Depression and Families

Depression is a serious illness that is extremely common around the world. It is accompanied by feelings of sadness, reduced interest in activities that the person previously enjoyed, changes in eating and sleep patterns, fatigue, etc.

At times depressed people might have thoughts of suicide.  If you think you or a loved one is depressed you should seek help immediately.

Even though an individual may feel depressed and seek treatment it is important to remember that an entire family is affected by the person’s depression. His/her feelings and behavior have an impact on the whole family.

A depressed parent is less likely to be available to play with their children. A couple in which one partner suffers from depression might have more conflicts. Or, a couple that has frequent conflicts can suffer from depression. Children of a depressed mother might worry about her well-being. And at times, these relationship problems can seem overwhelming and further continue the depression.

The two most popular treatments for depression include therapy and medication.

While a number of medications are available for depression, research (as explained in the link below) demonstrates that therapy by itself or medication combined with psychotherapy are the best long term treatment for depression.

One advantage of therapy is that the entire family can become involved in supporting the depressed person, or looking at ways to change the entire family’s relationships. When possible, patients should aim to examine and create healthier relationships that will help them stay in a healthier mental state. This in turn will help the entire family remain healthy.

References:

http://www.aamft.org/families/Consumer_Updates/Depression.asp