Depression and Mood Disorders


If you are troubled by feelings of sadness or discouragement, you may wonder if you are depressed. Brief periods of a low mood are common and to be expected from time to time, particularly in times of stress or following a death, a loss, or disappointment. If these feelings persist, however, and are accompanied by difficulties in functioning day-to day, you may be experiencing an episode of major depression.

HOW DO I KNOW IF I’M DEPRESSED?

The actual diagnosis of depression is best left to a mental health professional. There are certain symptoms, however, for which to look. Listed below are some of the more common symptoms of depression:

•  Depressed or irritable mood that lasts for most of the day, and occurs nearly every day, for more than a week or two.

•  Disturbance in usual sleeping patterns, for example, insomnia, sleeping too much or too little.

•  Disturbance in appetite, with weight loss (when not dieting) or weight gain.

•  Loss of interest or pleasure in most usual activities, for example, socializing with friends, academic work, sports, etc.

•  Feelings of lethargy, fatigue, low energy, OR agitation.

•  Difficulty with concentration and decision-making.

•  Recurrent feelings of worthlessness, guilt, or hopelessness.

•  Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide.

•  Difficulty with functioning in personal, social, academic matters.

WHAT SHOULD I DO IF I THINK I MAY BE DEPRESSED?

You should consider consulting a mental health professional. CAPS is staffed by licensed clinical psychologists who understand the difficulties associated with depression and will work with you to help you assess your situation and your options for help. If your counselor believes you are depressed, s/he will explain your choices for intervention. These services, and short-term individual counseling sessions, are confidential and available free-of-charge to all full-time,degree-seeking students. If you would like more information on these or other mental health services, call CAPS at 654-1053, Monday through Friday, between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM.