Depression: Not Just During the Holidays

20141115_132624By Richie Frazier

From classic winter specials playing on TV to Christmas carols heard in the mall, the holiday season is considered a joyous time for many; however, what some consider a merry time, others consider a struggle.

“People usually take this time to reflect on past and present family dynamics, which can cause people to focus on unpleasant events or become overwhelmed regarding upcoming events,” said Karen Johnson, a Clark County School District counselor. “During this process people can become depressed and have a hard time pulling out of the depression. If you know someone that is depressed, stop everything to listen and watch their body language, which could tell an active listener a lot.”

“If an individual does not have a strong support network, faith, spirituality or coping skills, then the idea of the holidays and what it stands for can seem overbearing and detrimental,” said Dr. Terry Bahr, clinical studies professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Bahr also suggests that if one is suffering from depression to seek help by first going to an internal-medicine doctor for a check-up to discuss what is going on and to be assessed.

One phenomenon of depression, which might be a reason why some students feel down, is known as Seasonal Affective Disorder. According to the Nation Alliance on Mental Illness, an organization that advocates services, treatment and support, stated on its website, “SAD is characterized by recurrent episodes of depression usually in late fall and winter, alternating with periods of normal or high mood the rest of the year.”

At any point in time 3 to 5 percent of people suffer from major depression, according to Anxiety and Depression Association of America’s website, an organization that promotes prevention and treatment for depression and related disorders.

Major depression is a treatable illness.

“I often recommend that clients seek a medical evaluation in order to obtain a more comprehensive evaluation and treatment,” said Dr. Marie Worsham, a College of Southern Nevada clinical psychologist. “Research on the treatment of depression suggests that the combination of medication and counseling lead to the best outcomes.”

“When depressed, you tend to view the world in dark-colored glasses,” said Lisa Schapiro, a clinician for CSN’s Counseling and Psychological Services. “Things can get better when you receive help.” Schapiro also suggests gathering support. If someone is suffering, it is best not to go through it alone.

April Stevens, a CCSD school psychologist, advises individuals suffering from depression to have at least one person who they trust and love that can be an advocate for them by offering support. “Join a support group or get involved in activities such as baseball, working out or cooking classes where they can meet people who make them feel they belong.”

Services are offered on campus for students who would like counseling at CAPS. Click this link for more information


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