Why depression is common among college students
While some students might go through college without facing any major problems, others are more vulnerable and subject to being affected by a sudden change in their life.
In a survey conducted by the Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors, about 36 percent of college students reported experiencing depression in 2013. And since then, the numbers have only been increasing.
Depression is a mental disorder characterized by a loss of interest in activities usually enjoyed, changes in the mood, and functional impairment on many levels.
Other symptoms include change in appetite and weight, fatigue, irregular sleep, decreased concentration, feelings of guilt and worthlessness, and suicidal behavior.
Everyone can experience mood swings and feelings of sadness every now and then, but when the symptoms are recurring daily for at least two weeks, a possible diagnosis of depression is in question.
Depression can be caused by a number of genetic, psychological and environmental factors. The latter is a crucial element in pointing out why depression increases during college years.
In fact, going to college is a life-changing event for most young adults. But sometimes, it is a turning point in their mental health.
Some of the reasons for depression in college are leaving home and living independently for the first time, making new friends and approaching a new environment of people, choosing the semester’s courses, which can be stressful and overwhelming, and not getting enough sleep.
We often hear people around us say that college years are the best in someone’s life. Perhaps the inability to fulfill this “myth” is what leaves the student feeling hopeless and useless.
Despite the fact that depression is very common among college students, only a low percentage of them is being treated.
It is important to know that depression is a mental disorder that can and should be treated as soon as the symptoms become constant and repetitive. The treatment involves psychiatric medications and psychotherapy to improve the patient’s coping skills and capacities while regulating their mood.
What most students do is try to ignore the symptoms, control their condition and avoid getting help because of all the stigma of mental health issues.
What’s even more dangerous than avoiding professional help is actually trying self-medication, causing more damage.
The first thing one needs to do when depression symptoms appear is seek help, because depression can be treated and stabilized. A person can continue to live normally on the social, professional and emotional levels even after experiencing depression.