Depression & Anxiety Can be a Major Concern for College Students


*Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or The CCBC Connection.

Nyrah Dorsey

Over the last decade there has been a dramatic rise in depression and anxiety disorder among college students. According to the latest reports, 1 in 5 college students are diagnosed with the two disorders. Anxiety and depression are prevalent among college students mostly due to the change in course of their lives and these disorders are the top reasons that college students seek counseling.

Why exactly has there been such an increase in the amount of college students who suffer from depression and anxiety? There are many factors, new and fairly not new, that contribute to it. First off, of course we have our use of technology. Most college students have some sort of account on social media and this can contribute to their anxiety. Experts believe excessive use of these websites tend to engender impaired social interactions and can create an increased sense of isolation.

Social media also has a tendency of fostering competition between real life and virtual, online life. Mostly all people who are active on social media are living dual, virtual and real lives. A lot of the time these different lives can collide and compete, and sometimes online life becomes more important than our real lives. Add this onto the schoolwork and other problems that the average college student faces and the result can be a large disturbance within our minds. Studies also show that mobile phone addiction and excessive mobile smartphone use is associated with an increase in sleep disturbance, depression, anxiety, and overall stress.

While technology is a major contributor, believe it or not there are other stressors that contribute to depression and anxiety disorder among college students. There is also the desire for the student to keep a certain grade point average or get good grades in general. To attain the goals and desires of the average college student, it is not uncommon for someone to try and seek the assistance of drugs to achieve this goal.

In the Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills,” the story focuses on several college students and their abuse of prescription medicine in order to achieve their college goals. The main character, Jacy May, talks about why she buys and sells Adderall and uses it to keep her going for her everyday college life. “I was prescribed Adderall by my doctor, however, I often sell it here on campus because I know that there are people who need it but aren’t able to get a prescription from their doctors right away. Also, I use it because it just keeps me going. Some nights I don’t even get sleep because I have taken my Adderall and I am up all night studying for an exam that is days away,” she says in the movie.

This documentary gave me a lot of insight about college students and their drug abuse. Medicines that are used for Attention Deficit Disorder and Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, such as Adderall and Ritalin, can be very effective, but according to, specialists say that it should be a well-known fact that the side effects of these medications include anxiety and depression. These medicines are not antidepressants, however they are used to help people keep focus on tasks that they need to complete. This is why the medications are so popular among college students, even though this is what could be contributing to their disorders.

Another big contributor of college students’ anxiety and depression is financial stress. Financial stress brought on by the rising cost of college, including the dread of debt and the fear of not being able to get a job right out of school. Also, the fear associated with the possibility of having to move back in with their parents after graduating is another main factor associated with finances and the development of anxiety and depression.

According to, it is a fact that college calls for significant transition, where students experience many firsts, such as a new lifestyle, new friends, new places to live, and alternate ways of thinking. Adjusting to college also influences identity. When students head off to college, the familiar people that they are used to being around are no longer there to reinforce the identity these students have created for themselves. This can make students “disoriented and feel a loss of their sense of self.”

About 40% of college students who are diagnosed with these disorders do not seek help, and about 50% have become so anxious that they struggle in school.

Over the past 7 years, anxiety has become the number one reason that college students seek counseling. On, Jake Heilbrunn, a Psychologist that attended Harvard University, says that, “college students are better off relieving their anxiety with techniques that do not require medications. Anxiety medications can create a physical dependency or addiction.”

As someone who is a college student and knows many people who have experience with anti-depressants and Adderall, these medications do seem to make getting through college easier for some people. However, the “dependency” of needing these substances to possibly get a good grade on an assignment can be dangerous.

However, I believe that all college students should practice not being on their medications for a certain amount of time to see if they are able to function without them. Nobody should have to depend on drugs in order to get them through their everyday life.

I think that as a college student, the pressure is placed on our shoulders because we are the next generation that has the ability to change the world. We are also pushed by our families to do well so we can live successful lives, and that is often a reason that anxiety can be so dominant among college students.

 *Articles reflect the views of the author and or those quoted and do not necessarily represent the views of CCBC or The CCBC Connection.


  1. Lanseni Sogoba 8 May, 2019 at 15:47 Reply

    This article based on stress and anxiety among college students is very interesting. It looks in depth the causes of stress and how college life, social life, and virtual online life are contributing to stress and related emotional disorders among college students. Consequently, the use of drugs in order to stay awake and focus for long hours to keep up with school works is common among college students leading to depression and related side effects disorders.
    After reading this article, I realized that I was not the only one struggling with sleep deprivation along with headaches, the pressure of meeting deadlines and the willingness of passing with good grades as well as the financial burden of tuitions and other liabilities. It is quite clear that list is long but the fact is that every college student is struggling some how to come by with the expected grades and fulfill the social and financial liabilities.

  2. Ananta Gurung 8 May, 2019 at 22:06 Reply

    There is definitely an issue with over stressing college students. Not only is it a time where they have to change their previous habits in high school, but they also have to assume a more responsible role in college leading their lives to go through this dramatic change. I completely agree that student should seek for a better way to change themselves other than medication. This is a serious issue that should be looked at further than it is already.

  3. Randy Smith 8 May, 2019 at 23:35 Reply

    Anixety definitely seems to be a common theme with college students. It is definitely easy to be overwhelmed with the situations students are placed in. As the last paragraph noted, students themselves want good grades. Also, parents want their children to obtain good grades to succeed outside of college. It is a stressful situation at times. However, like the article mentioned, relying on medication like adderall is not healthy and should only be used as prescribed.

