Photo by Amy Elizabeth Charron

Depression is not just a brief blue mood or sadness that lifts in a few hours or days. Rather, depression is a mood disturbance characterized by persistent feelings of sadness and negative thoughts. Some people also experience other symptoms such as changes in sleep or appetite, hopelessness, thoughts of suicide, reduced ability to concentrate, irritability, alcohol and drug abuse, low self-esteem, loss of sexual desire, fatigue, frequent crying, withdrawal from others, and loss of pleasure in living.

  • Mild depression is brief and usually does not require treatment. A change of pace or the passing of time will probably lighten the mood. Holidays, a move, a new term in school, a new baby, boredom, and frustration are examples of events that could trigger mild depression.
  • Moderate depression is similar to mild depression, but symptoms last longer and are more intense. A major life event, such as the loss of a loved one, a career setback, or a rape is often the cause. The person feels very down but is still able to cope with life. Sometimes suicide becomes a danger if feelings of hopelessness increase. Professional help may be necessary.
  • Severe depression is characterized by withdrawal from the outside world and major behavioral changes. People suffering from severe depression might have problems such as surviving a traumatic childhood, alcoholism, drug addiction, or schizophrenia. If mood swings alternate from extreme highs to extreme lows, the person may have Bipolar Disorder. Severe depression requires professional treatment that often includes medication.

Mild depression is America’s most common emotional disturbance and most people feel “blue” from time to time. Moderate to severe depression affects one in five people some time in their lives.

College students are at risk for developing depression because the college environment is often quite stressful. In fact, college students have a much higher than average rate of suicide!

Many people do not understand depression, and those who suffer from it are often unwilling to admit they have a problem. They may not recognize their symptoms, are afraid to ask for help, or are too depressed to take action. Untreated depression can interfere with school, work, and relationships.


If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please visit our Suicide Risk Reduction page.

The links below may help you understand and deal with Depression.

What causes Depression
What can I do to relieve Depression?
Men and Depression
Helpful Websites
How to Make an Appointment at CAPS

Other Helpful Links:

Depression Brochure
On-Line Screening for Depression, Anxiety, and PTSD
Recommended Reading
Stress Management and Relaxation Exercises
How to Make an Appointment At CAPS


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