Unhappy nurses, waiters

The cocktail waitress at Applebee’s, the nurse’s aide at the nursing home and the social worker at the SRS office have one thing in common according to a recent study conducted by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health: they are more likely to become depressed.

According to the study’s findings, 10.8 percent of workers who help young children, the elderly and people with special needs reported depressed feelings lasting two weeks or more.

The study also found 10.3 percent of those employed in the food service industry and 9.6 percent of those in the social work and health care fields also experience depression.

Those who work in the education field and the arts, entertainment, sports and media also suffer from higher depression rates, according to the study.

We are attending college in the hopes that our future job will not only pay well, but also enrich our future and make us happy. This study is slightly discouraging, however.

With the exception of the food industry, most of the occupations mentioned in the NSDUH study require a college education. So much for a college degree making us happier.

But we do live in a cruel, hard world. Many of the jobs deemed most depressing by the NSDUH report deal directly with some of the harshest aspects of our society.

Many journalists report about wars, murders, rapes and deaths. Social workers and teachers often interact with abused and neglected children. Nurses tend to severely sick and dying people.

After seeing, interacting and discussing human suffering all work shift, who wouldn’t become at least slightly sad when they leave work?

Coping with the stressful nature of some of these occupations also contributes to depression. Journalists work under constant deadlines. Teachers must prove to the government that their pupils are learning required material and are scoring well on standardized tests. Waitresses have to deal with irate customers.

But before everyone switches majors and changes career goals, remember there are more contributing factors to depression than occupation and the nature of work.

Other causes of depression include the side effects of certain prescription medications and illegal drugs.

Every illegal drug has been documented to negatively affect the brain and brain development.

Some drug users, especially cocaine users, have an increased risk of developing depression.

In some people, depression is an inherited illness. While many medical officials do not fully understand the causes, they do link the cause of the mental illness to a chemical imbalance in the brain.

According the Yahoo! Health Encyclopedia, an estimated 15 percent of Americans will suffer from depression at some point in their lives. Yahoo! reports that women, divorced, separated and seriously ill people are at a higher risk for developing the mental illness.

While the NSDUH study can be a reference for those who are looking at careers, it should not be the only reference because the study did not mention marital status, illness and history of the workers it studied.

I think that is a big factor that should have been included in the study.

One of my summer co-workers absolutely loved sacking groceries and always displayed a happy disposition at work. He has been working at the same grocery store since the mid ’60s and still loves what he does.

To increase the chances of a happy life, people should love what they do.