The Basics: Depression
Depression can affect a person’s ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves. The symptoms of depression can last months to years if untreated.
Depression isn’t always easy to spot. It may be expressed through the abuse of drugs and alcohol or hostile, aggressive, and risk-taking behavior. Many factors can contribute to the onset of depression, including the presence of other emotional disorders, stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss and relationship difficulties. Not everyone experiences depression in the same way. Some people may experience primarily behavioral changes, some mainly emotional changes, and still others mostly physical changes.
You Should Know
- Depression affects about 19 million people in the US every year, and 1 in 5 at some point in their lifetimes.
- According to the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (ACHA/NCHA), the rate of students reporting ever being diagnosed with depression increased 56% from 2000 to 2005.
- Friends are often clued into each other’s state of mind: according to research conducted by mtvU and The Jed Foundation, more than 80% of college sophomores recognize that friends have experienced issues like depression, withdrawal and feeling overwhelmed.
- The majority (80-90%) of people who receive treatment for depression experience significant improvement, and almost all individuals gain some relief from their symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms
- Persistently sad, anxious, irritable or empty mood
- Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, including sex
- Withdrawal from friends and family
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
- Feeling tired or rundown
- Significant change in appetite and/or weight
- Anger and rage
- Overreaction to criticism
- Feeling unable to meet expectations
- Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
- Feeling restless or agitated
- Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, or guilt
- Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment
- Substance abuse problems
- Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
- College and Drinking: Things to Keep in Mind
- Dealing with Setbacks
- Finding Help Off Campus
- Finding Help On Campus
- Getting Help
- Keep Stress in Check
- Medical Leave of Absence
- Mental Health Conditions: Privacy and Telling Others
- Preventing Suicide
- The Basics: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
- The Basics: Bipolar Disorder
- The Basics: Alcohol and Drug Dependence and Abuse
- The Basics: Anxiety Disorders
- The Basics: Depression
- The Basics: Eating Disorders
- The Basics: Schizophrenia
- The Basics: Self-Injury (Cutting)
- The Negative Effects of Stress
- Three Important Guidelines for Transitioning with a Diagnosed Condition
- Transferring Treatment to College
- Types of Mental Health Professionals
- What Every Student Needs to Know
- Who Will Struggle with Mental Illness?
- Your First Counseling Appointment: Questions to Ask