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When Depression Is in Your HomeHow To Deal With Depression, What Not To Say To A Depressed Person, Be Kind To YourselfTo Guard Against Depression

The misery of depression extends beyond those suffering it to their families and friends. If you are close to someone who is depressed, try not to take it personally. He or she has an illness. Like a patient struggling with diabetes or cancer, a depressed person has a condition that is beyond his or her control.

People often feel guilty around others who are depressed. If their efforts to cheer the depressed person fail, they feel like a failure. Children of depressed parents need reassurance that the illness is not their fault. Children, in particular, may blame themselves for their parent's sadness and feel guilty. They need reassurance that their parent's depression is not their fault, so they, too, do not become depressed.

Depressed people can often frustrate and alienate those around them. Experts say that if you live with someone who is depressed, there is an 80 percent chance that you will become depressed, too. That means eight out of ten people who live with a depressive become depressed themselves. It can be very difficult to conceal your impatience when a close friend or relative does not return your e-mails or phone calls, rarely gets out of bed, or acts completely self-absorbed.

Many experts believe that reaching out does make a difference. Social support improves treatment results in other illnesses. It can help a person who is depressed as well. Try to show that you care. The depressed loved one may not respond to you, but depressed people notice and appreciate the effort.

To Guard Against Depression

  • Stay involved with other people.
  • Avoid becoming isolated.
  • Pursue hobbies and interests.
  • Strengthen other family connections.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaDepression