Article by Brandon Dawson (publication pending in FreshU)
College is stressful. There is no way around that. From grades and exams to relationships and social organizations, the average day at a university can hold a vast number of stressors that can seriously alter a student’s mood. However, if you find yourself repetitively falling into a bad mood or experiencing sadness for periods of time that are longer than usual, you could be experiencing symptoms of depression.
Symptoms of Depression
Depression is notably described as a mood disorder that fosters persistent feelings of sadness. Amongst the hustle and bustle of campus life, its important to know the various symptoms so that you can look for them in yourself, or possibly recognize them in a friend. Some of the symptoms (as provided by mayoclinic.org) may include:
- Perpetual feelings of sadness or hopelessness.
- Loss of interest in normal activities
- Loss of appetite
- Severe weight loss or gain
- Trouble concentrating or slowed thought
- Repetitive thoughts of death or suicide
These are just some of the many symptoms that could result from depression and different people can have varying combinations of symptoms. They can be extremely detrimental in your day-to-day activities on a college campus. By reading up on the possible symptoms, you can be better equipped to recognize depression for yourself or possibly help a friend.
There is no “one treatment fits all” when it comes to depression. Most people hear treatment and think of medication, however this isn’t the only option. Treatments can range from varying types of therapy, dietary changes, lifestyle changes, and medication as well. Additionally, there are a number of different types of depression that all can use different treatments. For example, one individual could be effectively treated through counseling and dietary changes while another may see a positive change from group therapy sessions, natural remedies, and medication. The important thing is to seek help if you think you or a friend may have depression, especially if it begins to negatively affect daily life. This could take many forms, including a drop in grades, withdrawal from social scenarios, or even an increase in getting sick.
Make sure to look into the services that are provided by your individual school! Colleges across the country have a number of mental health services from support groups to individualized therapy, and by quickly searching your university’s website, you can find a slew of potential options that fit you.
Even when students can identify that they may have depression or other mental illnesses, they often hesitate in seeking any form of help because of the foreboding stigma that surrounds mental illness and seeking professional help. Know that depression is nothing to be ashamed of and affects over 300 million people worldwide (according to the World Health Organization). There are numerous factors that play into the causes of depression, and many of which are biological.
On college campuses and in society in general, this mental health stigma can hinder students from seeking the necessary help they need in order to be happy, healthy, and productive on campus. If you think that you or a friend could be suffering from depression, don’t let societal stigmas hold you back from getting treatment.