Depression is a condition that can affect more than just the person suffering from it. The insidious nature of this mental health condition can also impact those whose lives are touched by those suffering from it. Identifying the impact depression has on families can be difficult due to the ability of some depression symptoms to remain almost unidentifiable or attributed to other things. Distress, eating disorders, lack of hygiene and bursts of anger are just some indicators. Families that are being impacted by depression should seek help to ensure that recovery can begin.
You, Depression, and the Family Dynamic
A diagnosis of depression indicates that what you feel and think is being impacted by a mental health condition that can be biochemical in nature, be the result of trauma, or both. Living with depression can take on many appearances, including avoiding social engagement, low self-esteem, lack of motivation, and a failure to perform personal care. It isn’t always outwardly obvious to the casual observer; even family members may not notice the signs of depression in someone they live with. It can occur at certain times of day, at unexpected times, or be an ever-present weight that the afflicted live with. One common experience of those living with depression is the sense of deep loneliness even when in a crowd of friends.
- Extended periods of heavy fatigue
- Restlessness, irritability, anxiety
- Feeling helpless or wrought with guilt
- A lack of interest in favored activities
- Poor personal hygiene
- Inability to perform household maintenance, including laundry and cleaning
- Lethargy leads to being unwilling to move from bed
- Frequently canceled plans or no interest in being active
One thing that is well known about depression is the extensive harm it can cause to families, especially those living with it long-term. The British Journal of General Practice demonstrates that those family members living with depression have an increased severity score when it comes to illness. This implies that chronic illnesses and general poor overall health are common risks that those suffering from depression experience. Finding treatment for depression is essential to ensure that these risks are mitigated or eliminated, and healing can begin.
How Family Therapy Can Help Your Depression
Genetics, trauma, and environmental factors are all common sources of depression, making it difficult to pinpoint the origin quickly. Poor self-image, trauma, life struggles, struggles with health, chronic illnesses that limit activity options, loss of employment, and other factors can all contribute to the development of depression. One unfortunate truth is that in some families affected by depression, the origin of the depression may be a complicated relationship with a fellow family member.
If you’re worried that you may be living with the symptoms of depression or that someone you love is, there is hope. Connecting with a mental health professional is often the first step to addressing these risks, so call and arrange an appointment with your practitioner today.