among college students rising
By Jason Chesney
October 25, 2006 | We all experience feelings of being
stressed, overwhelmed, lonely, sad or inadequate from
time to time. But for some, those feelings may last
continuously for weeks, or months, or even years. Such
feelings that last are signs of depression, which, according
to Dr. Jim Davis, the director of student health and
wellness at Utah State University is the "number three
The number of cases of depression on college students
has risen significantly over the last three years. According
to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association,
"15 percent of all college students qualify as being
Davis explained that clinical depression is a lack
of neurotransmitters, or electrical charges that work
to stimulate the nerves in the brain making us feeling
happy or pleased. In most cases of depression the brain
re-absorbs these charges before they have a chance to
stimulate the nerves. When someone lacks the adequate
amounts of neurotransmitters, feelings of worthlessness
or sadness begin to take over.
The re-absorption of these neurotransmitters can be
triggered in a variety ways. Sleep deprivation, mourning
the loss of a loved one, stress, genetics, diet, and
nutrition are all ways that depression can start.
Davis mentioned that the advancement of technology
and the increasing demands of education have also be
causes of depression. "Without a doubt we've become
In today's society, communication is electronic, classes
can be taken on the Internet, and everything is available
right at our finger tips due to the advancement of technology.
"We have taught ourselves to be impatient," said Davis.
"We have taught ourselves to be impatient, because everything
is so immediate now."
According to a report entitled Depression, Suicide
Stalk College Students, given by ABC World News,
1,100 college students commit suicide every year due
Tom Berry, a psychology resident at the USU Counseling
Center, said some signs that a person may be depressed
to the point of being suicidal are "any changes from
the previous level of functioning." Signs that person
may be contemplating suicide is when there is a transition
from being socially withdrawn, having increased fatigue
or an inability to focus on common tasks, to a sudden
spark of energy and motivation. Another sign is when
someone begins to give away their most valued possessions,
but Berry remarked, "We don't see that very often."
The number of college students experiencing depression
has gone up so much that the University of Michigan
has posted a webpage on their site that informs incoming
freshmen of depression, how to recognize it, and how
to overcome it.
According to the Journal of American College Health,
students with a lifetime diagnosis of depression, or
who have received treatment from depression are seven
times more likely to use tobacco than other students.
Students with depression will often turn to substance
abuse because they need a vice to temporarily numb them
from the emotional pain that depression causes. But,
there are other options than turning to addiction. There
are treatments that will work.
Davis suggests that the best for of treatment for
depression be prescribed medication and professional
counseling. The amount of counseling a medicine all
depends on the severity of the case. Davis explained
that treatments are all just "trial and error."
United for Mental Health lists ways to overcome
depression. The most common ways are to stay current
on schoolwork, and become socially active by communicating
with friends and family members, getting involved in
clubs and campus organizations, and talking to a friend
about everyday problems.
Another treatment for depression is diet and rigorous
exercise. A daily routine of exercise will release endorphins,
which are hormones that will help to boost the amount
of neurotransmitters in the brain.