The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Depression cases increasing

By Eric Spikes/reporter

The percentage of people battling depression has risen every year in this country since the early 1900s. Today, one in six Americans will deal with the psychological illness at least once in their lives.

“It’s very disabling,” Dr. Janine Lund, psychology instructor, said during Lifting Depression without Drugs on South Campus March 25.

Depression is a serious state of mind, not fleeting or, in most cases, easily remedied, Lund said. Dictionary.com defines it as “a condition of general emotional dejection and withdrawal; sadness greater and more prolonged than that warranted by any objective reason.”

The definition indicates why someone suffering from depression would want to find a remedy quickly, Lund said.

“Depression doesn’t last forever,” she said. “To learn how to deal with it is very valuable.”

Lund focused on lifting depression with means other than, but in addition to, prescription drugs. She said human life has changed greatly from its hunting and gathering background. Humans were built for a certain life, Lund said, and have adapted to something else. Food, for most, is everywhere, so hunting now consists of starting a car and knowing how to order at a drive-thru.

“The way we are living now,” she said, “we were not designed to live this way.”

Lund cites lack of sleep, eating habits and lack of activity as major players in the game of depression. 

“We are much, much less active,” she said. “Our bodies are not meant to be that inactive.”

The way humans live today is a product of time. People were not going to spear mastodons forever. For one thing, the hairy creatures did not survive. For another, there were guns to make, houses to build and the printing press to design.

But, Lund said, the human mind, perhaps too smart for its own good, is capable enough to evolve.

Lund had some answers for people wanting to combat contributors to depression, suggesting first that sufferers of depression get involved with people.

“We may be connected electronically, but not very well physically,” she said.

In addition, Lund said it is important to adopt better eating habits. Fruits and veggies varied in color are choice building blocks to a stable body and mind. Fish, swimming with the essential fatty acid omega-3, are also great for the body. If one sails away from seafood, flaxseed and fish oil supplements are available, though not quite as effective.

Students offered ideas of their own for combating the illness. Kim Price-Stephenson, a South Campus student, said yoga helps improve her mood.

“What yoga focuses on is breathing,” she said. “The body needs oxygen to be efficient.”

The usual treatment for depression is nothing. Only half of those with the illness seek assistance. Lund said some do not even know they are depressed; this lack of awareness usually happens in men.

Alcohol is a popular self-treatment, but Lund said it is the wrong way to go because of health reasons. The right paths to seek for the dissolving of depression include seeing the family doctor or seeking professional counseling.

TCC students have full access to the counseling centers located on each campus.

SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION
• Persistent sad or anxious feeling
• Guilt or worthlessness
• Irritability, restlessness
• Loss of interest in longtime pleasures
• Difficulty concentrating
• Inability to make decisions
• Changes in eating, too much or too little
• Aches and pains

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