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Clinical depression is a medical condition with both cognitive and physical effects. It is marked by low mood, fatigue, being socially withdrawn, and a general loss of interest in previously valued activities.
Clinical depression often involves feelings of sadness for extended periods of time, loss of interest in life, hopelessness, decreased energy, and inability to focus. It can affect a person's ability to perform usual tasks and activities of daily living. People with clinical depression do not have the ability to simply 'snap out of it' on their own or will it away without proper treatment as it is the result of a chemical imbalance and requires medical intervention.

Observing Depression in the Classroom

Faculty might observe the following in a student with depression:

  • May appear tired or sleepy
  • May articulate persistent negative feelings
  • May demonstrate a lack of interest or engagement in class
  • May exhibit reduced energy and stamina
  • May have poor class attendance
  • May have difficulty concentrating, remembering, or making decisions
  • May have difficulty with organization and meeting deadlines
  • May have difficulty tracking conversations or lectures
  • May have difficulties with communication or difficulties in social situations


Related Functional Characteristics

Anxiety : Students with depression may exhibit symptoms of anxiety (e.g. panic attacks, fatigue) due to a feeling of lack of control.

Fatigue (Cognitive) : Students with depression may have difficulty monitoring and focusing in the classroom and experience cognitive fatigue as a result of the energy it takes to remain focused.

Fatigue (Physical) : Students with depression may experience malaise, a general feeling of discomfort, illness, or lack of well-being.

Inability to Comprehend Social Cues : Students with depression have difficulty tracking conversations and appropriately interacting with others.

Information Processing Speed : Medications prescribed for depression can slow down information processing speed.

Time Management : Students with depression have problems getting started on a task and may lose track of time.

The Building Accepting Campus Communities (BACC) project was funded by the US Department of Education Office of Secondary Education grant #P333A080070-09. The University of Nebraska does not discriminate based on gender, age, disability, race, color, religion, marital status, veteran's status, national or ethnic origin, or sexual orientation.