Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Depression Among College Students - An Essay - By Michael Cooper

Depression among college students, with a focus on Freshmen.

Who is at risk, and what can be done?

Graduation time rolls around, and you already know where you will end up next year for college. Your two best friends will be joining you there, where you will all live in the same apartment complex. You have already put your first payment, and deposit in preparation. Now you wait.

When the time comes around, you pack up and move thousands of miles just to go to college. You haven't heard from either of your friends yet, and you can feel the anticipation welling in your gut. You are so excited, you haven't heard from them all summer. Then you find out they never came. Both decided on going to a different college without you, or telling you. You keep telling yourself you will cope, and make new friends, but you still feel lonely and rejected. Once you are actually in college, things are harder than you expected. You don't have a car, so it is harder to get around buying food, finding a bank, and getting school supplies. Often times you find yourself taking naps, or just sleeping, because you can't focus, or feel overwhelmed. One of the many signs of depression.

Money is tight, and you don't have a job, because you can't find any job openings within walking distance, you are afraid to ride the bus, because it is such a big city, compared to the one you came from. You biggest fear is getting lost, and not being able to make it home.

You often times feel overwhelmed by homework and such. You can never do it quite good enough, and are often times to shy to ask for help, so you sit in silence, confused, and helpless, like a grain of sand on a beach. Not noticed and not much potential.

This is the story of a college freshman. Probably many. That guy who sits next to you in math class, struggling with theorems, or that girl in your chem. class, under pressure to learn her Periodic Table of Elements. Who ever it is, they are there.

Depression effects 76 out of a 100 college students. Mainly freshmen entering a new world so to speak. Often times you won't see it right away or not at all. This is an age group that's tricky, states a psychologist at Davidson College in North Carolina, DeWitt Crosby said, They are adults by law, but they're still dealing with making decisions on their own.

More attention is spent on alcohol consumption, and crimes among students, so that little energy or money is left for the awareness or the treatment of mental health. Often times the only funding is for counselors who will perform รข scattershot therapy. They don't actually treat what is wrong, but try to cover many possibilities of what could be wrong within a short period of time.

USA TODAY states in a recent study 14% of the 701 students who took a survey in the Boston area showed significant symptoms of depression, and over half of them could qualify as having major depression. If treatment of the depression was sought, at least 80% would get better.

The National Survey of Counseling Center Directors reported an 85% increase in severe psychological problems over the past five years. Also 30% reported at least one student suicide on their campus within the last (2001/2002) school year.

A hard part in treating depression is recognizing it. Some major symptoms of depression as told by www.campusblues.com are as follows.

1. Sadness, anxiety, or empty feelings
2· Decreased energy, fatigue, being slowed down
3. Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
4.· Sleep Disturbances (insomnia, oversleeping, or waking much earlier than usual)
5· Appetite and weight changes (either loss or gain)
6· Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness
7· Thoughts off death or suicide, or suicide attempts
8· Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
9· Irritability or excessive crying
10 · Chronic aches and pains not explained by another physical condition

It's normal to have these feelings at one time or another, but five or more, for a two week or longer period is something to pay attention too. Also watch for changes in the way the person functions. The anxiety is normal in college, when you are studying for classes, or preparing to take a test, but when it rules your life, and they way you think and act is a time to seek help and gain control again.

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