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Impact of Depression on Family

Depression is a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. The condition affects the individual in many ways but can also have an impact on their loved ones. Depression may not be easy to notice in a family member and could be misinterpreted.

Some signs of depression can include:

  • A messy room
  • Unwashed clothes
  • Skipping meals
  • Canceling plans
  • Spending all day in bed

According to the National Library of Medicine, depression can often be overlooked or undetected in young people. This can cause potential for the young person to have lifelong recurring depression. Some other ways to spot depression in a loved one is noticing appetite and weight changes, changes in sleep habits, alcohol, or drug use, and more.

Low mood can cause a person to either turn to food as comfort or lose their appetite and eat less. Food also plays a big role in a person’s mood and energy levels. Sleep habits can vary between individuals, so it is important to pay attention to irregular sleep habits. Sleep deprivation can contribute to depression but sleeping too much can be a sign of depression. Turning to alcohol or drug use can be common for people who are depressed. It can be portrayed as something to help them cope with negative emotions but has an adverse effect.

Other ways to spot depression would likely need closer attention by talking to the loved one and asking them how they are feeling. Some examples of this would be negative self-talk, fatigue, forcing happiness, lower optimism, loss of concentration, disinterest in hobbies, and physical pains. These symptoms of depression are easier for a loved one to keep internalized so they can be harder to spot as a family member. Encouragement and providing your loved one company are some ways to support someone with hidden depression.

Family members of depressed individual’s may be more likely to experience:

  • Burnout
  • Exhaustion
  • Depression
  • Psychological distress

Family members and caregiver’s often have feelings of fear and anxiety for their loved one’s depression. It is extremely important for the family members or caregivers looking after someone with depression to practice self-care and focus on their own mental well-being.

If you or a loved one suffer from depression and are interested in joining a clinical trial, visit our studies page to see if you may qualify to participate.