Tips for Parents
Depression and College Students
Depression involves the body, mind and thoughts, impacting one's ability to sleep, study, work, eat, and enjoy life. It is more than feeling "down in the dumps" or "blue" for a few days. It's feeling "down" and "low" and "hopeless" for weeks at a time, with the inability to pull oneself together.
Chances are that your student may see someone in the throes of depression or may experience it himself during his time in college. Consider talking with your student about the signs and symptoms of depression — and what to do.
Signs and symptoms include:
Other Depressive Disorders
Bipolar Disorder is also called manic-depressive illness and is less prevalent. It involves cycling mood changes from severe highs (mania) to lows (depression). These mood switches are typically gradual but can occur in a rapid, dramatic manner. Mania may include:
Left untreated, mania may worsen to a psychotic state.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is characterized by periods of depression that accompany seasonal changes, usually in late fall and winter, although there is reverse SAD in the summer, too. In addition to symptoms of depression, daytime fatigue, oversleeping, craving carbs and weight gain can occur. A de-crease in light, either indoors or due to overcast days, can worsen symptoms.
There are plenty of professionals on campus available to help your student and his peers if they need it. Encourage your student to reach out to a residence life professional, the counseling center staff, or a faculty member he trusts if he needs assistance. Caring folks are ready with a listening ear.
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