Helping a Loved One with Depression When Help Seems Impossible

Guest post by Lisa Frederiksen

Depression can be overwhelming and suggesting to a person who is clinically depressed that they need to get out of bed and do something is, well…, insane. It cannot work because depression (major depression) is a brain disease. By its simplest definition, a disease is something that changes cells in a negative way. Depression changes cells in the brain in a negative way, thus it is a one of the many brain diseases that fall under the umbrella designation of mental illness. Given the brain controls everything we think, feel, say and do, treating depression is critical to a person’s quality of life because its critical to their brain’s health. And note the word, “treating.” Often the person with depression has tried medications, seen a therapist and perhaps even joined a gym but still can’t seem to muster the oomph to get up and go workout. But, it’s important to emphasize: depression can most definitely be treated and a person can live a “normal” life, when their disease is treated and managed properly. [Of note before I continue: While this post is about depression, first and foremost, it’s also to share the fact that there is a connection between depression and drugs and alcohol. Often a person with depression will self-medicate the sad, lonely feelings with drugs or alcohol and that works for a while because drugs and alcohol work on the brain’s dopamine pathways. Dopamine is our feel good neurotransmitter. However, in the case of alcohol, it can compound the depression because alcohol is a depressant. Not only that, but mental illness, such as major depression, is one of the five key risk factors for developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol, which is also a brain disease.] To help those who struggle with depression or their family members who are in search of help for their loved one, I share the following information on what a person can do when they are depressed and just starting to figure it out or what they can do when they’ve been depressed for some time and have tried everything to no avail.

Confirm An Accurate Understanding of Depression

There are so many places one can read about depression, and of course there are many well-meaning friends willing to offer opinions, as well as medical professionals who don’t have adequate training or the time to fully assess the mental illness and its treatment. I’ve selected the following sources to simplify an initial search so as not to overwhelm you before you start, for as you can imagine, there are scores and many are excellent. With a solid understanding, you are better able to ask questions and insist on answers when meeting with a medical professional. Mayo Clinic – keep browsing through the links in the left column for information on the definition, symptoms, causes, risk factors, complications, tests and diagnosis, treatments and drugs, lifestyle and home remedies, alternative medicine, coping and support. NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) – What is Depression?

Understand Typical Treatment Options

Because no two brains are alike, it stands to reason no two treatment protocols for depression will be alike. However, just as with any other disease, there are typical protocols for evidence-based treatment practices to treat depression. Again, sharing just a few of the many helpful resources to simplify this process, check out: Mayo Clinic – Treatment and Drugs National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (NREPP) Best Practices Compendium for Serious Mental Illness – Medicaid Health Plans of America Center for Best Practices

Find Support – Get Help

Often one of the best things a person can do is to find support from others who understand, who’ve been where they are now, or to seek information on treatment facility providers. Bring Change 2 Mind National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) SAMHSA Mental Health Treatment Facility Locator

Bottom Line

…there is a way to get help for your depression – even if you’ve tried everything.


Lisa Frederiksen is the author of nine books and a national keynote speaker with over 25 years public speaking experience. She has been consulting, researching, writing and speaking on alcohol abuse, drug addiction, secondhand drinking, treatment, mental illness, underage drinking, and help for the family since 2003. Her 40+ years experience with family and friends’ alcohol abuse and alcoholism, her own therapy and recovery work around those experiences, and her research for her blog posts and books, including her most recent –
If You Loved Me, You’d Stop!
Loved One In Treatment? Now What!

Crossing The Line From Alcohol Use to Abuse to Dependence

frame her work with medical school students, families, individuals, students and administrators, businesses, public agencies, social workers, family law attorneys, treatment providers and the like.

To learn more about Lisa and her work, please visit her website,

 She can also be found on the following social network sites:


Posted on June 9, 2013, in Blogging Authors, Publicity & Writing, Writing & Publishing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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