Relationships 101

Dear Dr. Mark,

My friends think I need to be on antidepressants. I think I’m down because I broke up with my girlfriend and my grades have gone downhill. How will antidepressants

change things?

DEPRESSED at University of Wisconsin


Antidepressants may or may not change things. We used to think that you’d lose a relationship or have a setback and then you would get depressed. We now know

that more often you become depressed and then because of it, you lose relationships and have school problems. Depression makes the small stressors of everyday life

seem like mountains and it is nearly impossible to bounce back from minor disappointments and upsets. Because it all seems too much, you tend to withdraw from

everyone, but then you fall further behind and it makes things even worse.

If you were having continued sleep problems (waking up several times during the night is more often a sign of biological depression, trouble falling asleep is more a sign

of biological anxiety), appetite problems (either way too much or very little), lack of interest in sex, difficulty concentrating, trouble initiating activities, and relatives in your

family who have or have had similar problems; there is a good chance that you are suffering from biological depression and antidepressant medications can do you a

world of good.

If any of this rings true, go to your student health center and get checked out. Even if they don’t ring true, go there and give them the chance to help you out, because

if a number of your friends are worried, they probably have reason to be.

Finally, when you do get better — and you will — thank your friends for caring.

Dr. Mark Goulston is the author of GET OUT OF YOUR OWN WAY: Overcoming Self-Defeating Behavior (Perigee Books) and has worked with MTV’s ROAD RULES and

REAL WORLD and Send your questions to Dr. Mark at [email protected]

‘copy; TMS Campus, 2001