Is someone you love struggling with a major depressive disorder? You may have also tried to search, “how to help someone with major depressive disorder”. If so, you might have trouble understanding depression and be unsure of what to do. This is a common feeling. The good news is that with support from yourself and others, your loved one may be able to find the services in Arizona they need to successfully manage this emotional crisis. Additionally, there are a number of things you can do to support your loved one through this time. Read on to understand what major depressive disorder is and what steps you can take to help a loved one.

Young lady comforting her friend. Listening is the number one step on how to help someone with major depressive disorder.

What Is Major Depressive Disorder?

According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is one of the most common mental disorders in the country. While everyone deals with some level of sadness throughout their lives, those struggling with major depression experience persistent periods of sadness that oftentimes negatively impact their daily lives. In some cases, it can be difficult to distinguish between normal periods of sadness and a major depressive episode. However, there are some depression symptoms you can look for, such as:

  • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
  • Loss of interest in normal activities
  • Not maintaining activities of daily life
  • Being unable to complete basic tasks
  • Job loss
  • Sleep disturbances, such as too much sleep or insomnia
  • Increased anxiety
  • Very real risk of self-harm
  • Prolonged depressed mood
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suicidal thoughts

While these common symptoms don’t necessarily mean someone is experiencing a depressive episode, it does mean they should see a mental health professional in Arizona, such as a psychologist, who can properly diagnose them using the diagnostic and statistical manual.

6 Key Tips on How to Help Someone with Major Depressive Disorder

If you’re wondering how to help someone with major depressive disorder, there are several meaningful ways you can help a loved one with this issue, including:

Listen to Them

Many times, depressed loved ones feel they’re all alone and no one cares about them. While this may seem illogical to you, feelings of unworthiness can seem very real to people struggling with depression. Just being there to listen without judgment can help your loved one realize there are people ready to help them. Listening is one of the most important steps to take on how to help someone with major depressive disorder.

Talk to Them

One of the best things you can do to prevent someone with depression from isolating and avoiding social contact is to take the time to talk to them. Avoid taking a tough love approach or bringing up past failures. This approach doesn’t work because they have a medical condition and need help from a professional who can develop a treatment plan.

Doctor talking to her patient with a major depressive disorder.

Take Action

Oftentimes, a loved one’s depression affects more than just that person. Unfortunately, people dealing with major depression don’t see this significant impact on their family and friends and are often reluctant to ask for help. This means you may need to take action on their behalf and enlist help from other family members or even professional care. For example, if someone is having suicidal thoughts or threatens to attempt suicide, you may need to call the national suicide hotline, 988, on their behalf.

Make Suggestions

A mental health illness such as depression can impact a person’s ability to think clearly. You may have to step in and help the person you love understand that professional help is available. Remember, you’re not trying to fix your loved one. Your goal is to get them to a safe environment where they can get the professional help they need.

Participate in Their Process

You can also support your friend or family member by participating in their treatment process, such as visiting them while they’re in sober living, agreeing to attend family or couples therapy with them, conducting frequent well-being checks when they come home, going to their first visit with them and helping them avoid alcohol.

Additionally, take time to learn about warning signs to look for and available treatment options in Arizona. You can also educate yourself about your loved one’s illness by seeking out material from organizations that specialize in psychiatry, such as the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance, British Journal of Health Psychology, National Institute of Mental Health or suicide prevention groups.

Ask What Types of Support They Need

Depressed people tend to have trouble completing routine tasks, such as grocery shopping and household chores. If you’re able, offer to help your loved one, but set realistic expectations. Don’t assume you know what people in a depressed state need. Instead, ask for ways you can help.

Treating a Mental Illness

Just like most medical conditions, depression treatments vary widely. Common options include residential treatment, partial hospital program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP). It’s important to help those you love to examine their options and determine which professional treatment path in Arizona is right for them. The good news is that the majority of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Feel free to contact us at 602-466-9880 or reach out to us by email to learn more about Camelback Recovery in Phoenix, our recovery home and our treatment options for people with depression in Arizona.