Service Journalism: How To Tell If A Loved One Is Depressed

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     Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses in the United States, affecting 40 million adults a year. A loved one could easily be suffering from depression. In most cases, it is hard to tell someone is depressed, because most people dealing with depression cope by not letting anyone know something is wrong.According to, it is imperative to remember that we all experience some of these symptoms occasionally, and it may not necessarily mean you’re depressed. Equally, not everyone who is experiencing depression will have all of these symptoms. Here are a few ways to identify and assess a depressed family member or friend.

  • Forced Happiness

     Forced happiness, or pretending to be happy around others, is a common sign of depression. According to WikiHow, the loved one could deny that anything is wrong to prevent others from worrying about them. A friend who may always feign happiness may withdraw and isolate themselves from people in fear of being found out.

  • Loss of interest in things that were once pleasurable

     Anhedonia, or the loss of pleasure in daily activities, is a very common symptom in people suffering depression. Your previous outgoing loved one may turn down invitations to go out or gravitate to more isolated activities such as staying in or being alone.

  • Constant Negativity

     A depressed loved one could be the “downer” of the group. You might feel excited and enthusiastic about something but they will simply respond with negative comments. They may also just constantly assume the worst. All of these negative thoughts are a primary symptom of depression. Although the loved one isn’t intentionally being pessimistic, this is merely an effect of their depression.

  • Lack of Concentration

     Depression can clog your loved ones mind with negative thoughts, making concentration extremely difficult. If the loved one is suffering from depression, you may notice a lack of productivity, or lack of wanting to be productive. This includes missing deadlines and neglecting their responsibilities.

  • Changes in Appetite

     People suffering from depression usually cope by excessively eating or a severe lack of an appetite. You may notice your loved one snacking more often or overeating, or they may even skip meals frequently. Due to the appetite changes, it is uncommon for weight changes to be evident if the person is suffering from depression. Depression can cause up to a 5% change in body weight.

     Depression is hard to detect, even for medical professionals, but there are a lot of signs and symptoms to help you self diagnose and assert a friend in a depressive state. If you do believe your friend or family member is depressed, give them a chance to approach you about their feelings. Bridge to Recovery says that caring for someone with major depression requires patience, compassion, and an ability to listen. Offer support and assistance without judgment and without belittling the person’s experiences.Just talking can help so much, a depressed person needs constant love and support from their loved ones. People with depression need and long for continual support, being there for them is imperative in attempting to help them.