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How Can Treatment for My Depression Help My Family?

Counseling for depression, family counseling, Carolina Counseling Services, North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville North Carolina counseling

How Can Treatment for My Depression Help My Family?


A family is tied together by different emotions, values, goals and responsibilities. Each member has a significant contribution to the well-being of the others. There are, however, internal and external factors, such as the death of a loved one, relocation, loss of a job or divorce, which may derail the family dynamics and set off conflicts. The negative thought patterns may give rise to emotional and behavioral health issues that can disrupt relationships and breed a general feeling of despair and hopelessness.

While the prism of pessimism can be present in any family experiencing difficulties, it can be a cause for alarm if the condition develops into a serious illness called depression. More than a state of low mood, depression causes severe symptoms in the affected one, yet it can affect the entire unit. Although a single member may be in a state of depression, those around him/her may also be having their own share of difficult emotions.


Understanding Depression

The World Health Organization (WHO) identifies depression as one of the most debilitating disorders than can affect anyone, at any age. It is a common and serious mood disorder caused by changes in brain chemistry. Although scientists agree that it is a brain disorder, many factors can precipitate depression. Any or a combination of these factors, such as genetics, stress, changes in hormone levels, grief, certain medical conditions, or difficult life circumstances can give rise to changes in brain chemistry and can trigger the symptoms of depression.

Depression can be experienced across various aspects of life, such as marriage, parenting, relationships, finances, careers, etc. It is a response to life’s struggles and setbacks that may change the way you think, feel and function in your daily activities. More than feeling sad or down, depression is often accompanied by feelings of guilt, helplessness and hopelessness, moodiness, and angry outbursts. Difficulty in concentrating and making decisions can result in a depressed person missing work, school or other commitments. Severe depression can also lead to a person becoming delusional.

Regardless of how you experience depression, leaving it untreated can pose a serious threat to your health. Seeking family therapy in the treatment of depression can help you regain your joy in life.


Identifying the Signs of Depression

Although depression is a serious condition, it is often left untreated because it can masquerade as something else. It is common for people to experience some low points and feel down occasionally, but they do not always constitute depression. It is, therefore, valuable to know the telltale signs pf depression, so that appropriate help can be sought as early as possible. Without treatment, depression can be a painful condition, both for the affected member and the entire family.


Here are the seven signs that can help you determine whether you or a beloved family member is developing or experiencing depression:


  • Loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Trouble getting the proper sleep
  • Change in eating patterns
  • Anger issues
  • Prevalence of negative thoughts
  • Self-harming ideas
  • Lack of or low self-confidence and optimism


If the symptoms persist regularly for two weeks or longer and impact an individual’s functioning, depression can be suspected. Seeking treatment is beneficial not only for the depressed member’s sake, but for the entire family unit as well.


Depression is a Family Affair

 When someone in the family is depressed, it becomes crucial to spot the signs and symptoms immediately.  Depression can result in your ceasing to care about the things that were once important and to start withdrawing from life, which can cause your family and close friends pain, too. Your family feels especially hurt and alienated as you pull away from them while they function without you. You may not care at all because you have lost interest in your relationships, career, intimacy, and social activities. If you are the spouse of the depressed individual, you may be affected most, noticing the signs before others can. Because you have more reason to help your depressed spouse during this time, you can also be a great source of strength, especially if treatment is to be sought.

Depression can also affect children. They may be forced to take up certain responsibilities that their depressed parent is not able to perform. Their emotional health can be significantly affected. Overall family life can also become unsettled as the needs of the depressed member become a priority. Studies show that some family members are compelled to leave their jobs or give up their recreational interests to take care of their sick loved one. Some families even feel reluctant to welcome other people into their home and find it uncomfortable to share their issues about their relative’s depressive condition.

The family may also feel a strong sense of guilt and feel responsible for the member’s condition. There is genuine concern whether the loved one can overcome or recover from the symptoms. Over and above the difficulties, the family remains to be the major force and source of care, comfort and even a part of the resolution. Willingly or not, the family is the de facto caregiver, contributing powerfully to the emotional atmosphere inhabited by the depressed person. As such, the members can be agents of either recovery or deterioration.


Encouraging a Depressed Loved One to Seek Help

 People may not easily recognize or accept the truth that they are struggling with depression. It can take others to see the signs. During this time, it becomes important to show love, support, understanding and care to a family member with symptoms of depression. More than this is to encourage a loved one to receive treatment.

All too often, however, a depressed person may feel ashamed about their condition and mistakenly believe that it can be overcome with willpower alone. Another thing that is difficult for a depressed family member wanting to receive treatment is the person’s feeling of hopelessness, and the insistence that there is no point in seeing a therapist for his/her condition. Depression may have also drained the energy to see a professional.

Precisely because depression rarely gets better without treatment and can become worse, it is definitely the responsibility of the family unit to encourage the member to find help. Finding ways to convince a family member to be treated for depression is the first step to his/her recovery. The good news is that depression is highly treatable. You do not want your loved one and your family to unnecessarily be under the spell of depression knowing there is help available.


Treatment for Depression Benefits You and Your Family

 The bidirectional relationship between family members can have constructive effects on each other’s development. This influence cannot be undervalued when a member has depression. Taking advantage of the existing connection provides the depressed member a greater chance of recovery. Knowing you have your family to support you and stay with you throughout treatment has a huge healing effect. If threatened by the overwhelming symptoms, getting relief for depression in the family is possible by seeking family counseling

If you or someone in your family is showing the obvious symptoms of depression, let an experienced counselor independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC assist you.  The independently contracted counselors have many years of experience and training in treating all forms of depression. There is one right fit therapist who will work not only with the symptom bearer, but all family members in the belief that all your health is interconnected. One member’s pain can become a burden to the entire family. Living with someone who is depressed can result in the rest of the family becoming distressed themselves. This can mean it is time for your family to seek professional intervention.

When depression hits a member of your family, remember that the whole household need not be affected. Ultimately, treating depression with family therapy can be the best thing you can do for yourself and your family. If you are depressed and you are ready for treatment, you are effectively helping your family overcome the difficulties caused by your condition. Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC can help. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

Counseling Information

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

Our Mailing Address:

PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

    Credit Cards: Visa, Mastercard, Discover and American Express

    Location: Fayetteville, NC