Common Mental Health Issues Among College Students

There are five common mental health issues that affect college students. These are anxiety, depression, addiction, eating disorders, and suicide. Statistics reveal that around 60% of college students experience anxiety and around 40% have suffered from depression. Health professionals feel the importance of talking about mental health in students, however, students seem to view mental health issues just a normal part of their college life. Additionally, many college students may feel that they don’t have the money to pay for the support that they need or that they don’t have the will, time, or energy. Below we will outline information to help college students spot any potential mental health issues and how to seek help.

Anxiety

We all experience feelings of anxiety from time to time. For college students this could be when they have a college essay or paper due and have run out of time, so had to look to buy papers for college for getting custom writing help from experts.  However, when these feelings of tension, panic, and worry start to affect our daily life, this is when anxiety becomes a medical issue. Anxiety is the most common mental health issue among college students. It’s quite easy to regard any symptoms related to anxiety disorders as just everyday stress or simply worrying too much. Panic attacks can sometimes be mistaken as a physical illness, such as tension headaches or a heart attack. The symptoms related to anxiety again differ between different people. Below are some symptoms linked to anxiety disorders? 

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Feeling apprehensive stressed
  • Difficulties concentrating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Upset stomach and diarrhea
  • Feeling fearful
  • Muscle tension and pain

We don’t know exactly what causes anxiety disorders, but we know that they are linked to a mixture of brain chemicals, genetics, stress, and everyday life experiences. 

Depression

Depression is a mental health issue that results in a person feeling persistently hopeless or sad.  There’s usually also a lot of interest in doing the things that once enjoyed.  Someone who has depression may also experience headaches, pain, disturbed sleep, mood swings as well as a change in appetite. 

The symptoms linked to depression can differ between individuals. Depression is actually caused by a chemical imbalance present in the brain; therefore the symptoms can present themselves in different ways. If you ever suffer from any of the above symptoms, it does not mean that you are depressed.  However, if these symptoms become persistent and regular, then, it is worth seeking medical help. 

It can be hard to actually spot these issues as college students may not discuss how they feel so downplay how they feel. This is usually related to feeling embarrassed or insecure. 

Addiction

It’s not uncommon for college students to drink alcohol and use recreational drugs; however, these can become an issue. Addiction relates to a dependence on one or more of these substances. It’s not just alcohol that college students like to binge on as many students also have used drugs such as ecstasy, cocaine, marijuana, benzodiazepines as well as prescription painkillers. 

In most cases, college students who drink or get involved in drug use do not develop an addiction, but they may still feel the side effects of using these substances. For instance:

  • Paranoid, anxious, and fear for no reason.
  • Bloodshot eyes, impaired coordination, and slurred speech
  • A change in hobbies or Friends
  • Physical appearance is affected such as less care in personal grooming habits or weight gain/ loss.
  • A sudden need for money.

Eating disorders

Eating disorders are usually related to a person’s eating habits as well as there is an obsession with their body shape or image. Eating disorders can involve binge-eating then vomiting or depriving oneself of food. Eating disorders tend to be higher in females as opposed to males. The most common eating disorders are:

  • Anorexia nervosa: An unhealthy obsession with being thin, a fear of gaining weight, and a distorted image of one’s body.
  • Bulimia nervosa: This is a binge-eating disorder and involves episodes of eating a large amount of food followed by purging, excessive exercising, or fasting.
  • Binge-eating disorder:  This disorder involves having cravings that can occur at any time of day and cause the person to binge-eat. The binge-eating disorder usually affects those that have low self-esteem or a negative body image.

Symptoms related to eating disorders vary between individuals. Below we’ve highlighted some common symptoms:

  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Negative body image
  • Dehydration
  • Exercising to excess
  • Having excuses for eating habits
  • Eating in public

Quite often international students do not seek any treatment for an eating disorder as they don’t usually see that they have a disorder in the first place. However, eating disorders can be life-threatening and cause serious health issues if not dealt with. Health issues related to eating disorders:

  • Stunted growth
  • Kidney failure
  • Heart-related 
  • Loss of menstruation
  • Reproductive system problems

Suicide

Mental health professionals state that suicide is a common pattern of planning or thinking about your own death taken by yourself. Students may feel doubtful and frustrated and occasionally these thoughts can end up intensifying and this is where the student may feel that they need to end their lives. The warning signs related to suicide can be seen in a person’s mood speech and behavior. 

  • Mood: people experiencing suicidal issues may feel irritable, rage, a lot of interest, depression, and anxiety.
  • Speech: Someone who feels suicidal may feel that they are trapped and that they have no reason to continue as they are just a burden and therefore want to end their life.
  • Behavior: If you spot any of the above behavior then it’s important to talk to the person in question. Remember that somebody who feels suicidal may be fragile so you need to speak to them patiently and offer to help them to seek professional help. If you find yourself in a situation where you don’t know how to approach someone you think may be feeling suicidal then you can contact professional help.

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