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Addressing Mental Health & College Students

By January 30, 2020June 22nd, 2020No Comments

Though some of us may look back to our college years wistfully, one discussion that’s hardly ever had is one regarding college students and mental health.

While jokes about subsisting exclusively on ramen, taking a final exam on one hour of sleep, excessive drinking, as well as failing at juggling student and personal obligations abound, these occurrences can also be translated as:

  • Lack of sleep

  • Malnutrition

  • Alcohol/substance abuse

And when you’re subjected to the very real stressors that accompany typical student life while feeling under the weather, it can take away your ability to effectively cope and manage them. In fact, the rigors of college life can take its toll. 

The Current State of Mental Health on Campus

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • 30% of college students reported that stress had negatively affected their academic performance.

  • 41.6% list anxiety as their top presenting concern.

  • 85% of college students reported feeling overwhelmed within the last year.

  • 24.5% of students reported that they were taking psychotropic medication.

That last statistic is of concern because it reflects a troubling trend: a large number of students aren’t addressing their mental health problems.

Addiction, eating disorders, anxiety, depression, and suicide are all too common outcomes for young people still trying to figure their lives out.

Potential Signs of Common Problems to Watch Out For in College Students

Whether you’re the friend or family member of an overburdened student or one of the latter, it’s important to know what signs to watch out for so that a mental health intervention can be staged. If you or your loved one are displaying the symptoms below with some regularity, it may be time to seek help.

Depression

  • Changes in sleeping habits

  • Feelings of sadness, hopelessness, powerlessness, and being overwhelmed

  • Trouble concentrating and completing tasks

If you’d like additional resources regarding depression, the American College Health Association has a multitude of resources and help lines specifically geared towards college students.

Anxiety

  • Feelings of stress and apprehension

  • Fearfulness

  • Muscle pain and tension

  • Headaches

  • Frequent upset stomach and/or diarrhea

For additional information and resources, please see the ADAA’s page on anxiety.

Eating Disorders (Anorexia, Bulimia, Binging)

  • Distorted or poor body image

  • Fear of eating in public

  • Making excuses for eating habits

  • Kidney failure

  • Reproduction system problems

For more information, please visit the National Eating Disorder Association.

Drug/Alcohol Addiction

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:

  • 60% of college students have consumed alcohol in the past month

  • Two-thirds of those students have engaged in binge drinking during that time

  • Roughly 20% of college students meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder

The symptoms of alcohol/drug abuse include:

  • Fear, anxiety, or paranoia for no apparent reason

  • Sudden need for money or financial crises

  • Deterioration of physical appearance

  • Sudden change in friends, activities, or hobbies

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence provides support and information for people suffering from substance abuse.

Suicide

In 2016, suicide was listed as the second leading cause of death in college students in the United States. It may be time to seek help if you or a loved one display one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Loss of interest in things, activities, and objects that were enjoyed before

  • Feelings of anxiety, rage, humiliation, depression, and irritability

  • Giving away once-prized personal possessions

  • Sleeping poorly or too often

  • Behaving recklessly

  • Increased use of drugs and/or alcohol

If you feel that someone’s life is in immediate danger, immediately call 911.

Approaching this delicate subject can be hard, whether you’re a loved one or the one currently contemplating. If you’re looking for additional resources and are not currently in danger, check out the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have a 24 hour suicide lifeline crisis chat, social network groups, and so much more.

How North End Psychiatry Can Help

College is already hard enough without adding mental health concerns and other obstacles on top of that. If you feel that your life on campus is spinning out of control and you need help to get it back on track, send us an email or give us a call .

North End Psychiatry is conveniently located in Boise’s North End near 15th and State. We also have our West End Psychiatry office in Caldwell off of Ellis Avenue. Both locations are close to local universities and are ready to help you succeed not only in college, but also life.

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