By Amy Osmond Cook for Divorce Support Center

Depression is so much more than sadness. And for those who love someone battling depression, the effects are all encompassing. “It’s like this thing that engulfs you,” said legendary music artist Bruce Springsteen in a celebrity interview with CBS Morning News. “I got to where I didn’t want to get out of bed,” he said. Springsteen credits his celebrity relationship with wife Patti Scialfa for giving him the motivation to rise above it. “She’d say, ‘You’re going to be OK. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but it’s going to be all right.’” With the following relationship advice, I’ll provide you with tips on recognizing signs of depression and how to support your partner through this troubling time.

Relationship Advice On Coping With Depression

The World Health Organization reported that 350 million people worldwide suffer from depression. It’s the leading cause of disability. To better identify depression, a standardized method was devised by relationship expert ,Dr. Carey Gross, and used by psychiatry residents at Massachusetts General Hospital. “These eight neurovegetative symptoms of depression can be easily remembered with the mnemonic SIGECAPS,” wrote Daniel J. Carlat, M.D for the American Academy of Family Physicians.

If you see these signs emerging in your loved one, he or she may be suffering from more than the blues; it could be a sign of depression. Learn to spot the difference with the following relationship advice.

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Sleep Changes: Should your loved one’s sleep patterns increase during the day, or if he or she stays up most of the night, this may be an indicator that your loved one is suffering from depression.

Interest: A loss of interest in the hobbies and activities your partner once enjoyed may mean there’s an emotional struggle emerging. This isn’t about changing interests. Instead, your loved one won’t be interested in doing anything at all.

Guilt: This behavior has more to do with feelings of worthlessness, particularly in older couples, where a depressed loved one devalues themselves. “We believe social and emotional health play an important role in maintaining overall physical health,” said Shiloh Sorensen, activity director at Parke View Rehabilitation and Care Center. “Positive and supportive social interaction and relationships are important factors in a person’s well-being. It’s a need people never outgrow.”

Energy: A lack of energy coupled with a declining interest in activities is a sign for concern. It could be a matter that your loved one wants to get involved but doesn’t have the energy or feels too fatigued to do anything.

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Cognition/Concentration: Life is loaded with its share of distractions, but if your loved one, who once carried a razor sharp focus when performing tasks, now struggles with concentrating on those things, it’s time to talk about it.

Appetite: While an increase in appetite does occur, it’s a rapid decline in weight and an interest in eating that indicates possible depression.

Psychomotor: If your man becomes easily agitated, or your girl lacks energy or interest in things she once enjoyed, it’s time to talk about how they are feeling.

Suicide: Many people suffering from depression will share signs of their despair. This preoccupation with death compels them to give away valued possessions or talk about life without them around, among other things. If your loved one seems to have given up on the value of life, seek professional help immediately.

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Remember, your loved one didn’t request for depression to be a part of your relationship. But, this unwelcome visitor can be controlled with treatment accompanied by the love and support of a committed partner. By seeing the signs and recognizing the onset of depression, you and your partner can change your tune from singing the blues to enjoying an old-fashioned love song.

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