Many friends and loved ones find themselves in awkward predicaments as they ponder how to help someone with depression who refuses treatment. It’s well established that treatment can make depression symptoms more manageable and life more enjoyable. However, due to many reasons, not everyone is receptive to the idea of treatment. Denial and avoidance are very common.
Depression can also make concentration difficult and lead to feelings of poor self-worth and suicidal thoughts. Stigma and their personal background may make it difficult for sufferers to trust others, making them less receptive to the positive effects of treatment.
Types of Depression Episodes When Planning Intervention
In order to increase the effectiveness of intervention efforts, it helps to know about the stages of depression episodes. Depression causes a wide variety of symptoms. Many of them occur in stages and are dependent on the type of depression present.
When depression strikes, symptom duration often varies per individual. However, knowing which depression episodes can make it easier to identify treatment types and the appropriate way to approach those with depression symptoms about getting professional help.
Single episode depression: Most Americans will experience depressive symptoms at some point in their life, not quite reaching the threshold for a DSM depression episode. These individuals may not REQUIRE treatment, but could benefit from therapy. This type of depression generally goes away and doesn’t require treatment.
Recurrent episode depression: This type of melancholy is diagnosed after symptoms develop at least two separate times. At least 50% of people who recover from a first episode of depression will have one or more additional episodes in their lifetime. 80% of those with a history of two episodes or more will have another recurrence. Treatment for recurrent episodes is beneficial and recommended.
Bipolar disorder (manic depression): Bipolar disorder is in a separate diagnostic category from Major Depression. Unipolar Depression is most commonly known, and characterized as symptoms of sadness and melancholy. Patients with Bipolar disorder tend to experience extreme emotional highs and lows. It is often unofficially called “manic depression.” Symptoms include excitability, irritability, impulsiveness, recklessness, and racing thoughts. Many people with manic depression or bipolar disorder learn to mask their symptoms early on, making it difficult for others to determine their actual mental state. Misdiagnosis is common.
Tips to Help Someone With Depression Who Refuses Treatment
Crossing the divide without causing further alienation is not always easy. The wrong approach can easily make matters worse. Here are a few practical strategies to help bridge the divide and make it easier to help someone with depression.
Create a Judgment-Free Zone
Many people living with depression don’t feel comfortable talking about their conditions. They may tend to feel more comfortable in certain settings or around certain people. Be respectful of their boundaries and take their behavioral patterns into account before approaching them about treatment. Because depression symptoms tend to increase in severity, try to avoid making assumptions when picking a safe space.
Ask for input and keep an open mind to identify clues and solutions when making adjustments in the home or intervention environment to help lessen the stress of the situation. Minimize distractions and maintain a calm countenance as well.
Use the Right Approach
It’s important not to accuse or use aggressive tactics or speech to try and influence someone with depression to get help. This can make them feel more guilty, angry, or hopeless about their lives. Instead, be mindful of what you say and your body language.
It’s okay for you to make your feelings known about the matter. Still, many successful mood disorder interventions focus on connecting the negative symptoms/behaviors of the condition with information on how the treatment can counteract them.
Rejection is never pleasant for anyone and is often a source of discouragement for many. Yet, those dealing with loved ones with depression can find it difficult to continue reaching out and offering support. Don’t shut down if they refuse your offers for assistance.
Know when to back off and walk away so they have sufficient time to process their feelings and consider the information you gave them about treatment. Be prepared to try again and again. Consistency is vital and can help motivate them to change their mind.
Get Them Involved
You may want to take charge and do what you believe is best for your loved one or colleague, but it’s imperative to seek positive ways to engage them. Without treatment, depression is often uncontrollable. Many people struggling with symptoms tend to feel that their lives are out of control.
Treatment helps patients develop the tools and skills necessary to take charge of their circumstances. Realizing the positive effects of professional help is often a challenge for depression sufferers, especially when they feel there’s no hope for their condition or are unwilling to get professional help.
Help them become more involved in the process by helping them research treatment options and providers so they will feel more empowered to take the first and often most critical step in overcoming their condition.
Don’t Neglect Self
Struggling with depression is not easy. It affects everyone in the home. Family members are incredibly vulnerable to its residual effects and should consider seeking treatment for themselves.
Get Help for Depression at The C.U.B.E
Depression generally induces feelings of hopelessness and lost interest, making it difficult for sufferers to realize how much treatment can help their situations. One of the most supportive things anyone can do for a loved one suffering from depression is understanding that depression is a mental or mood disorder. It is not a choice.
For more information on how to help someone overcome depression or learn additional tactics to help encourage them to stop refusing treatment, call The C.U.B.E at (213) 433-2823 to discuss your situation.