Depression may not top the list of the most traumatizing experiences, but it definitely hits the top ten. It alters a person’s live, changes the pattern of one’s social interactions and blocks one’s way of experiencing positive emotions. However, the family of the depressed person also suffers greatly.
In their article, the MNT editor board makes a very powerful argument about the effects of depression on the relatives of the patient by identifying the major factors that put the family into a challenging position; the strength of the argument comes from the incorporation of a careful analysis of the existing sources and the location of the key factors affecting the family members, though the description of the study limitations clearly leaves much to be desired (What is depression? What causes depression?, 2014, October 17).
Among the key strengths of the article, a very thorough analysis of the existing sources can be mentioned, the author did an impressive job by studying the effects of depression on different family members, including children, parents and other family members. The results of the study are also quite extensive and, thus, very impressive; it is truly unexpected that the author has managed to drive so much information from only a few studies.
Finally, the quality of the findings can be deemed as outstanding. For instance, the author should be credited for stating that one of the greatest problems of depression is the lack of information about supporting a depressed person. As researches and case studies show, the attempts of a partner to make the patient’s attitude more upbeat lead nowhere at best and make the situation more complicated at worst. Consequently, the wife or the husband of a depressed person is growing emotionally detached from the patient.
As a result, the spouse may develop neurosis or substance dependence, such as alcoholism or drug abuse (American Psychiatric Association, 2013, p. 173). Much like the spouse, parents suffer from the inability to help the depressed offspring. Consequently, parents are also prone to developing psychological issues, including phobias and substance dependence (Reupert & Maybery, 2007). Moreover, the author does not overlook children either.
Children are the most vulnerable targets of the negative effects of a person’s depression. Since children only learn to recognize their own feelings and emotions, analyzing and interpreting the ones of adults is impossible for them. As a result, these misunderstandings between a child and a depressed parent will finally take shape of phobias or even neuroses in a child (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2009).
It should be noted, though, that the paper also has its problems. For instance, the author does not make a clear statement about the limitations of the research. While, on the one hand, the limits of the research can be considered quite obvious, it still would have been more gratifying to see them listed by the author.
Addressing the needs of patients with depression is one of the hardest tasks, and most family members either fail or make the situation worse because of the lack of understanding of what the patient actually needs. The key advantage of the article in question, therefore, is that it provides a very clear interpretation of what effects depression has on the family members, therefore, instructing the possible victims about the key health related threats. The depression of a family member may become “contagious” to the entire family. Moreover, the family members may develop a variety of disorders, starting from neurosis down to substance addiction, depending on their age.
American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders DSM-V. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2009). Maternal depression can undermine the development of young children. Boston, MA: Center of the Developing Child.
Reupert, A. & Maybery, D. (2007). Families affected by parental mental illness: A multiperspective account of issues and interventions. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 77(3), 362–369.
What is depression? What causes depression? (2014). Medical News Today.