Viviana Sanchez, Skyline Reporter
One in three college students in the United States suffers from depression. According to the American Psychological Association, 36% of U.S. college students are diagnosed with lifetime diagnoses of mental health conditions in 2017, compared with 22% in 2007. The percentage of students who received any mental health treatment, including therapy or medication, rose from 19% to 34% over that 10-year period.
Depression is a serious and common issue.
But how do you know if you have depression, or are just having a bad month? Everyone feels sad or “blue” from time to time, especially after a major loss, like the death of a loved one. For some college students, being away from home for the first time can cause mild depression for a few weeks or so.
But what if it’s more than just a temporary case of the blues?
According to the Mayo Clinic, depression can range from mild, temporary episodes of sadness to severe, persistent depression. Clinical depression is more severe than a temporary, mild case, and is also known as major depression or major depressive disorder. Clinical depression is a mood disorder that causes a person to feel a constant sadness or loss of interest in everyday activities.
Symptoms of clinical depression may include:
- Trouble concentrating, remembering details, or making decisions.
- Trouble sleeping (insomnia) or sleeping too much.
- Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” feelings.
- An increase or decrease in appetite
- A lack of interest in activities that used to be pleasurable
- Persistent feelings of guilt, hopelessness, or worthlessness
- Feeling like the world would be better off without you or suicide attempts
- Digestive problems that don’t get better, even with treatment.
- Persistent headaches or other body aches or cramps that won’t go away
Just because you have one or two of the above symptoms, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re suffering from depression. Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis.
There are several factors that can lead to depression in college students, including homesickness, financial or academic pressure, increased drinking and drug use, social isolation, and sexual or physical abuse. Left untreated, clinical depression will not go away on its own; it will only worsen with time. Treatment for depression includes talk therapy, anti-depressant medication, or a combination of the two. Your healthcare provider will help you determine the right treatment plan for you.
If you think you, or someone you know is suffering from depression, seek help by contacting the Sul Ross Counseling Center at 432-837-8203. The Center is located in Ferguson Hall, Room 112. Their business hours are Monday – Friday 8 am – 5 pm. The office is closed for lunch from 12 pm – 1pm. If you are having suicidal thoughts, call the suicide hotline immediately at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
There is no shame admitting you may have depression. As one third of our nation’s college students suffer from it, you’re not alone.