Tag Archive for sadness

Depression on the Rise in College Students

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

One out of every four college students that visits their universities health centers turns out to be depressed; two to three percent of them are suicidal, according to Maria Paul at Northwestern University.  This is a scary number, one that has in fact grown astronomically in the past decade.  The study also concludes that more discussion on depression symptoms and screenings need to occur in the college clinics and on campus.  Read more here

Young adults who are suffering from depression and anxiety are more resilient in their college years, and therapy, medication, and awareness are key in prevention of life-long suffering. Although they are going through major life changes; homesickness, changing friend groups, managing time, poor diet, there is room to grow and change neurochemically. For more information on findings of current research and the American Psychological Association (APA) suggests click here for the NPR story.

Symptoms of depression, especially in college-aged persons are:

  • An overwhelming feeling of sadness or despair
  • A feeling of hopelessness and that “it’s never going to get better”
  • A loss of interest in activities that typically make you happy
  • Physical aches and pains, such as back pain, that seem to have no cause
  • Appetite changes
  • Excessive weight loss or gain over a short period of time
  • Fatigue
  • Lack of motivation
  • Sleep disturbances (either insomnia or the desire to sleep excessively)
  • Strong feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or low self-esteem
  • Strong feelings of worry or anxiety
  • Trouble with concentration
  • Thoughts of death or suicide (seek help immediately!)

Read more at Suite101: College Students and Depression: Common Signs, Symptoms, and Experiences http://www.suite101.com/content/college-students-and-depression-a18745#ixzz1BVMQsAWR

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The Depressed Brain: Alternative Treatments

By Emily Roberts MA, LPC

It is estimated that 25 percent of the American population will experience depression at some point in their lives.  What we do know is that depression is treatable, and a variety approaches have been proven effective for reducing and overcoming symptoms.   Many consumers and those who suffer from depression symptoms are under the impression that medication is the only option.  This is not the case.

A study funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and GlaxoSmithKline (a pharmaceutical corporation), indicates that cognitive therapy is at least as effective as medication for long-term treatment of severe depression, and it is less expensive.  This is not to say that medication is not effective, but rather that there are often options, such as talk therapy, that are overlooked by the average consumer.  We are told by commercials, friends, and even our physicians that depression can be treated with medications, but there are other options.

A recent article by Dr. Daniel Amen confirmed that natural supplements are effective in treating the neurological imbalances causing depression symptoms. Dr. Amen, author of Change Your Brain Change Your Life, is a renowned physician, child and adult psychiatrist, and brain imaging specialist.  He discusses the surprising outcomes after speaking to a group of UC Psychiatrists:

As a group, they were very interested in learning about using natural supplements as a way to treat their patients. You have to understand that in most traditional psychiatry programs in the U.S., the use of natural supplements as a treatment option is NOT part of the curriculum. Most psychiatrists get absolutely NO training in this.

And that’s a real shame. Because there are many supplements that have A level (strong) or B level (good) scientific evidence that they are effective in treating a number of mental disorders. Here are some examples:

  • St. John’s wort, SAMe, and sage have A level evidence that they help with depression.
  • 5-HTP, omega-3s, saffron, and DHEA have B level evidence that they reduce symptoms of depression.
  • St. John’s wort, 5-HTP, and inositol have B level evidence that they calm anxiety.
  • 5-HTP has B level evidence that it helps with weight loss.
  • Ginkgo biloba and sage have A level evidence that they enhance memory.
  • Huperzine A, vinpocetine, acetyl-l-carnitine, phosphatidylserine, and omega-3s have B level evidence that they boost memory.
  • Melatonin has A level evidence that it improves sleep.

For more on Dr. Amen Click Here

What has been confirmed by the scientific community is that most forms of depression can be traced to imbalances in neurotransmitter levels, more specifically Serotonin levels.  These levels can be depleted through genetics, or environmental triggers (stress, trauma, and lifestyle).  Serotonin is one of the primary inhibitory (calming) neurotransmitters in the central nervous system.  Serotonin plays a role in so many areas of the body, and is one of the first neurotransmitters to become depleted.  It is involved in balancing mood, apatite, sugar and carbohydrate cravings (due to low Serotonin levels), sleep cycle regulation, pain receptors (including headaches and muscle pain), and many more.  When looking for alternative options to treating depression, testing ones brain chemistry is extremely important in identifying the neurotransmitters that are out of balance, and is another option for treating depression.  For more information on neurotransmitter testing and depression Click Here.

*If you or someone you know is suffering from depression please contact your practitioner immediately.

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