How to Spot the Signs of Depression in a Loved One

Depression is common everywhere, folks. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, at least 17.3 million adults in the U.S. has had a major depressive episode (https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/statistics/major-depression.shtml). That’s around 7 percent of all adults in the country.

With so many people having depression, it’s very possible a loved one is living with this condition right now. If you feel your loved one may be struggling with depression, here are some signs to look out for.

Expressions of hopelessness and helplessness

A person with depression may say everything is awful. In this case, nothing you can do or say will make a difference because, to them, it just seems like nothing is going to get better.

Weight or appetite changes

A person with depression may have a sudden loss or gain of weight. They may also seem to have little interest in eating.

More tiredness and fatigue

Even a minor task can take someone with depression longer to complete. They may seem sluggish, tired and have no energy, and seem to feel very physically drained a lot of the time. This leads to trouble focusing on things, and they may struggle to concentrate or make decisions.

Sleeping habit shifts

People with depression often struggle with sleep. They may wake up very early often and are not able to go back to sleep, or they might oversleep for many hours at a time.

Loss of interest and irritability

Your loved one may seem restless and agitated, and everything seems to bother them. They also have lost interest in many things, such as friends, hobbies and anything else that used to hold their attention.

While not always as common as some of the signs above, a person who is expressing suicidal thoughts or wishes is also likely depressed. In this case, you need to seek help for your loved one immediately.

It can be difficult to see a loved one struggle with depression, but you can help by making sure they get support. It’s not going to be an easy conversation to have, but it’s definitely worth trying. Just remember to listen and be careful about what you say so you don’t sound judgmental. A person with depression may be looking for advice or guidance, and you don’t want to come off as if you’re offering “cures,” which don’t really exist in this situation.