The Effects of Depression on a Family

Depression is an illness that not only affects the individual, but also the family and friends in that person’s life. It can difficult to deal with or even be around a person who exhibits signs and symptoms of depression, especially when all you want to do is help and you feel like you are being pushed away. Understanding their crucial role in the diagnosis and recovery, and what they can do to help can be an invaluable asset for a loved one dealing with this illness.

The Family’s Role in Depression

Without their knowledge, a family can be part of the cause of depression in some people. When trying to cope with depression, a person can become very irritable, which can cause arguments and disturb the dynamic a family is comfortable with. They may also push people away, trying to ignore their problem. It is very important that friends and family members try to understand the signs of depression and not exacerbate the situation at hand.

What Families Should Know

• Depression can make it very hard for people to want to be around that person. This can contribute to making the person feel less than adequate and intensify their depression.
• Depression is a devastatingly self-sustaining illness. The symptoms of this condition make a person feel worse and worse, causing them to be more depressed. Herein lies a vicious cycle that can be difficult to break.
• Depressed people aren’t always fully in control of the way they act or their emotions. Friends and family should try not to take the things they say too personally.
• Pessimism can be contagious, so it is important for the people surrounding a depressed person to maintain a normal outlook on their own lives, in order to avoid bringing any unnecessary negative thoughts into the household.
• It can be emotionally taxing to deal with someone who is depressed, but it is important to understand that the illness is the inconvenience, not the person.

What Families Can Do

Families are a very important part of diagnosis and treatment with depression. They can recognize the signs better than anyone else, and can be an active part in helping to overcome the illness. Helping to remind a depression patient of doctor’s appointments and medication schedules can be very helpful. Most of all, being an emotional support for your loved one is crucial to recovery.

When a family understands and accepts the role they have in their loved one’s depression it can help in many ways. Also, helping a loved one through treatment with love and support can open up a few windows in the darkness they experience.