Depression changes lives

Depression is a psychological disease that can alter the lives of college students.

Darin Jacobs, 24, a Florida State University senior psychology student, said the challenges of attending college could be extremely stressful.

“Students are forced to deal with the pressures of moving away from home, living independently, financial difficulties and building new relationships.”

Jacobs said students experience depression because of the many changes that occur in college.

Depression has completely altered the life of a Tallahassee Community College student, Jacquelyn Lawrence.

Lawrence, 25, was diagnosed with depression eight months ago.

She said the overwhelming stress of balancing work and school were the reasons she was depressed.

“Depression has totally affected my life,” Lawrence said.

Gayle Freeman, a psychology assistant for the Psychiatric Group of North Florida, said when college students are diagnosed with depression their lives are completely altered.

“Many students become terrified of large crowds, prefer to be alone, sit in dark rooms and confine themselves to secluded areas,” Freeman said.

Depression can have a number of symptoms such as sadness, tiredness, irritability, a change in appetite, physical distress, difficulty concentrating and thoughts of suicide Freeman said.

Currently Lawrence is unemployed and said she has experienced symptoms of nausea, stress and exhaustion. She is unable to drive and relies on medication to help her manage daily activities.

Even though Lawrence was diagnosed with depression eight months ago, she said she is still trying to adjust to her new life.

“Depression has completely changed my life,” Lawrence said. “I am not the same person I used to be.”

According to the University of Michigan Depression Center, there are several alternatives to treating depression besides medications.

Alternatives such as psychotherapy, support groups, natural remedies, hypnosis, meditation and exercise are beneficial in treating depression.