Everyone feels down from time to time.
What makes depression different?
Depression is different from being down because it tends to affect everything we do. Depression can range from mild to severe.
Students are often prone to depression while coping with the multiple pressures of school, work, friends, and family.
How will I know if I’m depressed?
If you’ve been feeling miserable more often than not over the past two weeks or more, and you’ve stopped enjoying things that used to be fun, you might be depressed. Check the symptoms below – if you are feeling three or more, it is likely you are experiencing a bout of depression.
- Finding it hard to get motivated and feel interested in things
- Wanting to avoid friends and everyday activities
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
- Losing interest in eating, or overeating
- Losing weight without dieting, or gaining weight
- Finding it difficult to get to sleep, waking during the night, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep. Alternatively, wanting to sleep all the time.
- Thinking about or planning suicide
- Having unpleasant, negative thoughts (like feeling guilty or that you are a bad or unworthy person)
- Getting pains in your body or headaches that don’t seem to have any physical cause
Additional symptoms may include:
- Emotional – sadness, anxiety, guilt, anger, irritability, mood swings, helplessness, hopelessness, worthlessness. Alternatively, lack of emotional responsiveness, feeling “numb.”
- Physical – Digestive problems, gradual loss of sexual desire, irregular menstrual period
- Behavioral – Crying for no apparent reason, withdrawal, getting angry easily, and loss of interest in one’s physical appearance or personal hygiene, turning to drugs and/or alcohol. Impaired memory, inability to concentrate, indecisiveness, and confusion
- Thoughts/Perceptions – Criticizing oneself frequently, blaming oneself, being pessimistic about the future
Clinical depression is a lot more common than most people think. It affects more than 13 million Americans every year. Two out of three students who suffer from depression never get help. Depression is known to weaken the immune system, increasing susceptibility to physical illness. Women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression as men. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
What causes people to become depressed?
Depression can be caused by biological, genetic, or environmental factors. Common triggers for depression include:
- Significant loss
- Loss of control over the environment. The person feels that nothing can be done to change unfortunate events in life.
- Unrealistic expectations
- Perceived failure
- Negative thinking which gradually becomes self-defeating
Here are some tips to help:
Sleep: Put yourself on a regular schedule (which is hard for college students). Try to go to bed around the same time every night or average the same amount of sleep. This will increase your energy and help you feel better.
Exercise: Take a walk, go to the gym, or try a yoga class. Get moving! Exercise has been shown to lift the mood.
Be healthy: Eat a balanced diet and avoid caffeine and sugar.
Be social: Even though you really do not feel like being around others, make the effort to hang out with friends and family. They miss you and you probably miss them too.
Keep a journal: Writing down your thoughts and feelings can be a huge relief, plus it gets them out of your head and onto the page.
Pay attention: Try to be aware of your negative thoughts and replace them with more positive ideas.
Focus on the positive: Make a list of your positive accomplishments.
Write assignments down: Since you are having difficulty remembering or concentrating, be sure to write down assignments and appointments. Be sure to check your to-do list or calendar everyday.
Be patient with yourself: Remember you did not become depressed overnight. It will take some time to feel better.
Increase social support: Talk to friends and family. Confide in others. Seek professional treatment through counseling.
Follow through: Be sure to follow the recommendations of your therapist and your physician.
Depression can be treated by psychotherapy, medication, or a combination of both. Consult a professional to discover what types of treatments may work best for you.
Intervention with Others
The most important thing to remember as you help someone with depression is to remain supportive. Blaming the depression on the person, trying to make them “snap out of it,” and other confrontational techniques can backfire and make the situation worse.
- Sometimes it is helpful just to have someone listen while he/she ventilates.
- Don’t feel you have to solve their problem, rather help him/her find ways of coping.
- Don’t try to cheer up the individual. This may give the message that the feelings of depression are not okay.
- Don’t sympathize and claim that you feel the same way.
- Try not to get angry with the depressed person.
- Encourage the person to use self-help techniques and contact a mental health professional for assistance.
Wayne College offers free counseling services to enrolled students.
Visit the Smucker Learning Center or call (330)684-8960 to schedule an appointment.
The Counseling Center of Wayne and Holmes Counties
Wooster Location: 2285 Benden Drive (330)264-9029
Orrville Location: 345 South Crown Hill Drive (330)683-5106
Rittman Location: 8 North Main Street (330)925-5466
*Crisis Assistance available 24/7*
Catholic Charities of Wayne County
521 Beall Avenue, Wooster, OH 44691
STEPS at Liberty Center
Gault Liberty Center
104 Spink Street, Wooster, OH 44691
Your Human Resource Center
Wooster Location: 2587 Back Orrville Road (330)264-9597 or (800)721-YHRC
Orrville Location: 119 East Market Street (330)682-5800
Millersburg Location: 186 West Jackson Street (330)674-4608
Rittman Location: 51 North Main Street (330)927-2244
National Institute of Mental Health