How Can I Help An Adult Child With Major Depression?
Major depression is a serious mental health disorder that can have profound consequences for individuals and their families. It is estimated that over 17 million Americans suffer from major depression, making it one of the most common mental health disorders in the United States. While major depression is treatable, it can be difficult for family members to know how to best support a loved one who is suffering. Here, we discuss ways to help an adult child with major depression.
Major depression, also known as clinical depression or major depressive disorder, is a mental health disorder characterized by a persistent feeling of sadness, loss of interest in activities, and decreased energy. It is often accompanied by physical symptoms such as changes in appetite, sleep disturbances, and fatigue. Symptoms of major depression can last for weeks or months, and can significantly interfere with a person’s functioning and quality of life.
Major depression has been recognized as a distinct mental health disorder since the early 20th century. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), is the standard reference for diagnosing mental health disorders in the United States, and it defines major depression as a mental health disorder characterized by five or more symptoms of depression, including depressed mood, anhedonia, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and sleep disturbances.
Ways to Help
There are a number of ways that family members can help an adult child with major depression. First, it is important to show compassion and understanding. It is important to recognize that depression is an illness, not a weakness, and that it is not the fault of the person who is suffering.
Second, it is important to stay involved in your adult child’s life. Make an effort to stay in touch regularly and to check in from time to time. This can help your adult child feel supported and can let them know that you care about them.
Third, it is important to encourage your adult child to seek help. If your adult child is reluctant to seek treatment, offer to help them find a mental health professional. Make sure to research the therapist and to ask questions about their experience and approach.
Finally, it is important to take care of your own mental health. Caring for an adult child with major depression can be emotionally and physically exhausting. Make sure to take time for yourself and to seek support from family and friends.
Major depression is a serious mental health disorder that can have profound effects on individuals and their families. There are a number of ways that family members can help an adult child with major depression, including showing compassion and understanding, staying involved in their life, encouraging them to seek help, and taking care of their own mental health.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
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