Stress and depression

  1. I have looked in my med surge book but I can't find an answer to my question. Here's the scenario. My daughter has been at a top ranked national university for two years. She left for college a year early, so she is ahead a year. The grades are on a curve and the academic environment is cut throat. She is doing very well, in fact making 4.0 in biomedical engineering all the while working, doing a sport and has a boyfriend. She has hinted that she is "down in the dumps, hasn't been happy for a long time, and sleeps alot" I have learned that she cooks their main meals, and he doesn't help cook or obtain the groceries (I do have a problem with that, but she will have to work that out.) (red flag?) She has not taken a summer off yet because she has to work to help pay for school, and she may as well take a class while she works- she says she would be too bored, also.
    Here is my question: what is the pathophysiology of depression caused by stress? I realize she may be suffering from mild depression and I have advised her to see her NP at the clinic. When was home for a week recently and seemed fine to me.
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  2. 7 Comments

  3. by   NannaNurse
    cargal.....sure sounds possible here. I've been a 'vic-tum' of depression in the past. Yes, I do believe that stress has a major roll. I also believe that stress can trigger chemical imbalances which lead to depression.
    Stress can lead to alot of health risks. I hope that your daughter will seek some medical help. I also think she will do well with a Mom like you. That extra support is so important. Good luck to you both and I'll be thinking of you all.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    Good sites with answers better than I can state:

    http://www.teachhealth.com/

    http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~heo/stress.html

    Especially check out--

    University students are vulnerable to depression.
    http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~heo/stress.html#vulnerable
    :
  5. by   oramar
    No matter how grown up they get we still worry about our kids don't we. So many young women try to be super women these days. Then one day they hit a wall and illness sets in. I think it has something to do with catacholamine exhaustion. The body maintains high levels due to excess stimulation for long periods of time then one day it can't do it any more and depression and exhaustion set in.
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    cargal, i like karen's advice. those sites are great...having suffered depression i know a bit about it. i pray your dd will be ok and that she gets the help she needs to get past this. just remember, because she "seems normal" she is likely doing such to lessen your worry. you are such a caring mom. i wish mine cared like you do. take care, hang in there, and be there to listen. i wish you both my best.
  7. by   adrienurse
    Whether or not stress causes depression, depression does make it a whole lot harder to tolerate the stressors of life. Believe me, I've been there. It's difficult to put things in perspective if a person's thinking is affected by depression. All of a sudden a person finds herself being propelled by too many high expectations and not enough steam. A bit of a vicious cycle. Is your daughter receptive to getting help? I hope she's not on the road to burnout. I'm sure she deserves to be happy.

    Thinking of you two.
  8. by   duckie
    Being under stress for a prolonged period of time can and does lead to depression, I know, because now that I have received medical treatment, I realize that I had been lost in a cloud of depression for years and didn't realize it. My MD put me on Paxil and Xanax and my life is better than I can ever remember it being. I have so much energy I cannot contain it, I have lost nearly 20 pounds in 2 months, I don't worry about everything but now feel certain that my hubby and I can handle anything together. I had become so depressed that all I wanted to do was lock myself up in the house and sleep, cutting myself off from everyone. Now I enjoy working out in the yard, which I hadn't done in years and am even going to go camping with DH, never done that. Chemical Imbalances can be eased and controlled by medication and your daughter will be more equiped to handle everything that she has to deal with. If your daughter is really in depression, she may being staying in a less than perfect relationship because she feels she has no way out. No relationship is perfect but sometimes we settle because we just don't have the strength to deal with it. I thank God for my supportive hubby, we're acting like kids again. Please beg her to see her MD. I cannot stress enough what a miracle has happened in my life with treatment, PLEASE don't let her wait until mild depression turns into severe depression and inability to cope. I will say lots of prayers for her because there is life after depression and I pray she finds help soon. God bless!!!!
  9. by   cargal
    Here is an update: She went to the university clinic, and they sent her to counseling. She has another appt next week, and is really po'd because she is so busy and "doesn't want to talk about her childhood and her relationships". I don't blame her. I think she is down in the dumps from stress of having worked in a cut throat environment for two years without a break, and she is making plans to do something different next summer. She is not severely depressed. A low dose anti depressant may help alot, but this counseling stuff.....
    How can I help her get an antidepressant without jumping through the mental health hoops?

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