What Can Be Done
Depression is treatable. The biggest mistake is not getting help
and believing that you have to get used to, and live with, it.
Depression is often managed with a combination of both
medication and verbal therapy, also referred to as
psychotherapy. Approximately 80% of individuals improve with
treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.
Many antidepressant medications on the market can be
effective in treating depression. While newer drugs have fewer
side effects, itís still important to review current medications
(prescription and over-the-counter) with your healthcare
professional to avoid negative interactions. And there are
various types of short-term therapies that can help people
better understand their feelings and find new coping strategies.
For example, cognitive therapy focuses on identifying and
changing negative thoughts that can contribute to depression.
Other therapies may focus on interpersonal relationships and/or
Thereís also the benefit of participating in support groups.
Sharing concerns with others in similar situations decreases
feelings of isolation, and helps people better understand and
cope with their emotions, self-image and practical issues.
Further, studies show that exercise programs, good nutrition and
a well-balanced diet, in combination with other therapies, also
can help people manage symptoms of depression.
Helping a Relative or Friend
Family and friends may feel at a loss as to what to do and how
to help when someone close is depressed. They, too, have
feelings and may be frustrated or powerless if the person
refuses to accept help. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Learn about depression -- its
signs, causes and treatments -- to be in a better position to
talk and offer hope.
- Share your concern. Let the person know you care and that
there are things that can help him or her through this
- Listen without judging. Allow the person to express
feelings of anger or resentment about their spinal cord
injury. Recognise these feelings as real and painful.
- Review the signs of depression with the individual. This
may help him or her to identify with specific behaviours and
be more willing to view the situation in a different light.
- Plan an activity, or outing that he or she has enjoyed in
the past, or that has made the person feel genuinely useful.
Experiencing pleasure may encourage him or her to consider
- Discuss the impact on you. Let the person know that youíre
in this together and that what he or she is going through
affects you, too.
- Seek guidance from someone your friend or family member
such as other relatives, friends, clergy or Doctors.
- Support groups and websites like this one can be
fundamental in realising that you or they are not alone and
there's peer group help out there as well