Clinical depression is more than feeling blue or sad for a few hours or days. It is a mood disorder that has a much stronger and longer-lasting impact on daily life.

Depression is the most common mood disorder experienced in the United States, and college students are at risk because of the stressful college environment. If depression goes untreated, it can interfere with school, work, relationships and all other aspects of life.

Symptoms of Depression

Here are some symptoms of depression that can vary in intensity:

• Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
• Frequent crying
• Increased use of alcohol and/or drugs
• Loss of sexual desire
• Thoughts of suicide
• Persistent sadness, anxiety, or "empty" mood
• Pessimism and feelings of hopelessness
• Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
• Change in sleep (e.g. difficulty sleeping, oversleeping, early-morning awakening)
• Appetite change such as overeating, under eating, weight loss or weight gain
• Decrease in energy. Feeling fatigued/ being "slowed down'
• Irritability/restlessness
• Lack of concentration, inability to concentrate, remember, or make decisions
• Physical symptoms such as chronic pain, headaches, digestive problems that do not respond to medical treatment

Types of Depression

Mild depression

Mild depression usually does not require treatment. It is brief and the symptoms are mild and are usually lifted with the passing of time. People may experience mild depression during transitions, holidays, stressful times, etc.

Moderate depression

Symptoms of moderate depression are more intense and have a longer duration. However, those suffering from moderate depression are usually able to manage and cope with life. Suicide may be a threat if there is an intense feeling of hopelessness. Professional help may be necessary. Moderate depression can be brought on by major life events such as death, rape, or career setback.

Severe depression

Severe depression requires professional treatment that often includes medication. A person suffering from severe depression often suffers from intense symptoms, behavior change, and social withdrawal. Severe depression can persist for a long period of time ranging from two weeks to many years.

Causes of Depression

Depression can develop due to a variety of circumstances and is usually due to a combination of reasons:

• Personality type
• Environmental influences
• Biochemical factors
• Genetic patterns
• Negative attitudes
• Seasonal change

For an online depression screening and/or more information about depression visit:

The National Institute of Mental Health :

The National Mental Health Association:

CONTACT Pittsburgh : 412-820-HELP

Resolve Crisis Network: 1.888.7.YOU CAN (1.888.796.8226)

La Roche University Counseling Services is located in Bold Hall Rooms 261 and 259 or by phone at 412-847-2506.