Depression Treatment

Depression is a mental illness that can negatively affect a person’s thoughts, acts, and feelings. It’s often characterized by persistent sadness and the lack of interest in things or activities one used to be passionate about.

Common symptoms also include increased fatigue or loss of energy and difficulty focusing. According to a report, depression affects one in every 10 Americans, with a rising incidence of teenagers and young adults suffering from mood disorders.

And like other illnesses, diagnosis and prompt intervention are crucial when someone has depression to reduce the emotional burden of the disease.

If someone you love suffers from depression, your love and support can help lift their spirits and encourage them to fight and overcome their negative thoughts and feelings.

With your companionship, you can help them cope with their symptoms, inspiring them to fall in love with their life again.

Learn how you can guide your loved one through depression treatment by reading this article to prepare you to support your friend or family member in this difficult journey.

Guide Loved One Through Depression Treatment

Accompany And Support Your Loved One During The Initial Treatment

You probably have noticed your loved one having a continuous low mood, being irritable, frequently crying, lacking motivation, and having no interest in entertaining activities.

These early signs and symptoms of depression, including sleeplessness and hopelessness, can worsen with suicidal tendencies. If your loved one has been experiencing these manifestations almost every day for two weeks or more, it could be depression.

Dealing with depression can be complex, hence the importance of seeking the help of professionals. Seeing a psychologist or psychiatrist in a clinic, hospital, or center for mental health can help your loved one better understand what they’re going through.

They can also help them cope with their symptoms and create a treatment plan suited to their needs and situation.

However, feeling anxious or overwhelmed about seeing professionals is normal, and the best thing you can do for your loved one is to be there for them.

Your support and willingness to accompany them during the initial treatment without judgment or prejudice can encourage them to seek help and reduce their stress and anxiety levels.

Sometimes, your loved one may also express hesitation and shame during this stage because of the social stigma associated with depression and other psychological disorders.

But you can show your eagerness to help and support them by attentively listening and acknowledging their feelings about first-time professional consultation.

Here’s how you can support your loved one during the initial treatment of depression:

#1. Provide Support During Antidepressant Medication Intake

Monitoring is critical if your loved one is taking antidepressant medications for the first time or if the doctor has made prescription changes. So, you can show your support on their journey by assisting them when taking their medications.

Antidepressants take a while to take effect, so your loved one may complain of no improvement within the first few weeks.

When they do, as much as possible, avoid invalidating their feelings and, instead, help them understand that feeling the full effects of antidepressants can take four to eight weeks.

If your loved one still doesn’t feel any improvement after taking an antidepressant for at least four weeks, take the initiative to let the healthcare provider know to adjust the dosage as necessary or find other alternative medications.

In addition, antidepressant drugs may cause side effects, such as headaches, dizziness, agitation, loss of appetite, diarrhea, or constipation.

So, to keep them at ease, explain these side effects. You can also provide assistance to avoid slipping, falling, and other safety-related incidents. For instance, ensure the bed has raised railings to prevent them from falling because of dizziness.

#2. Provide Support During Psychotherapy Treatments

The type of depression generally dictates the number of sessions necessary for your loved one.

For instance, the National Health Institutes of Health (NIH) recommends eight to 12 cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) sessions for mild depression, eight to 16 sessions for moderate, and 16 more sessions for up to two years for severe, chronic, and recurrent depression.

Just imagine the time psychotherapy demands from your loved one to attain improvement and recovery from depression. So, show your love and support by accompanying them in every CBT session.

Considering how overwhelming the process can be, your presence counts a lot. As much as possible, it’s also best to avoid questioning or judgment if your loved one isn’t improving after several sessions, especially since not everybody has the same recovery period.

Assist And Support A Loved One In The Second Line Of Treatment

If your loved one exhibits a poor response to the first-line antidepressant therapy, the psychiatrist may rule out another possible diagnosis, such as bipolar disorder.

The doctor may misdiagnose bipolar disorder as major depression because most patients only seek medical treatment during depressive episodes. Therefore, the manic episodes and other bipolarity manifestations are unnoticeable.

The clinician may interview you to get input about your loved one’s present or past symptoms of mania and hypomania.

When your loved one has a new or additional diagnosis, like substance abuse, expect a more comprehensive drug treatment. The doctor might prescribe newer antidepressants and antipsychotics.

Here’s how you can assist and show your support to your loved one during the second line of treatment:

#1. Medication Assistance And Education

Strict compliance with medication schedules and doses is crucial if your loved one is under the second line of treatment. So, as much as possible, ensure your loved one ingests the medicine without hoarding or throwing it away.

Otherwise, the patient’s condition won’t improve. After administering the drug, check the inside of the cheeks and stay with the patient for a few minutes before leaving.

#2. Hospital Visits

When depression and other comorbidities are present, your loved one might need hospitalization. More than 90 percent of depression are treated outpatient, but treatment-resistant depression requires hospitalization.

Your loved one might disagree with inpatient treatment, so it’s important to show your support by regularly visiting them. Doing so can reassure them and, at the same time, help encourage them to take this step toward recovery.

In addition, your presence can also help reduce their stress and anxiety levels, which can help promote faster recovery. To help set proper expectations and avoid misunderstandings and possible conflicts, explaining visiting hours and rules to your loved one can help.

Guide Your Loved One With Other Depression Treatments

Depression is a broad subject matter in health, requiring a combination of treatments to recover fully. Treating patients with depression also requires a collaborative effort of the family, the patient, healthcare professionals, and society.

Hence, the research and development for new depression treatments never stop. Below are practical ways to guide and support your loved one undergoing any of these other depression treatments:

#1. Electroshock Therapy

During hospitalization, your loved one may undergo electroshock or electroconvulsive therapy (ECT). This treatment option is for severe depression due to poor response to other treatments.

In ECT, your loved one will be under a general anesthetic to put them “asleep” for 10 to 15 minutes. Hence, this treatment can also be an outpatient treatment option. However, there may be instances wherein the doctor may ask the patient to stay in the hospital before and after the procedure.

ECT’s possible side effects include headaches, muscle pain, confusion, and drowsiness. So, if possible, accompany them during sessions so you can drive them from home to the hospital and vice versa.

In addition, make your home safer by removing rugs, electrical cords, and other obstacles to clear the path. Make hallways and walkways well-lit and ensure the phone, medication, and other things your loved one needs are accessible as well.

#2. Holistic And Alternative Treatments

While alternative therapy is not guaranteed to cure depression and its symptoms, it can help make your loved one battling depression cope better.

For instance, herbal remedies from plants like ginkgo biloba and St. John’s wort are known to help treat depression.

Another alternative therapy includes guided imagery that aims to harmonize the body and mind and is a form of focused relaxation.

You can also encourage your loved one to try yoga and meditation since they can help relax the mind and body with breathing techniques.

In fact, many people with depression try yoga and meditation to boost their spirituality and inner peace, which help reduce stress and anxiety.

While many people share stories or anecdotes about the effectiveness of holistic and alternative treatments, explain to your loved one that these treatments can only temporarily relieve signs and symptoms of depression.

The best treatment is still what the doctor prescribes. Therefore, the patient must strictly follow the doctor’s orders to prevent relapse and attain full recovery.

If your loved one wants to undergo these alternative treatments, be there to show your support. This positive experience can help your loved one recover faster when combined with medication and other clinical treatment modalities.


Battling depression can be overwhelming, and one of the best things you can do to support your loved one during this time is to be there for them.

Aside from showing up and accompanying them to sessions, knowing more about depression and its treatment options, including antidepressants and CBT, can help you anticipate and provide the assistance your loved one needs to recover from depression fully.