because it's your health...

Tip of the Week:

What about depression?

We all feel down at one time or another. It is normal to feel sad when a relationship ends, a good friend moves away, or someone we care about dies. The stress of a heavy study load, financial difficulties or unemployment also affects our mood. Gloomy feelings are not uncommon and they tend to pass. Most people still experience happy times in the company of friends or family. But, there are times when sadness gives way to depression, when the gloomy moods don't go away and people stop enjoying things that used to be fun. Depression can affect anyone at any time, due to stress, family background and other circumstances.

If you've been experiencing five or more of the following symptoms for two weeks or more, you might be depressed and talking with someone who can help is strongly recommended:

· Feeling very sad most of the time, all day.

· Stopped enjoying things that used to be fun.

· Finding it hard to get motivated and to feel interested in things.

· Wanting to avoid friends and everyday activities.

· Difficulty concentrating.

· Difficulty making decisions.

· Diminished interest in eating, or overeating. Losing weight without dieting, or gaining weight.

· Finding it difficult to fall asleep, waking repeatedly during the night, or waking too early and not being able to get back to sleep even though you are tired. Alternatively, wanting to sleep all the time but not feeling rested even after a long sleep.

· Thinking about or planning suicide.

· Having unpleasant negative thoughts about yourself most of the time. Also, feeling hopeless about your future.

· Feeling that you have no energy or are fatigued all the time.

If you think that you might be depressed there are some things you need to know. Depression is more common than most people think and one or two in every seven people will experience an episode of depression at some stage in their lives. Depression can be treated. Options for dealing with depression include talking with a psychologist or counselor, who can do the following:

· Help you learn skills for solving problems.

· Help you learn to plan ahead and deal with everyday life.

· Help you learn how to improve your interactions with others.

· Help you see the positive side of yourself and increase your self-esteem.

· Help you learn how to challenge negative thoughts about the circumstances and the people that surround you.

· Assist your relationships with others.

You can also speak with a psychiatrist, who can help you determine if an antidepressant medicine is appropriate for your situation.

Often counseling, healthy lifestyle changes (i.e., reducing stress, cutting down on alcohol) and compliance with medication are all necessary for treating depression. If you have more questions please visit the counseling Web site at for anonymous depression screenings or call Counseling Services at 245-5716 to set up a time to speak with one of the staff psychologists.

Question: My boyfriend wants to have sex without a condom because I am on the pill and I was recently tested for STIs. I told him not until he gets tested but he thinks there is no way he can have an STI because he only had sex with one girl before he started dating me and they broke up over a year ago. I don't think it is likely that he has anything but shouldn't he get tested anyways since things like chlamydia don't always have symptoms? How likely is it that he could have gotten something over a year ago and still not know?

Answer: You are absolutely right in requesting that your boyfriend be tested even if chances are unlikely he has a problem. The one infection that no one can be absolutely sure they are free from is HPV, which is the virus that causes warts. Other than a pap smear for women, there is no general screening available for HPV; also, a pap smear will only detect cervical HPV, not genital. This, like other infections, can be dormant in a person and never cause a symptom, yet can still be passed on to other people. So, until you are in a secure committed relationship, and both partners have been tested, it is best to continue using condoms.