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How (Not) To Treat a Depressive Person

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Don't cheer him or her up. This is a most common mistake and no good faith can reduce its seriousness. Depressive people just cannot, don't manage even to want – that's the substance of the disease. Cheering up only increases their feeling of their own inadequacy and it undermines the already poor self-confidence. Realize that DEPRESSION ISN'T LAZINESS. If you are not sure whether it is depression or not, consult a doctor who is able to distinguish.

Offer to play cards, go swimming etc with him or her, but never force him or her. Be kind and patient.

Read through something about empathy and become an emotional support for him or her. Let them talk about what they want to, encourage them gently. Don't avoid any topics and don't hesitate to ask them outright whether they sometimes think of suicide, what they bear in mind and which worries eat them.

You cannot bring on suicide by talking about it; on the other hand, tabooing of this topic can cause some damage. If you succeed in creating a confidential atmosphere , a depressed person might like talking to you. Should you have your own experience of depression, you can offer it, but beware – not like this: "Well, I, when I was depressed, that was grisly, much worse than what you are experiencing now."

Recommend to the person to go and see the doctor. Try to make it easier for him or her, help with making an appointment, offer transport and company. In case of invincible worries of being seen there by somebody, make a trip to a more distant town; psychiatrists are everywhere. Anyhow it is more productive to take it as seeing a dentist where you are also not ashamed to go.

With graciousness, keep an eye on their taking prescribed drugs. Some people try to discontinue their drugs as soon as they feel a bit better. Don't support such eventual heroism – the drugs mustn't be discontinued prematurely.


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