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Understanding

Depression

What causes Depression?


Family History
Having

a family members who have


depression may increase a persons
risk
Imbalances of certain chemicals in
the brain may lead to depression

Major Life Changes


Positive

or negative
events can trigger
depression.
Examples include the
death of a loved one
or a promotion.
Major Illnesses such
as heart attack,
stroke or cancer may
trigger depression.

Certain

medications used
alone or in combination can
cause side effects much like
the symptoms of depression.
Use of Alcohol or other Drugs
can lead to or worsen
depression.
Depression can also occur for
no apparent reason!

Symptoms of Depression
Vary from person to

person

2 key signs are loss of

interest in things you


like to do and sadness
or irritability

Additional Signs include:


Changes in feelings which may include:
Feeling

empty
Inability to enjoy anything
Hopelessness
Loss of sexual desire
Loss of warm feelings for family or friends
Feelings of self blame or guilt
Loss of self esteem
Inexplicable crying spells, sadness or
irritability

Changes in behavior and


attitude
These may include:
General

slowing down
Neglect of responsibilities and appearance
Poor memory
Inability to concentrate
Suicidal thoughts, feelings or behaviors
Difficulty making decisions

Physical Complaints
These may include:
Sleep

disturbances such as
early morning waking, sleeping
too much or insomnia
Lack of energy
Loss of appetite
Weight loss or gain
Unexplained headaches or
backaches
Stomachaches, indigestion or
changes in bowl habits

Common Types of Depression


Major Depression
Dysthymia
Bipolar Disorder
Seasonal Affective Disorder

(SAD)

Major Depression
This type causes symptoms that may:
Begin suddenly, possibly triggered by a loss,
crisis or change
Interfere with normal functioning
Continue for months or years
It is possible for a person to have only one
episode of major depression. It is more
common for episodes to be long lasting or to
occur several times during a persons life

Dysthymia
People with this illness are mildly

depressed for years. They function


fairly well on a daily basis but their
relationships suffer over time.

Bipolar Disorder
People with this type of illness change back and

forth between periods of depression and periods


of mania (an extreme high).
Symptoms of mania may include:
Less

need for sleep


Overconfidence
Racing thoughts
Reckless behavior
Increased energy
Mood changes are usually gradual, but can be sudden

Season Affective Disorder


This is a depression that results from

changes in the season. Most cases


begin in the fall or winter, or when there
is a decrease in sunlight.

Professional treatment is
necessary for all these types
of depression.

Treatment for Depression


Medication
Antidepressants

can help ease the


symptoms of depression and return a
person to normal functioning.
Antidepressants are not habit forming.

Psychotherapy
This can help many depressed people

understand themselves and cope with


their problems. For example:
Interpersonal

therapy works to change


relationships that affect depression
Cognitive-behavioral therapy helps people
change negative thinking and behavior
patterns

If you or someone you know


has symptoms of
depression

Take Action!

See a doctor for a complete check up.

Go to the Student Counseling Center

and talk to a counselor (237-3939).


Talk things over with a friend, family
member or a residential life staff
member.

Dont expect too much of yourself


Take a break
Get some exercise
Avoid extra stress and big changes

Things to do
Reduce or eliminate the use of alcohol

or drugs
Exercise or engage in some form of
physical activity
Eat a proper, well-balanced diet

Obtain an adequate amount of sleep


Seek emotional support from family and

friends
Focus on positive aspects of your life
Pace yourself, modify your schedule,
and set realistic goals

Things to Avoid
Dont make long-term commitments or

important decisions unless necessary


Dont assume things are hopeless
Dont engage in emotional reasoning (i.e.:
because I feel awful, my life is terrible)
Dont assume responsibility for events which
are outside of your control
Dont avoid treatment as a way of coping

Intervening with a depressed


friend
Be empathetic and understanding
Dont try to cheer up a depressed

person
Avoid critical or shaming statements
Challenge expressions of hopelessness
Empathize with feelings of sadness,
grief, anger and frustration

Helping a depressed friend


Dont argue about how bad things are
Dont insist that depression or sadness

are the wrong feelings to be


experiencing
Dont become angry even though your
efforts may be resisted or rejected

Helping a depressed
friend
Advocate for their recovery

from depression
Emphasize that depression is treatable
Seek consultation
Encourage them to seek help, go with
them to the counseling center
Be supportive of counselor or doctor
suggestions

ISU Student Counseling Center


Student Services Bldg., Lower Level
FREE!!! FREE!!! FREE!!!
Confidential
Typically students come for 6-8 sessions
Individual, Group and Couples

counseling
812-237-3939
http://www.indstate.edu/cns