter 10: More Information

Chapter 1: What is it? – Types Of Depression

Most people do not realize what depression is, and many mistakenly believe that it is relatively harmless. Depression is a common and serious mental disorder that affects your mood, behavior, social and professional relationships, and even your physical health. It can also sometimes lead to suicide.

There are several different types of depression, such as major depressive disorder (MDD), seasonal affective disorder (SAD), and dysthymia. Most types share the same symptoms but differ in their severity and how long they last. For a better understanding of what depression is and how to help someone with depression, take a look at the following links:

Depression Guide - Better Information for Better Health |

Major Depressive Disorder |

What Is Depression? |

10 Ways Depression Changes You |

Advances in Understanding of Depression Offers New Hope |

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Chapter 2: What are the Symptoms? – Symptoms Of Depression

The most common signs that someone may be depressed are a persistent low mood and an inability to enjoy activities that they normally enjoy. Other common symptoms include feelings of guilt, worthlessness, hopelessness, irritability, sleeplessness or sleeping too much, and helplessness, as well as a withdrawal from social situations. Some depressed individuals may also experience irritability and thoughts of death or suicide.

Depressive mental disorders often cause physical symptoms as well. Fatigue, digestive problems, headaches, weight loss, aches, and pains are all common physical symptoms that depressed people may experience. Explore the following links to get more detailed information on depression symptoms:

Depression Symptoms & Warning Signs |

Could It Be Depression? |

Physical Symptoms Of Depression |

What It's Like Living With Depression |

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Chapter 3: When to See a Professional – Diagnosis Of Depression

As mentioned above, everyone feels down from time to time. However, if you or a loved one have been feeling down or experiencing any other symptoms for two weeks or more, see your family doctor, a psychologist, or a counselor. After a brief interview, they may give you a short questionnaire, such as Beck's Depression Inventory. There are also specific criteria laid out by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) that health care professionals may consult. These links will provide more information on depressive disorders and your diagnosis:

10 Signs You Should See a Doctor for Depression |

Depression Diagnosis |

Depression Damages Certain Regions of the Brain |

Diet and Depression Risk |

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Chapter 4: Who is at Risk? – Causes Of Depression

Many doctors still do not agree about what causes people to become depressed. However, the general consensus is that there are a number of risk factors that can increase your chances of becoming depressed, including having blood relatives that have a history of depression, experiencing trauma (including childhood trauma), stress from life-changing events (like losing a job or the death of a loved one), age, and gender. Your brain chemistry and hormones also play a significant role.

To find out more, read through the following posts:

Causes of Depression |

Major Depressive Disorder Causes |

What Causes Depression? |

12 Surprising Causes of Depression |

How Early-Life Stress Could Increase Risk of Anxiety and Depression Later in Life |

Low Levels of Face-to-Face Social Contact Can Double Depression Risk |

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Chapter 5: How to Help – What to Say to a Friend with Depression

How you talk to and act towards a depressed person can affect their recovery. Avoid saying things like, “It's all in your head,” or “We all go through times like this.” Try to affirm that they are important and that they are not alone. If your loved one has had symptoms for a while, you can try gently suggesting they see a doctor or a counselor for help. It is also important that you note of any symptoms that get suddenly and significantly worse, such as a disinterest in pleasurable activities, sex, or food, as they may be warning signs of suicide.

To learn more about how to help someone with depression, see the following pages:

Recognize the Warning Signs of Suicide |

9 Ways to Help a Friend or Family Member with Depression |

6 Depression Symptoms You Shouldn't Ignore |

Suicide-Risk Behavior Patterns Identified |

12 Confessions From People who Struggle with Depression |

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Chapter 6: Types of Treatment

Unfortunately, there is no “cure” for depressed people, but there are several treatments that have been clinically proven again and again to be effective in treating people with depression. Broad forms of treatment include natural treatment, therapy, medication, and a combination of treatments. Natural treatment includes exercise and a change in diet. Therapy includes many different talk therapies, such as psychotherapy and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Medication usually includes antidepressants, like Prozac and Zoloft.

The following links provide information about many more ways to help someone with depression:

The 10 Best Natural Ways to Treat Depression |

Drug Options for the Treatment of Depression |

Mindfulness Holds Promise for Treating Depression |

Effectiveness and Cost-Effectiveness of MBCT |

Treatment-Resistant Depressed Patients Show a Good Response to MBCT |

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Chapter 7: Natural Treatments

If you or a loved one is depressed, natural treatments are always a great way to curb a depressed mood. Contrary to what many believe, natural treatments have been shown to be among some of the most effective treatments for many mental disorders. Exercise in particular has been shown to sometimes be just as effective as medication in improving the mood of depressed people. To help someone with depression, try asking them to go for a nice walk or jog with you. For information on different forms of natural treatments, visit the following links:

Diet for Depression | Foods That Help Depression |

How Walking in Nature Prevents Depression |

11 Natural Treatments for Depression |

Cashew Nutrition: Absolutely the Best Treatment for Depression without Medication |

Depression and Phytotherapy: Healing with Plants and Herbs |

Probiotics May One Day Be Used To Treat Depression |

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Chapter 8: Counseling and Therapy

Psychologists can also help those struggling with personal issues. There are many different forms of psychotherapy, and you can learn which one may work best for you. The most popular forms of therapy to help someone with depression are psychoanalysis and cognitive-behavior therapy, but there are many other types of therapy that have very different approaches, such as mindfulness and meditation techniques.

To find out more about these types of therapy, click on the links below:

Different Approaches to Psychotherapy |

7 Types of Therapy that can Help Depression |

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy better than Light Therapy for SAD |

Mindfulness as Effective as Pills for Treating Recurrent Depression |

Cognitive–Behavioral Therapies for Children and Adolescents |

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Chapter 9: Medication

Medication is another common form of treatment for depression. Medication is especially used to treat major depressive disorder. There are several different kinds of antidepressant medications, all of which act differently in the body. The most common types of antidepressants are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which work by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Other forms of medication, such as antipsychotics, are also used.

Below is a short list of links where you can read more about the different kinds of antidepressants:

Drug Options for the Treatment of Depression |

Antidepressants |

List of 29 Common Depression Medications |

Compare 71 Depression Medications |

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Chapter 10: More Information

When you want to help someone resolve their personal issues it can be tricky. Sometimes the best way to help someone with a depressive disorder is to encourage them to see a professional. Every individual is different: the same treatment may not work for two different people. Furthermore, treatment for depression can take a significant amount of time, and is often an on-going process, so patience is also important.

The most powerful tool you can have to help someone with depression is knowledge. Find out more about this serious mental disorder by reading about it here:

Depression Damages Parts of the Brain |

Magnets Can Help Reset Depressed Brains |

The Science Of Depression |

Understanding the Facts [Of Depression] |

10 Ways To Treat Depression Without Antidepressants |

Probiotics May One Day be Used to Treat Depression |