Apathy, anxiety and depression

8. Help the person with feelings of depression and anxiety: tips for carers

Someone who is feeling depressed or anxious will often find the following helpful:

  • Talking about their feelings – if someone is feeling depressed or anxious, or something very upsetting or traumatic has happened to them, they may find it helpful to talk to someone close to them about it. (Patience and understanding will be more helpful than trying to get the person to ‘cheer up’.)
  • Support to help them maintain social contact with other people – this will help them to feel less isolated.
  • Persevering with treatment – those close to the person should encourage them to keep taking their medication or seeing their therapist even if improvement feels slow at the start.
  • Keeping active – physical exercise is good for relieving feelings of anxiety and depression, and can also help people with sleep problems and apathy. Supporting the person to do other activities that they enjoy will often also help.
  • Eating a healthy diet – a poor diet can contribute to feelings of anxiety and depression, as can alcohol and caffeine. It is therefore a good idea to try to eat a healthy diet and not drink too much alcohol or caffeinated drinks.

Some people may also want to try complementary and alternative therapies. If a person would like to access these, they should first speak to their doctor. Complementary and alternative therapies that may be of benefit include St John’s wort, aromatherapy, massage and bright light therapy.