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Emotional Support & SCI - What Can Be Done

Emotional Support - What Can Be Done - Help Sources

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 problem-solving techniques.

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 difficult time.
  • 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 seeking help.
  • 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

Emotional Support - What Can Be Done - Help Sources

See also
Meeting a Disabled Person

 


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