My friend has been acting strange lately, not like himself. He used to be social and always ready for fun, but now he doesn’t want to hang out anymore. He mumbles about “what’s the point of anything” and he’s drinking more and more when he’s alone. I’m afraid for him but I’m not sure how to help.
The warning bells that are going off about your friend are right on– it seems like the social person you used to know is pulling away from his friends and he seems to be suffering now. The Campaign to Change Direction has identified five signs that may mean someone is in emotional distress and needs help:
- Personality Change: Does the person seem different from before? Personality changes can happen suddenly or over time.
- Agitation: Is the person more angry, anxious, or moody than before? Perhaps the person has trouble controlling his/her temper or seem unable to sleep or relax.
- Withdrawal: Has the person started to isolate him/herself from other people? Withdrawal can be social, such as pulling away from friends, or more severe, such as not showing up for work or school.
- Poor Self-care: Is the person no longer taking care of him/herself or engaging in risky behavior? You may notice poor judgement, personal hygiene deteriorating, or other self-destructive behaviors that aren’t healthy.
- Hopelessness: Does the person seem overwhelmed by their circumstances? Perhaps the person used to be optimistic, even when facing personal or family struggles, but now he/she is hopeless about a positive future. Feelings of worthlessness, shame, and loneliness can lead to suicidal thinking or expressing a need to disappear.
After reading these five signs, which ones do you notice in your friend?
The most important thing to do is reach out to your friend with caring and hope. Your connection with him can be a powerful antidote to his emotional pain and you can offer to help him find relief. It may take more than one offer, and you may need to reach out to others who share your concern about him.
Emily Cook Therapy has immediate openings for new individual therapy appointments in Bethesda MD. Call us today. We can help.