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 Theconversation.com, 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 Jedfoundation.org, 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 Psychologytoday.com, 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.

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