5 ways to help an adult child with depression
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Clinically Reviewed 
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Depression, also referred to as major depressive disorder, is a mental health condition that is characterized by extensive and recurring periods of sadness or low mood. Depressive disorders are highly common, affecting nearly 10% of the adult population in the United States.

What symptoms are most common in those who suffer from depression?

  • Feelings of guilt or shame.
  • Feelings of irritability or anger.
  • Extensive periods of sadness.
  • Excessive fatigue.
  • Changes in sleeping patterns.
  • Changes in appetite.
  • Disinterest in normal activities.
  • Suicidal thoughts or feelings.

How can you help your adult child manage their depression?

  • Be there to listen — One of the best things you can do for your adult child is to show your support for them by being emotionally present. You can offer to talk with them if they should decide they want to open up to you. Sometimes even offering to spend quality time with them can be a gesture of solidarity and support. As a parent, making yourself emotionally available to your child can strengthen your relationship and could potentially prevent them from feeling isolated and alone. 
  • Gently encourage them to seek treatment — As the parent of an adult with depression, you should play a role in helping them seek treatment through gentle encouragement. It might be helpful for you to gently suggest that they seek therapy or get mental health counseling from a qualified professional. 
  • Offer to help them get the resources they need — After gently encouraging your adult child with depression to seek treatment for their condition, you might want to offer help with getting that treatment. If they are struggling to finance their treatment, you could potentially offer to help them pay for it if it’s within your means. You could alternatively offer to drive them to and from their appointments if they need assistance with transportation or if they would prefer you be there to support them before and after appointments. 
  • Respect their treatment of choice — As a parent of an adult child with depression, you should respect the treatment they choose. You shouldn’t ever try to control the treatment your child decides on. Despite the fact that they’re your child, they’ve still grown into an adult capable of making their own decisions. Imposing your opinion can often have more of a negative effect than a positive one. However, if you’re concerned about their decision, you can bring it up in a respectful conversation with them about their reasoning. 
  • Know that you can’t “fix” their depression — One of the most important things you should know before trying to help your adult child manage their depression is that you can’t “fix” it. It’s not something that can be cured, and it isn’t something that a parent can deal with alone. Your adult child can receive beneficial treatment from a qualified mental health professional.

What types of treatments are out there for those who have depression?

  • Therapy — One of the most effective types of treatments available for those who have depression is therapy. This method can help people manage their depression and regulate their mental conditions in a healthy way. Many therapies focus on supporting families throughout the treatment process. 
  • Medication — Some people may be recommended antidepressant medications to help manage their depressive disorder. Whether starting medication is something that could be helpful for your adult child with depression is up to them and their mental health professional.

Lightfully wants to help your adult child manage their depression

Our Lightfully team mission is to work with individuals to change their life compassionately. We strive to provide high-quality mental health care to various types of clients through a focused approach to process-based therapy. The framework of our clinic consists of evidence-based, clearly defined, data-driven and whole-person-centered care. Lightfully offers various layers of service to both adults and teens through our residential, virtual, partial hospitalization (also called our Day Treatment programs), and intensive outpatient programs. We regularly see clients who actively manage mood disorders, anxiety disorders, personality disorders and trauma disorders. If you have an adult child who is struggling to deal with their depression, we’d like to help them.

Our licensed, clinical experts see each client as a complex and layered human – not just a diagnosis. We value our clients as they are and hope to enrich their lives through treatment. Our vision for the future is an authentic and loving community where everyone can be seen, heard, and valued as they are. We believe in the light within each individual, and when that light is properly nurtured it can allow a person to shine brighter than ever before.

Change is possible. When you’re ready to take the first step, reach out to our Admissions Concierge Team. We’ll take the next steps together, toward the fullest, brightest version of you.

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