You’ve probably heard people claim they’re depressed after losing a job, a tough breakup, or an overall terrible week, but are these people really depressed? Oftentimes, when a situation is particularly difficult to cope with, our minds may respond with symptoms of sadness, fear, and even hopelessness. This reaction is otherwise referred to as situational depression. If this sounds like a person you know, here are some tips you can follow on how to help someone with situational depression.
What Is Situational Depression?
Unlike clinical depression, which is ongoing, situational depression is an adjustment disorder in which a person experiences a short period of depression in response to a particular situation. Common causes of situational depression include breakups or divorce, loss of a loved one, loss of a pet, and unemployment.
Although situational depression is different from clinical depression in that it usually goes away once the person has adapted to the situation, they both share certain symptoms. Situational depression symptoms usually include:
- Lack of enjoyment in normal activities
- Loss of or increased appetite
- Weight loss or gain
- Crying regularly
- Difficulties sleeping
- Trouble focusing
- Difficulty carrying out day-to-day activities
- Avoiding social situations or interactions
- Suicidal thoughts or attempts
Although situational depression usually goes away once the individual has settled into the situation, in some cases, it can lead to clinical or unipolar depression, otherwise known as major depressive disorder. For this reason, we recommend that individuals showing any signs of depression reach out to our Boca Raton rehab for mental health treatment and support.
Tips on Helping Someone With Situational Depression
Dealing with situational depression alone isn’t ideal. It’s common for a person with depression to become trapped in a cycle of intrusive thoughts, which can make it difficult for them to recover on their own. There’s also the added risk of suicidal thoughts and attempts, which can lead to a heartbreaking outcome if left alone.
Oftentimes, additional love and support from a person they’re close to are needed. That’s where you come in. If you have a partner, family member, or friend who’s going through this, below are some tips on how to help someone with situational depression that can guide you in supporting them.
Spend Time With Them Regularly
Even if you’re silently watching a movie together, sometimes all you need to support someone with situational depression is to spend time with them. Silent companionship is often enough to lighten the emotional load and make someone feel less alone.
Make this a regular thing with your loved one. Set aside one day a week to have a movie night or go out for dinner.
Ask Them What They Want
A common mistake that people make when figuring out how to support someone with situational depression is forgetting to ask what they want. Oftentimes, in our attempt to make the other person feel better, we forget to simply ask what they want to do.
While sometimes it’s best to keep them company even if they insist they want to be alone, it’s not good to hover. It’s important to find a balance between being there for the person while respecting their boundaries. For instance, if they just recently lost a loved one, they might prefer to stay home and watch a movie rather than go out for a night in the town.
Don’t Dismiss Their Feelings
To not be dismissive, it’s important to understand that depression isn’t something you can “snap out” of. While situational depression isn’t usually as ongoing as clinical depression, it can be just as inhibiting to a person’s day-to-day life.
Instead of saying, “c’mon, just snap out of it,” find out how you can support them best. Ask them how you can make them feel comfortable. Or ask if there is something special they’d like to do. You can even cook them their favorite meal.
Additionally, while it can be comforting sometimes, it can also come across as dismissive when we bring our own experiences into the mix. For this reason, it’s best to avoid trying to relate to the person’s situation as they’re going through depression, especially if you’ve never gone through something similar.
Offer Practical Help
Many people who are depressed neglect everyday tasks like hygiene, cleaning, and cooking. You might notice that your loved one doesn’t have enough groceries in the fridge or that their trash bin is overflowing and the floor hasn’t been cleaned. Even tasks as mundane as checking the mail and paying bills can seem like the hardest thing in the world for a person with depression.
While you can’t cure their situational depression, you can offer practical help. If you’re going grocery shopping, ask them if they need anything. If you know they aren’t eating regularly, cook them a meal and eat it with them. Little things like this can be a great comfort to someone going through depression.
Be a Good Listener
It can be tempting to want to offer them advice every chance you get, but sometimes the person just needs to vent, and that’s okay. When people get depressed, they often feel isolated. They think they have no one they can talk to about their feelings.
Be there for your loved ones and let them do all the talking. Give them the open floor so they can let out everything they’re feeling. Considering how beneficial talk therapy is for many people with mental health disorders, maybe all this person needs is to hear the problem aloud. Encourage them to talk about their feelings, but don’t try to offer a solution for everything.
Help Them Find Treatment
As we mentioned previously, situational depression can lead to clinical depression if it’s not treated properly. If you notice that the individual isn’t getting better after a while, encourage them to seek professional help.
Our Florida mental health rehab offers support groups, counseling, and therapy to aid in recovery. Our residential mental health treatment helps clients with conditions like depression stabilize and learn coping skills in a safe and comfortable environment. With daily support from our team, clients at our facility are guided through every step of their treatment.
Banyan Treatment Center Boca can help you or someone you care about learn how to live a happy and fulfilling life despite mental illness. For more information about our depression treatment and other Boca behavioral health services, call us today at 888-280-4763.