  4. Nikia M 11 May, 2019 at 15:39 Reply

    I appreciate this article because I can relate, this is a very serious issue for me and has been difficult to manage at times. I tried medication once but did not like some of the side effects, it takes alot of work but with doing it on my own but with the right support it can be done.

  5. Mackenzie Weinapple 11 May, 2019 at 19:40 Reply

    Going to college puts a lot of stress on anyone, being a whole new environment and something you’re not use to. I’m transferring to University of Maryland and I saw so many emotional support animals/ service animals. I think getting a pet can actually really help someone destress, but it also is a responsibility that could put stress on some people. But for myself I have a dog and he’s always there for me, and totally helps me not get stressed when it comes to some things. I also do think people should try to get off their medications and see if they can function without being on them.

  6. Kuiara Jackson 12 May, 2019 at 18:25 Reply

    I believe that everything they said in this article is true especially with the school thing. The stress every day with people that work multiple jobs and trying to hurry up and make it home just to finish assignments and trying to juggle every day life. It definitely does make sense how us college students are battling with these disorders. I still do not understand the prescription drug part , but I understand people have to do what they have to do with the risk of being addicted. I think they should seek another way to battle with depression.

  7. Imani 12 May, 2019 at 22:58 Reply

    This post really should be spread because it is a real thing I heard many thing of adrenal use , I feel that the schools should offer more anxiety relief counsel groups for people to go to.

  8. Janae Morris 13 May, 2019 at 00:05 Reply

    I feel like college students are overly stress for sure and many of the reasons illustrated in the article are valid. I personally have dealt with my fair share of anxiety due to college and while it can be tough, having supportive friends can be incredibly helpful. I do think that social media has had a negative effect on society and will continue to do so if we don’t get it under control. Social media has become such a pivotal part of our communication and because of that we’re so dependent on it, if we don’t do something soon chaos could ensue.

  9. Telisha 14 May, 2019 at 12:03 Reply

    I try my best to keep a sound mind when I notice that the semester is getting a little overwhelming. I tend to push myself until I cannot think logically where as though my brain isn’t charged enough to the best grades I would be able to if I wasn’t so stressed. Taking time to stay to myself in a peaceful quiet place helps me a lot with stress and avoiding depression.

  10. Alaina Grove 10 July, 2019 at 13:57 Reply

    This article definitely let a lot of insight in on what students go through emotionally while in college. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I can definitely relate to most of this article. The stress of due dates for assignments and financial burden definitely makes your anxiety 100x worse.

  11. Kennedey 12 July, 2019 at 02:00 Reply

    I definitely agree with this article. Ever since I started college my anxiety and stress levels have went up. Some students when they start college they are starting it all alone. Students are forced to make friends, and to be independent. Although starting college everything is fun and exciting it can also be very depressing at times when you over work yourself. College means a lot to everyone in it because it proves what your future is going to look like. The pressure of going to school and trying to be as perfect as you can will eventually become overwhelming. My first real mental breakdown was my freshmen year of college because everything was so new to me.

  12. Shivam Rajput 12 July, 2019 at 15:12 Reply

    Great article. Unfortunately, we will in a time where both anxiety and depression have increased, especially among the younger generation, due to education and technology. While both industries have grown and advanced quite a bit, they also have had psychological implications on their members. I do not know about others, but personally, I would like to keep my mental sanity instead of pursuing back to back education and accumulate thousands in debt. As individuals, we all have goals we want to achieve and standards we hold ourselves to. When we begin to slowly steer away from our projected track to those goals and standards, or we come across an obstacle that can deter us, we begin to stress. Personally, I have and still do stress about every single assignment, test, grade. While it is good to do well in academics to receive that quality education, it can become traumatizing. The pressures we have to do well come from a variety of sources, demanding job market, parents, university standards, peer pressure, and much more. Combine all that pressure and place that on an individual who is studying for a final exam, the outcomes might not always be the best, either mentally, physically, or academically. There are resources for college students to seek for stress, anxiety, and depression, but the underlying pressure is still there.

  13. sheeva purvis 8 December, 2019 at 09:35 Reply

    Great article I do agree t hat social media can lead to people feeling more isolated or depressed as they see others lives and constantly compare themselves to that and think well this person is always traveling , or always looks so great, and look at all the likes they are getting. I do hope that more people become aware that it is ok to go get help ad ccbc offers wonderful people to help you find help and also it is ok to ask for help it is nothing to be ashamed of. I absolutely agree with not becoming dependent on the drugs but if you need them do take them and maybe in the future with therapy try to slowly cut back never just stop taking your medication.

  14. Corey Brooks 8 December, 2019 at 21:37 Reply

    After reading this article, it made me feel like i am not alone as I and many other people are dealing with depression, anxiety, and sleeping problems. From the outside looking in seeing a student miss assignments or not perform well you may think they are a lazy student. But in reality we as students have a lot on our plate to deal with in a short amount of time with little or no support. School sometimes adds to the stress to the point it is hard to recover from and will take a while

  15. Michael 2 August, 2020 at 11:17 Reply

    I appreciate the fact mental health is coming to the forefront in the 21st century. Mental health is just as important as physical health but more often than not doesn’t get the recognition it deserves, especially in previous generations. College is very stress inducing by nature and then you introduce the social aspect and depression and anxiety are bound to present themselves somewhere along the process. I think schools should offer more mental health services and be more vocal about access to those programs. Well written!

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