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When you’re caring for a disabled loved one, you will obviously have a lot on your mind. Keeping them healthy, happy, and comfortable is always a top priority. But sometimes, no matter how hard you try no too, you can sometimes miss the signs of something an awful lot more damaging than any disability. Depression affects approximately 6% of the adult population in Australia, and a further 20% will be affected by mental illness in one way or another. These are very shocking figures, and they are – as you may expect – particularly high in disabled individuals, and others needing care. As their carer then, it is vital that you’re able to spot the early signs of depression developing. While you should always seek medical attention if you have any concerns at all; it is a wise idea to know what you’re looking for. Here, we take a look at some of the common signs to help you give you loved ones the care they deserve:

Common Signs and Symptoms of Depression:

Depression can manifest itself in many forms, which is perhaps what makes it so difficult to spot and treat. While it varies from person to person, there are a number of signs and symptoms you can keep our eyes out for:

  • Out of character moodiness – Has your loved one lost their happy-go-lucky attitude, and replaced it with moodiness? Are they very snappy, and downbeat?
  • A significantly bleak outlook – Feeling helpless and hopeless; like nothing will ever get better is a common sign of depression, especially amongst the disabled.
  • Loss of interest in hobbies – Losing all interest in former hobbies and a seeming loss of joy and pleasure is a key sign to watch out for.
  • Becoming more reclusive – Does your loved one shun company, and choose to spend a lot of time alone? Have they stopped maintaining relationships with friends and family?
  • Changes to sleeping patterns – Insomnia or hypersomnia (excessive oversleeping) and general changes to sleeping patterns can be a sign of depression developing.
  • Significant changes to weight or appetite – Significant changes to body weight – of 5% or more either way – and a considerable change in appetite can be a clue to the early stages of depression.
  • Anger and irritability – Agitated, aggressive and angry behaviour can be a sign things aren’t right. As can a short temper and low tolerance, especially in someone who was once very chilled out.
  • Reckless behaviour – Has your loved one suddenly began behaving recklessly by engaging in substance abuse, gambling, or something similar?

What you can do:

These are only a handful of the signs of depression developing, but that doesn’t mean it is too late. On the contrary, there are a number of ways you can help your loved one and try to relieve their feelings of depression. These include:

  • Seek professional help and guidance. Your loved one may be reluctant, but medical help is the best way to pull them out of depression.
  • Be sure to spend time with them, engaging in their favourite activities. Make sure they have a great time, and remind them of the things they used to enjoy.
  • Understand that these feelings are common amongst people who suffer a disability later in life. They are bound to be angry and upset, so be the shoulder to cry on and listening ear they need.

It is not always easy to spot the signs of depression developing; sufferers often hide them until it’s too late. But it is hoped that this article will help you, should your loved one’s behaviour change considerably. Depression can be cured, you just need to spot the signs and get the help they need.

Solihull Care is a group of leading care homes in Birmingham. To find out how they can make your life as a carer easier, visit their website today.

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Categories: Mental Health

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