Every third German suffers from a mental illness during his life - most of them with depression. The figure makes it clear that almost every person, directly or indirectly, comes into contact with family members and friends with mental illnesses such as depression. To deal with the fact that a close relative is affected and recognizing depression as a disease is usually difficult. One reason is the tabooing of psychiatry in society. By cases like that of the famous footballer Robert Enke at least the depression could find more recognition. Depression is anyway the most socially acceptable symptoms, because everyone was already affected by depressive episodes, knows the feeling of sadness and listlessness such as after deaths, said Karl Heinz Möhrmann, chairman of the National Association of Bavarians of the relatives mental illness eV (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 self-sufficiency: 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".
Therefore, one important piece of advice is not to forget yourself, to 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. A good stress management is therefore also of high value. It cushions the difficult situation for the relative 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 include sleep disorders, careless body care and a general listlessness - a precursor may also be a burnout syndrome.
What is important now is that you do not try to force the depressed relatives to pull yourself together or make suggestions for activities and leisure activities, Möhrmann knows. "That 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", explains Möhrmann, "It is a very important goal to make this clear to the relatives." It is also quite normal that sometimes there is a dispute that maybe even a door slammed, "Also relatives are only humans" says Möhrmann. One must not forget only after the argument, the partner or family member to give the feeling that you are there for him.
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 is advised, not least because the suicide rate is dramatically increased among depressives. There are individual solutions, from outpatient talks and medical support, to day hospitals and inpatient care.
Depression: Include relatives in therapy
Not only the patient, but also the relatives should be included in the treatment, for example, be heard about the disease, the treatment and medications are enlightened and maybe even occasionally in therapy sessions here. Important is the disease insight of the person affected. These can be promoted as a relative by overcoming one's own inhibitions and talking to the patient about the changes that one has 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.
If you do not know how to go on, consulting networks are a great help. So there are national associations of the members of the mentally ill and the Federal association of the relatives of the mentally ill, but also the German alliance against depression with its regional offers. There you can - even anonymously - call or drop by to get help first hand.