Depression: Help is possible!

Depression is a widespread disease like many others, but with some peculiarities. Their importance, especially for those affected and relatives, but also in terms of social costs, is considerably underestimated. Depression is now a common disease number one, even before heart attack and diabetes. Every fifth German citizen gets depression at least once in his life.
There are many misunderstandings about the causes, which are expressed, for example, in the Council, that one has to "just pull himself together". This will further stigmatize people with depression, marginalize them. One of the most fatal prejudices is that depression has "no cure". Here, over 80 percent of depression can be successfully treated.

Seek help for depression in time

The first measure is: KNOW! The Berlin Alliance Against Depression has set itself the task, as well as the other regional institutions of this kind, to inform about causes and treatment options. There are numerous mental-social, but also biological factors that can cause or trigger depression. However, it is not always easy to distinguish a momentary mood from a lighter depression that can get worse. After all, depression can also hide behind physical complaints.

Turning off depressive factors ("primary prevention") is admittedly the hardest part of prevention. Because the loss of a close relative, for example, can not just "talk away". But at least there is a lot that can help. These include activities (such as: hobbies) and the maintenance of social contacts, and especially sports. And the most important thing: overcome timely shame and seek professional help! For the earliest possible diagnosis and therapy ("secondary prevention") is crucial in order to get the disease "under control" in the best possible way. And a close observation and perception of early signs of illness also helps to "tertiary prevention", avoiding relapses.

Depression: What can relatives do?

For those who suffer from depression, it is particularly important for friends and relatives to be there for him during this time. You can listen to him, take time for him and above all give time to the friend / family - but not too much time until the person concerned visits a therapist. In addition, friends and family should also consider the following advice:

  • Accept unconditionally what and how it is portrayed by the depressive, even if it sometimes goes against one's own understanding; the affected person to be a fixed reference person. The emotional attention should not be tied to any conditions or benefits.
  • Not only to perceive the depressive behavior, but also positively take up and reinforce positive behaviors and expressions and thus strengthen their / their confidence in their own abilities.
  • Well intentioned, but then superficial "promises" avoid that confuse the helpless patient rather like: "That will go away again" or "You just have to pull yourself together."
  • Define a sufficient amount of tasks with the person concerned, which should not lead to excessive demands, but above all not to under-demand. Also evaluate small successes positively and strengthen them. Important are manageable and achievable intermediate goals.
  • However, typical symptoms of fatigue or objection can occur, discouraging relatives and friends in their perseverance. Statements such as "I can / no longer want" must not be dismissed as resistance or laziness, because exhaustion, lack of strength and despondency are typical signs of the disease itself.
  • Patience, if you want to cheer or distract the person concerned, for example through joint activities. But also avoid overstimulation and remember that the healing process is lengthy.

Depression: What can you do yourself?

Depression is always associated with anxiety, whether you realize it or not. And people with fears understandably think negative. Therefore one should endeavor to see certain things positive again. If you suffer from depression, you should also consult a doctor as soon as possible. The search for a qualified doctor / therapist is of crucial importance. Help with this search is provided by the Berlin Alliance for Depression "(as well as the alliances against depression in other cities) and, for example, the pilotage of the Association of Statutory Health Insurance Physicians, the Crisis Service or telephone counseling.

The main treatments include various forms of psychotherapy and medications. If your therapist recommends taking antidepressants, do not be alarmed by completely outdated claims about, for example, addictive or side effects. Modern antidepressants are effective. However, the individual choice of the right drug is crucial. Therefore, it is important to consult a specialist (psychiatry). In addition to physical activity, especially physical activity strengthens the self-esteem and the willingness to face his anxiety and depression.

Most importantly, you accept your own illness. However, try again and again to become aware of their strengths and the positive side of their lives, even if it sometimes seems impossible. Do yourself good. Get your friendships. Let friends and family move you to activities that used to delight you. Set yourself the goal of dealing better with stressful situations and sometimes being able to say "no". Strive to make important decisions yourself, but do not do so until you feel better and able to do so.

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