Is Depression Contagious?

Free from depression

Have you ever come across any person in your life who always complains about things, puts on blame or starts to fight at the slightest provocation. Does interacting with such a person effect your state of mind, do you get irritated or annoyed even for a little while? Take some time and recall the last such incident before you answer this, and I have no doubt that your answer will be “yes”.

Research also shows that someone with depression can negatively impact the spirits of those around him. Unlike flu, depression is not caught by infection, however, if you are around angry, sad or fearful people, you may start feeling the same way. As quoted by Dr. Mary Catherine Segota, a licensed clinical psychologist in private practice in Winter Garden, Florida,

“Fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and sadness associated with depression can affect a person’s ability to function in their role as partner, parent or friend.”

In general depressed people tend to feel sad or empty or crying frequently. They have decreased interest in people and daily activities. Their ability to think, concentrate or make decisions diminishes. They normally have fewer social contacts, fewer friends and smaller social networks. Next, their relationships have more conflict, and so they are pessimistic about the future of their relationships. They often feel a strange worthlessness or guilt, which culminate in recurring thoughts of death, especially thoughts of suicide, with or without a specific plan.

Here’s what we can do to help someone in depression and to not let the blue mood impact our spirits negatively. First let’s discuss what can we do to help someone suffering from depression:

1. Empathize

Every human being goes through some experience with depression at some point of time in their lives, so it’s worthwhile to share your own experiences with depression to help the depressed person come out of their hopelessness. People who are depressed often feel they are broken and their circumstances are hopeless.

2. Provide encouragement

If the right recovery tools are used, it is observed that depression can go away significantly in a short period of time. Encouragement is a very effective tool to make the depressed person feel better. Encourage the depressed person by discussing positive things with them. Encouragement can change lives.

3. Show continued care

Keep in mind that the healing will take time. Be patient and show continued care.

4. Seek Professional Help

Accept that you can not do it alone. Many times it will take a professional to assist you. If someone you love or care about expresses recurring thoughts of suicide or violence to others, seek professional help without any delay.

5. Do not assume you are responsible for their depression

We should always remember the fact that we can not change another person. That person has to do that. We can only help them. That means if another person is raging out at you, don’t accept it. Their depression does not give them an excuse to hurt you. Understand and state that in clear terms.

Now let’s discuss how can we not let ourselves get adversely effected while dealing with the person suffering from depression. There are several things we can do to prevent depression if we are spending a lot of time with a depressed loved one:

1. Avoid taking it personally

It becomes very difficult for a person going through depression to connect on a deep emotional level with anyone, even the people he or she loves the most. Depressed people often say hurtful things and snipe out in ire. To deal with this, we should always remember that this is the depression talking, not our loved one, so try not to take it personally.

2. Do not become totally absorbed

It’s very important for you to take good care of yourself too. Hang out with friends to save yourself from becoming severely depressed. You can seek professional help if you are worried about leaving a loved one alone. A professional can help you to deal with the situation and ease your worries.

3. Get physical Exercise

The simplest way to refresh yourself is to take a walk. The endorphins stimulated through exercise is helpful in preventing depression.

4. Seek positive friends too

While you are taking care of someone going through depression, don’t forget to spend some quality time with positive friends. This will help you to refresh yourself and absorb the positive energy. Also, you can discuss your worries, issues with others and might find some considerable help by discussing your situation and ways to cope with it.

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