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How can I help a loved one with a mood disorder?

Just as the individual suffering from a mood disorder isn't alone, neither is the individual trying to help an emotionally compromised loved one. Healthcare providers, organizations, support groups, friends and family want to help you support and guide the mood disordered person in your life. Also, rest assured that the individual you care about can get well. Keep these tips handy, but do more research about specific diagnoses as well. First:
  • know that your loved one needs professional help. Encourage this person to find a doctor, psychiatrist or therapist. Help him or her stay with treatment;
  • talk to the healthcare professional yourself, if appropriate;
  • remind your relative or friend that biological and chemical issues underlie mood disorders and that no one educated in the field considers mood disorders to be character flaws or weaknesses. Help them see that the character flaw perception of mood disorders is outdated and grossly inaccurate;
  • maintain an encouraging, positive outlook on the situation. With the right medication and support, the situation will improve. Do your best to be patient;
  • help with errands or housework the individual may find overwhelming at this point;
  • apprise yourself of the symptoms of the mood disorder so that you can alert your friend or relative and a doctor or therapist if need be; and
  • research the organizations in your community that support those dealing with loved ones with mood disorders.

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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.