Depression: help for relatives

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Every third German suffers from a mental illness in the course of his life - most of them with depression. The number makes it clear that almost every person comes into direct or indirect contact with family members and friends with mental illnesses such as depression. To deal with the fact that a close relative is affected, and to recognize the depression as a disease is usually difficult. One reason is the tabooing of psychiatry in society. By cases like those of the famous footballer Robert Enke at least the depression could find more recognition. Anyway, depression is the most socially acceptable disease, because everyone knows the feeling of sadness and listlessness such as after deaths, said Karl Heinz Möhrmann, chairman of the National Association of Bavarians of the mentally ill e.V. (LApK).

Help for the depressed and relatives

What is often forgotten: Not only the sick person needs help, even the relatives are under strong psychological pressure. "Two out of three relatives of chronically mentally ill people are at risk of long-term illness themselves: depression, psychosomatic illnesses, sleep disorders, gastric ulcers and gallstones are possible long-term consequences," explains Möhrmann. However, the strength of the relatives is very important, even if they get sick, "nothing works".

That's why an important piece of advice not forgetting oneself, Take some time each day and do something good for yourself. If the partner does not understand that, then one can try to explain to him "I only do that, that you and us will get better soon," advises Möhrmann.

On good stress management is therefore of high value. It relieves the difficult situation for the relatives and does not push him to his limits so quickly.

Depression: signs of relatives

The first step is often to admit to yourself that the partner is ill. Possible early warning symptoms are among other:

  • sleep disorders
  • careless body care
  • a general listlessness

A precursor can also be a burnout syndrome.

What is important now is that you do not try to force your depressed relatives to pull yourself together or make suggestions for activities and leisure activities, "explains Möhrmann:" This only leads to excessive demands and aggression. "The patient does not feel understood.

Relatives search for causes

The question of guilt automatically arises: is one perhaps also responsible for the disease as a relative? "This is usually not the case," explains Möhrmann. He also says: "It is a very important goal to make that clear to the relative".

It is also quite normal that sometimes it comes to dispute that maybe even a door slammed. "Even relatives are only human," emphasizes Möhrmann. One must not forget only after the argument, the partner or family member to give the feeling that you are there for him.

The cause is not always obvious

Sometimes there are reasons for the onset of depression, such as sudden unemployment or the loss of a loved one. However, such a superficial cause is not always to be found.

In any case professional help advised, not least because the suicide rate is dramatically increased among depressives. There are individual solutions - from outpatient talks and medical support through day clinics to hospitalization.

Depression: Include relatives in the therapy

Not only the sufferer, but also the relatives should be involved in the treatment, for example, be listened to, be informed about the disease, the treatment and medication and may also occasionally be present in therapy sessions.

Important is the of insight of the person concerned. These can be promoted as a relative by overcoming one's own inhibitions and talking to the patient about the changes that have been noticed in him.

Compulsory treatment against the will of the person concerned is only possible if there is an acute danger to self or others, as a rule in suicide attempts.

Get help with consulting networks

If you do not know how to go on, consulting networks are a great help. So there are national associations of the members of mentally ill and the Federal association of the members of mentally ill (BApK), in addition, the donation German depression assistance with regional offers. There you can - even anonymously - call or drop by to get help first hand.

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