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When Someone You Know Has Depression

, 160 pages
April 2016



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When Someone You Know Has Depression

Words to Say and Things to Do



Mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder can be devastating to the person who has the disorder and to his or her family. Depression and bipolar disorder affect every aspect of how a person functions, including their thoughts, feelings, actions, and relationships with other people. Family members and close friends are often the first to recognize the subtle changes and symptoms of depression. They are also the ones who provide daily support to their relative or friend, often at great personal cost. They need to know what to say or do to cope with the person’s impaired thinking and fluctuating moods.

In When Someone You Know Has Depression, Dr. Susan J. Noonan draws on first-hand experience of the illness and evidence-based medical information. As a physician she has treated, supported, and educated those living with—and those caring for—a person who has a mood disorder. She also has lived through the depths of her own mood disorder. Here, she has written a concise and practical guide to caring for someone who has depression or bipolar disorder. This compassionate book offers specific suggestions for what to say, how to encourage, and how to act around a loved one—as well as when to back off.

Dr. Noonan describes effective communication strategies to use during episodes of depression and offers essential advice for finding appropriate professional help. She also explains how to reinforce progress made in therapy, how to model resilience skills, and how caregivers can and must care for themselves. Featuring tables and worksheets that convey information in an accessible way, as well as references, resources, and a glossary, this companion volume to Dr. Noonan’s patient-oriented Managing Your Depression is an invaluable handbook for readers navigating and working to improve the depression of someone close to them.

Susan J. Noonan, MD, MPH, a part-time Certified Peer Specialist at McLean Hospital, is a consultant to Massachusetts General Hospital and CliGnosis, Inc. She is the author of Managing Your Depression: What You Can Do to Feel Better. Additional resources can be found on her website, Timothy J. Petersen, PhD, is a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Jonathan E. Alpert, MD, PhD, is an associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital. Andrew A. Nierenberg, MD, is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and a psychiatrist at Massachusetts General Hospital.

"Dr. Noonan has dedicated her life to carrying the message of help for severe mood disorders. This unique, well thought-through book offers a comprehensive framework and management tool that can be shared by people with depression and their support networks."

"This practical guide is an important contribution to the growing genre of self-help works on this topic."

"... The information is rich and serves as an excellent starting point for those unfamiliar with the manifold symptoms of mood disorders. This text is a much-needed addition to mental health literature, as depression is stigmatized and few understand how to support friends and loved ones who frequently do not obtain help on their own."

"This book offers useful insight for any health professional working within mental health... It is of enormous value to the layperson, hungry for knowledge about how best to interact and help their loved one face the dreadful ravages of depression."

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