In the know: Handling depressed patients’ expressions of negativity

Stressed Out Nurses Weekly, July 20, 2009

Appropriate treatment can help people who are depressed, and includes continual assessment. It's essential to monitor symptoms and a patient's response to medication. In general, remind patients that their negative feelings and attitudes are symptoms of their condition, and that positive thinking will replace negative thinking as they respond to treatment and their mood lifts. By doing this, you are also acknowledging that you believe the person is depressed and is not faking it. In addition, this provides hope that things will get better.

You can also:

  • Offer genuine emotional support: understanding, patience, affection, and encouragement
  • Point out realities and offer alternatives
  • Be nonjudgmental and accepting, and offer genuine praise
  • Engage the depressed person in conversation and listen carefully

Source: Stressed Out About Difficult Patients, HCPro, Inc. 2007. 

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