Healthy Huskies: Dealing with depression  

Depression is a form of mental illness that is estimated to affect about 5% of adults, or about 280 million people worldwide. However, there is hope for depression. Illustration by Sarah Chantres/The Daily Campus

Depression is a form of mental illness that is estimated to affect about 5% of adults, or about 280 million people worldwide, according to the World Health Organization. It is also the leading cause of disability worldwide.  

Also according to WHO, Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a low mood and/or a loss of interest in activities that usually bring you pleasure. For example, if you are depressed you may find yourself sleeping more and engaging with friends much less. Your appetite may change and you might find yourself eating more or less than you usually do. You may start to fall behind in school and work. Overall, depression affects almost every aspect of your daily functioning.  

It’s important to stay on top of depression or depressive episodes because depression can lead to self-destructive behaviors such as self-harm. In some cases, depression may become so prevalent that the person experiencing the disorder either attempts or succeeds in taking their own life. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for people ages 15-25. It is estimated that about 1 million people every year commit suicide.  

However, there is hope for dealing with depression. In college, it can be easy to fall into depressive episodes. But by getting ahead of the episodes, you can have an easier time managing them.  

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) are two types of talk therapy that have proven effective in treating depression. Medication treatment is also an avenue that many people choose. There are various types of medications used to treat depression, but selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are most commonly prescribed. If you think you may benefit from these treatments, it’s important to reach out and find a therapist or a prescriber for medication. Getting outside, exercising enough and eating well can also be effective factors when it comes to dealing with depression.  

While not for everyone, psychedelic drugs have also been scientifically proven to help with treating depression. Psilocybin mushrooms can improve depression, anxiety, anorexia nervosa and addiction. Ketamine treatment is also becoming more commonplace. Today, there are dedicated ketamine treatment centers across the nation. During the treatment, you are monitored by a nurse or doctor while receiving an infusion of the chemical ketamine. Sometimes there is also a therapist present to guide you through the process.  

Ketamine treatment is proven to help treat severe depression, severe PTSD and suicidal ideation. It is also believed to help alleviate symptoms of numerous other mental illnesses like eating disorders, bipolar disorder, anxiety, addiction and obsessive-compulsive disorder. However, psychedelic treatment for mental health disorders is usually not recommended for patients with a family history of schizophrenia or other conditions that cause paranoia or delusions. It’s important to be self-aware and know what might work for you and what might not.   

If you are looking for mental health resources at UConn, visit the Student Health and Wellness website or call 860-486-4705 for more resources and information.  

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