Depression and sadness are not the same
How do you know when what you are
experiencing is just a bad day or something more serious? We all have
our ups and downs depending on how our day or week is going. The
transition from bad day to rut to clinical depression can be gradual and
leave even the strongest person thinking, "What is wrong with me? I
just have to try harder! Why am I so lazy? Why can't I get out of bed?"
The Signs of Clinical Depression
- Concentration is often impaired
- Inability to experience pleasure
- Increase in self-critical thoughts with a voice
in the back of one's mind providing a constant barrage of harsh,
- Sleep disturbance or unable to fall back to
- Feeling fatigued after 12 hours of sleep
- Decrease in appetite or food loses its taste
- Feelings of guilt, helplessness and/or
- Thoughts of suicide
- Increased isolation
- Missing deadlines or a drop in standards
- Change in personality
- Increased sexual promiscuity
- Increased alcohol/drug use
If someone experiences most of the
above symptoms for more than two weeks, there is a good chance they are
suffering from a clinical depression.
Frequently Asked Questions About Depression
WHAT IS CLINICAL DEPRESSION?
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad, but these
feelings are usually fleeting and pass within a couple of days. When a
person has a depressive disorder, it interferes with daily life, normal
functioning, and causes pain for both the person with the disorder and
those who care about him or her. Depression is a common but serious
illness, and most that experience it need treatment to get better. If we
have a family history of one of these illnesses, our susceptibility
increases. This explains how some develop a clinical depression only
after extraordinary stressors, while others develop clinical depression
seemingly out of the blue. Clinical depression is a very common illness
that affects approximately 3-5% of the population at any one time. There
is a 20% chance of having an episode of clinical depression at some
point in one's life. The percentages are similar for the general
population and college students.
CLINICAL DEPRESSION TREATABLE?
Clinical depression is readily treatable with
counseling and/or medication. Medication can correct the chemical
imbalance (low levels of brain serotonin and norepinephrine) that is
found in people with symptoms consistent with clinical depression.
Unfortunately, fifty percent of people who have clinical depression
never get help and suffer silently. Untreated, the average clinical
depression can last 9-12 months. With treatment, people often report
significant relief within 4-6 weeks.
IS SUSCEPTIBLE TO CLINICAL DEPRESSION?
Clinical depression often has its first onset in people between
the ages of 18 and 22. Many stressors are inherent to these years that
may contribute to the onset depression: separating physically and
psychologically from one's family; managing the increase in freedom;
developing and losing love relationships; dealing with the successes and
disappointments that occur in academic, athletic, and extracurricular
activities; choosing a major; finding a job; leaving the familiarity and
security of college.
IF A FRIEND NEEDS HELP?
In general, when approaching a friend, it is most
helpful to state what behaviors you have noticed that are of concern, 'I
noticed that you have not left your room for the past few days and you
have not been going to class.' It is okay to ask about suicide directly.
One does not increase the risk of suicide by asking about it; in fact,
many people are relieved. If the student is having serious suicidal
thoughts, it would be important to call the Counseling Center to have
the student seen right away. A counselor can also give advice on how to
approach a friend one is concerned about. If it is after hours and you
are concerned your friend may attempt to hurt him/herself, call
University Police or 911.
DO I GO FOR HELP?
The Counseling Center is open from 8:00 am to
5:00 pm, Monday through Friday during the academic year to assist
students. We are located in Hazen Hall, close to residence halls,
academic buildings, and across the courtyard from the Albert Brown
Building (formally the Faculty Office Building) and Dailey Hall. Appointments
are encouraged and can be made preferably stopping by the office to
fill out paperwork.
Relevant Web Sites: