Depression isn’t just the blues so it can’t be beat, so to speak, by sheer willpower. When you have a loved one who has been diagnosed with major depressive disorder, you may have to step in and encourage him to seek professional help. This isn’t about being a meddlesome individual because depression has its serious complications including suicidal thoughts!
Resistance Against Getting Help
Keep in mind, nonetheless, that you have little to no control over his recovery from depression. He has to pull through on his own but his family’s support combined with a medical treatment plan including medications (Prozac or Zoloft) and psychotherapy is a must. He has a better chance of keeping his depressive symptoms under control if and when he has all of these things – and you can be a critical part of it.
But getting him to seek professional help can be a difficult process. He may resist seeking treatment for many reasons, such as his denial of his condition and his perceived stigma of being diagnosed with it. He may also be bereft of physical energy and emotional motivation such that even calling the clinic for an appointment becomes a monumental task. He may also believe that his situation is hopeless and he feels helpless about it.
Getting Through the Resistance
This is where you can come in. In case your loved one resists getting professional help, you can keep these tips in mind:
- Be gentle but firm about the need for professional treatment. Avoid being judgmental because he also doesn’t want to be in his position.
- Suggest a general check-up with your family physician. He will be less likely to resist because it’s a routine general medical check-up instead of a check-up with a mental health professional. Plus, if your family physician refers him to a psychologist or psychiatrist, the professional opinion can make the difference – he will be more likely to take it than your own opinion.
- Offer to accompany him to his first few visits to the doctor, whether it’s to the family physician or to the mental health professional. Your companionship will be of great help in terms of making him feel loved, if not feel less alone in his journey towards healing.
Be there during his treatment program, too – think of it as follow-through with your actions. Your unconditional support, perhaps even love, is crucial to the success of his treatment. You have to be more compassionate, sympathetic and patient because he’s going through a difficult process.
Hopefully, he will push through and get control over his condition!