What should I do if a loved one is preoccupied with negative thoughts?

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As people age and go through challenging life experiences, it's normal to think about mortality. But if a loved one is preoccupied with negative thoughts of self-harm, illness, or death, it's a very big red flag. According to Ian Cook, MD, professor of psychiatry and director of the Depression Research and Clinic Program at UCLA, a depressed person may become consumed with fear and worry, and feel that their health or life is at immediate risk. The greatest danger of negative thoughts due to depression is self-harm. If your loved one shows any signs or symptoms of self-harm or potential self-harm, arrange for them to see a doctor. In urgent cases, a rush trip to the emergency room to protect your loved one's safety may be your best option.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.