All of us have felt “down” or discouraged at times in our lives when things don’t seem to be going well. These feelings may be nothing more than normal variations in our moods over time and even day-to-day. However, depression is a disturbance in our mood where we may feel particularly unhappy, discouraged, lonely or negative toward ourselves.

Depression may range from very mild, to moderate or severe forms, depending on the symptoms associated with each condition and the extent to which the condition interferes with our everyday lives. In milder cases of depression, down or depressed moods are usually brief in duration and may have little effect on following through on our every day activities. Cases of depression that are more moderate to severe include symptoms that are stronger or more intense, last a longer duration of time, and tend to interfere more with our functioning in usual activities or in our relationships.

Symptoms of depression include:

  • Depressed mood
  • Lack of interest or pleasure
  • Hopelessness
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Feelings of worthlessness or guilt
  • Diminished motivation and ability to concentrate
  • Disturbances in sleep and/or appetite

There are many things people can do to help cope with depression. One of the best steps to take is to make an appointment with a trained counselor to evaluate the nature of the depression and the most appropriate methods and strategies to help deal with it. More information and help is available on the Virginia Tech campus through the counseling center. You can make an appointment to discuss your concerns with a counselor by calling Cook Counseling Center at 540-231-6557.