Stress, anxiety and depression

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Worried someone is depressed?

Moodzone: Low mood and depression

Media last reviewed: 02/03/2015

Next review due: 02/03/2017

Depression can develop slowly. Someone who is depressed doesn't always realise or acknowledge that they're not behaving as they usually do.

Often it's a a partner, family member or carer who first realises help is needed and encourages their relative or friend to see a doctor or find another source of support.

Feeling sad from time to time is normal. But if this lasts more than a couple of weeks or starts to affect everyday life, help is usually needed.

What are the signs that someone may be depressed?

There are many symptoms of depression. These include low mood, feelings of hopelessness, low self-esteem, lack of energy and problems with sleep. The more symptoms someone has, the more likely they are to be depressed. Find out more about symptoms of depression.

The charity Age UK says that signs of depression in older people can include empty fridges and cupboards (which suggest a poor diet), a neglected appearance or poor hygiene, or someone showing little joy in receiving visitors.

Tips to help someone who seems down

Depression Alliance, a charity that provides support for people affected by depression, gives the following advice to friends, family and carers:

  • Encourage the person you're worried about to see their doctor.
  • Encourage them to talk, and listen to what they say.
  • Let them know you care about them.
  • Remind them they can't help being affected by depression.
  • Encourage them to help themselves, for example by doing regular exercise, eating a balanced diet and taking part in activities they enjoy.
  • Get information about the services available to them, such as psychological therapy services and support groups in their area.
  • Stay in contact with them by sending a card, phoning or visiting them. People who are depressed can become isolated because they often find it difficult to leave their home.

If the person you're worried about expresses suicidal feelings, contact a GP or NHS 111. You can also contact Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 for confidential support.

Page last reviewed: 06/01/2014

Next review due: 06/01/2016


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The 2 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Julietw said on 02 April 2014

have been worried about my husband for a while, he lost his mum last year under stressfull circumstances and now he is having problems at work.

He is starting to have panic attacks and i finnaly managed to get him to see a doctor and he was told 'Most people would consider themselves luck to have a job.

He left with not help or support and i am now worried he will spiral into worse.

What is the point of the NHS today if they are not there to help.

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morning dew said on 05 October 2013

My boyfriend of two years openly admitted to me from the beginning of our relationship that he suffered now and again with depression. I admired his honesty and decided to see things went. Early on, he seemed to really make an effort in curbing his depressed thoughts but gradually they became more apparent. For no reason, he would go very quiet, but as soon as I asked him if he was ok? He would just get up and go! Imanaged to persuade him to see his Doctor, and he was prescribed 20mg Citalpram (spelling might be wrong) this seemed to work for a while, but then the mood swings got worse, so again, I asked him to go back to the Doctors, and his dose was upped to 40mg. Again this worked for a time, however his alcohol cconsumption increased which totally messed up the medication. To make things worse, he is going through a difficult divorce with his ex wife. Currently we are apart, but says he still wants to be with me as I do, him. I feel so inadequate, because I know I cant help him, despite the amount of research I have done, and by giving him the time and space he needs. I am concerned with the intake of alcohol he is drinking as it is messing up the meds, but not sure what to do. Leaving him permantly is not an option, and I realise I have to look after myself too, but I cant just sit back and watch him do this to himself.

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