What To Say To Someone Who Is Experiencing Depression

Comforting Someone Who May Be Experiencing Depression

It can be hard to know what to say in any situation, but speaking with those in the throes of depression can be particularly difficult. Depression is not just fleeting sadness or “the blues” but a psychological medical condition with deep roots in the psyche and physiological roots as well. Tactics that could work with people who are experiencing run-of-the-mill sadness don’t work, and your loved one may not be able to simply “snap out of it”. 

At the same time, it’s a natural reaction to want to help your loved one get through the episode and feel better. It can wear on family members to see their loved ones in pain, and this can cause pain itself. Of course, you want to do more good than harm, so what can you say to someone with depression? 

First, you need to know that depression is a disease. About 10 percent of people in the United States have what is called clinical depression or major depression. It is not just a passing sadness connected to a loss, which is normal. But because it is a disease, it can be treated, and treatments are quite effective. 

Unfortunately, depression is also one of the warning signs and possible symptoms of alcohol and substance abuse. People who are experiencing depression may be more likely to use drugs and drink to excess. It’s important to understand this disease so you can help your loved ones heal and not fall down the path of alcoholism and addiction. 

Signs Of Depression

According to the DSM, or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, people with depression must have at least five of these symptoms for at least two weeks in a row to be diagnosed with clinical depression. These symptoms include: 

  • Down mood
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in things the sufferer once enjoyed
  • Feeling worthless
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss or gain 
  • Insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Decreased concentration

In addition, these feelings must negatively affect the sufferer’s life. The person experiencing these symptoms also must not be schizophrenic, had significant manic episodes, or the effect cannot be attributed to drugs taken by the sufferer. 

What Not To Say To Someone With Depression

Again, depression is a disease like any other. You wouldn’t say to a diabetic, “just get over it” or “cheer up” and these are not the right things to say to people suffering from depression either. This is a medical condition, likely at least partially attributed to a chemical imbalance in the brain, and must be treated as such. 

You should also believe the person speaking with you. Don’t say, “You don’t look sad” or “You don’t seem to be upset,” because this can turn them away. One of the most important things in speaking with someone who is experiencing depression is to keep the channels of communication open. You want to listen to their feelings and make sure they feel heard rather than judged or as if you’re just trying to handle them.

Let people come to you to talk as well. Not everyone wants to speak about a deep and troubling medical issue when you want to, so tell them you’re always there to talk and try not to force them to do it on your timeline. Forcing these conversations can convince the sufferer to build up their defenses.  

Good Strategies For Talking To Someone With Depression

One of your goals when speaking to someone who has clinical depression is likely to get them into treatment. One thing about depression is that it’s a treatable disease and there are many effective treatments out there for dealing with the illness. The two main treatments are talk therapy and medication. 

Talk therapy comes in many varieties, but the most common is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. This is a talk therapy that helps the patient realize when they are creating bad thought patterns and to change them. There are also many other kinds of therapy as well which can help depending on the needs of the individual. 

There have also been exceptional advances in medicine too, and many patients choose (with a doctor’s guidance) to take prescription drugs. There are many different types, including SSRI’s, SNRIs, Tricyclic medications, MAOI’s, and Bupropion.

Just knowing some of the facts about how to get help can be immensely helpful in talking to someone who has depression. You can know what treatment options are available as well as insurance information, so if your loved one wants to get help, you can be right there for them.   

Call Today If Someone You Love Is Struggling With Addiction Or Depression

If you or your loved one is struggling with depression or they have a substance abuse problem, give us a call and we can help you help them. We’re reachable at (828) 347-9322 and are looking forward to hearing from you. 

Remember, depression, alcoholism, and addiction are mental disorders— they’re diseases. And diseases can be treated. Get your loved one help today, and everyone will soon feel much better.