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Wednesday,November 20,2019
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Are You Depressed?
Choi, Jin-sil, the "Nation's Actress" was found dead in her home in what appears to be a suicide.  What made the Nation's Actress kill herself when she had an enviable reputation and lots of money?  The answer is 'depression'.  Choi was known to have suffered from depression since her divorce from a baseball player Cho, Sung-min.
     Depression is not a disease that only celebrities suffer from.  Indeed, scientific surveys show that depression is the most serious threat to Koreans.  Needless to say, university students also get depressed.            
Surveys on depression at DGU
Below is a silhouette.
       Make a guess.  What does the silhouette illustrates?  What do you think?  Is it a man or woman who opens a window?  Is it the figure of someone trying to cut their own wrist with a knife?  This is the question that the post asked to 100 Donggukians to measure their level of depression.  The silhouette is a psychological tool to find out whether the respondent tends to be depressed or not.  If you give a positive response such as "a woman opening window", "a woman staring at the sky", you are probably not prone to depression.  But if you give a negative response such as "a woman killing herself", "a woman leaping to her death from window", you may suffer from depression.  About 80% of Donggukians gave affirmative answers, while 20% of them gave negative answers.  Even considering a possible margin of error, 20% is not a small percentage.  
      The result of other questionnaires shows the following;  (그림제시+분석1-2문장)
It comes down to this: Depression is prevalent among university students, maybe more than we think.
Causes of Depression
       When it comes to the causes of depression, biological, psychological, and social factors, all play a role to a varying degree.  In terms of biology, for example, deficiencies of certain neurotransmitters-especially 'serotonin'-are associated with depression.  On the other hand, various aspects of personality and its development are fundamental in the occurrence and persistence of depression from a psychological point of view.  Still, the post believes depression is mainly due to social factors which cause people to become depressed.  Because of this, the post met with Han Mi-hee, a consultant from Student Counsel Center, DongGuk University(DGU).
Interview with Student Consultant
       "Do you know the result of the investigation conducted by the Student Counsel Center at Sogang University in 2003?  What surprises me is that about 50% of students were considering suicide.  You can blame depression resulting from social problems-chiefly unemployment-for this horrible situation.  
      Unfortunately, employment conditions for young adults are deteriorated these days.  It seems like only yesterday that students would visit us to consult on personal issues like love problems.  As the sluggish economy continues to keep a firm lid on the labor market, unemployment among student job-seekers is rising. 
     Employment is more competitive than ever before.  To illustrate this, a senior at DGU, who scored higher than 900 on TOEIC and received high credits, submitted application forms to about 30 companies, but only two companies offered him an interview and in the end he didn't get a job.  Because of situations like this, students are obsessive about preparing for a job even in their freshman year.  (자료제시) For this reason, romance on campus has been replaced with competition, and this causes depression."
Depression Symptoms   
       People are not aware of the terrible effects that depression can cause.  Still, depression is a serious illness that influences our daily life, such as schoolwork, relationship with other people and health.  According to World Health Organization(WHO), there are two types of symptoms that sufferers usually experience-psychotic and physical. 
A. Psychotic Symptoms
(1) Depressed mood
(2) Loss of interest and enjoyment
(3) Reduced concentration and attention on a task
(4) Reduced confidence and self-esteem
(5) Feeling of guilt and unworthiness
(6) Bleak and pessimistic views of the future
(7) Ideas or acts of self-destruction or suicide
B. Physical Symptoms
(1) Reduced energy, being easily fatigued, diminished activity
(2) Marked tiredness on slight effort
(3) Disturbed sleep
(4) Diminished appetite and libido, with resulting weight loss
(5) Unexplained physical symptoms
       "If depression symptoms are getting worse, a depressed person may think of suicide to end the pain of depression," said Mrs. Han.  Therefore, it is important to receive treatment when needed to prevent further recurrences.
What can be done      
     "With the advances in pharmacological sciences and a better understanding of the biochemical basis of depression, a number of drugs have been introduced for the treatment of depression and prevention of relapses on a long-term basis," says an authority at WHO.  Even so, Koreans still tend to consider going to a mental hospital as immoral.  Viewing this fact, the post suggests some alternatives.  
 Laughing Theraphy
      Laughter offers a powerful distraction from depression by lowering blood pressure and stress hormone as well as releasing endorphine and the body's natural painkillers.  For this reason, it is conducive for the depressed to participate in laughter programs.  People like the program because it has easy and fun things to do like tasting, singing and practicing smiles. With the help of laughter, the depressed can easily fight the depression.     
Crying Theraphy
     Strangely enough, crying helps to cure one's depression.  Crying out loud allows people to release penned up stress and anxiety and the symptoms of depression fade away.  Even Thomas. A. Stone, an author of "CURE BY CRYING," said that "the more you cry, the more your mind will heal itself."  Crying about something gloomy in a sad song, movie or book is viewed as an alternative way of healing.    Conclusion
    To sum up, depression is a serious disease requiring a care.  You must avoid delaying or missing diagnosis by interpreting this as normal moodiness.  If your depression lasts longer than 2 weeks, it's time for you to go to the medical center or Student Counsel Center at DGU.        
   The current economic slump is a cause for depression, either directly or indirectly, but we must learn to manage our problems and not fall in a bottomless pit of depression.  What is most important is 'how do you think'! 

Yun Sang-young  letterbee@dongguk.edu

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