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Coping with Depression

People often use the word “depression” to refer to general, everyday feelings of sadness or being down. In fact, depression is a condition that can affect a person’s ability to work, study, interact with people or take care of themselves. The symptoms of depression can last months to years if untreated.

Depression isn’t always easy to spot. 

It may be expressed through the abuse of drugs and alcohol; sexual promiscuity; or hostile, aggressive, and risk-taking behavior. Many factors can contribute to the onset of depression, including the presence of other emotional disorders, stress, poor nutrition, physical illness, personal loss and relationship difficulties.

The good news is that depression is highly treatable. Medication and/or counseling can help. It is not uncommon for people who are depressed to think about suicide, and it is important to for someone having these thoughts to seek help immediately.

Signs and Symptoms of Depression

  • Persistently sad, anxious, irritable or empty mood
  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Feeling tired or rundown
  • Significant change in appetite and/or weight
  • Anger and rage
  • Overreaction to criticism
  • Feeling unable to meet expectations
  • Difficulty thinking, concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Feeling restless or agitated
  • Feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness or guilt
  • Persistent physical symptoms such as headaches, digestive problems or chronic pain that do not respond to routine treatment
  • Substance abuse problems
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide

The above information was taken with permission from The Jed Foundation.

Self-assessment for depression

  • During the last couple of weeks, have you been sad or depressed most days?
  • Have you lost pleasure in your normal activities?
  • Have you been eating significantly less food recently?
  • Have you been feeling misplaced guilty or worthless?
  • Have you had trouble falling asleep most nights or are sleeping more than normal?
  • Have you had difficulty concentrating most days?
  • Have you been having recurrent suicidal ideation? (please come to the Student Care Office or seek help immediately) / http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/ 1-800-273-TALK

If you answered yes to four or more of the questions above, we recommend that you come to see us at Student Counseling Services.

Links for Additional Information

Christianity Today- The Depression Epidemic

Books on Depression

Moving Beyond Depression: A Whole-Person Approach to Healing- Gregory L. Jantz and Ann McMurray

The Dark Night of the Soul: A Psychiatrist Explores the Connection Between Darkness and Spiritual Growth –Gerald G. Mays

The Mindful Way Through Depression: Freeing Yourself from Chronic Unhappiness- Mark Williams, John Teasdale, Zindel Segal, Jon Kabat-Zinn

When the Darkness will not Lift: Doing what we can while we wait for God—and Joy – John Piper.

While these books and links are resources to use, Student Counseling Services at Liberty University is not endorsing these books and websites or the authors of the books or websites.

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