Depression in college students is more common than many parents realize and if left untreated, can lead to more serious issues such as drug abuse and even suicidal thoughts. Collegiate life is stressful, there is no doubt about it, but with the added burden of depression, the outcome can be devastating.
Whether you are a college student suffering from depression or the parent of a college student you are concerned about, know that help is out there. The first thing you need to do is recognize the signs and symptoms of college depression and then learn what you can do to get the help you need.
Depression in College Students Statistics – Some Startling Figures
In a recent study conducted by the American Psychological Association, college depression is second only to anxiety presenting at hospitals and therapists around the nation. In the study, it was found that:
- Anxiety ranked first – 41.6 percent of those seeking treatment.
- Depression follows at 36.4 percent of students seeking treatment.
- 19 percent of college directors say they have inadequate psychiatric services.
This clearly shows that depression is not only a common problem among college students but one that colleges are sometimes ill-equipped to deal with. Finally, according to perhaps the most startling statistic of all, 21 percent of college students seeking help at student resource centers had problems too severe to be dealt with on campus.
Depression in college students statistics clearly indicate that this is a growing problem and one that needs to be better addressed. Here at Las Encinas Hospital, we have dedicated an entire department to treating the mental health needs of college students. We recognize that college depression is rampant among today’s youth, so we have created the Las Encinas Student Restore to Wellness Program.
Rapid stabilization is accomplished through individualized treatment plans unique to each patient.
College Students and Stress
There is no denying just how stressful this transitory stage of life really is. College students are thrown into a lifestyle that requires them to be suddenly independent, and unfortunately, many are unprepared for such a drastic transition. For those who live on campus, the sheer enormity of the change can be overwhelming.
Not only are college students responsible for keeping their grades high, but those living away from home are now responsible for everything from shopping and cleaning to laundering their clothing. Stress, then, is one of the leading causes of depression in college students, and understandably so.
Sometimes adjusting to life in a dorm or in an off-campus apartment with roommates can trigger enormous amounts of stress. Managing money, probably for the first time in a student’s life, can also be a huge concern. Unfortunately, many don’t recognize the symptoms of depression, which is why it is often left untreated until the issues are severe.
Sometimes it is stress which leads to depression but being separated from family maybe for the first time in a student’s life can also trigger depression. Other times it may simply be feelings of inadequacy when looking at other students who seem to be flying effortlessly through college life. There are a number of reasons why students feel depressed so this is where therapy typically begins – looking for that trigger.
Signs and Symptoms of College Depression
If you are concerned about someone you love suffering from depression in college, it pays to know the signs and symptoms. You may even be depressed yourself but not really sure if that is what you are feeling. In either case, some signs or symptoms of depression in college students include:
- Feeling tearful and empty inside.
- Being overly irritable and perhaps even explosive bouts of irritability.
- Disturbance in sleep patterns.
- Lack of interest in hobbies, sports or a social life.
- Reduced or increased appetite.
- Anxiety and agitation.
- Trouble focusing or concentrating for any length of time.
- Feeling worthless, giving too much weight to what you consider a failure.
- Thoughts of harming oneself and/or suicidal thoughts.
Those are just some of the most common signs and symptoms which can be directly linked to depression. Once you know what to look for, it’s time to get the help you need to get yourself, or someone you care about, out from the depths of depression.
How to Get the Help You Need to Overcome College Depression
As the old saying goes: Rome wasn’t built in a day. Getting through a period of serious depression can take time. If you begin to feel better, don’t assume that you don’t need professional help. You may fall back into another bout of depression more serious than the last, as mood swings can sometimes accompany or follow depressive episodes.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to other people for help. You may not be comfortable talking to a peer or a family member, but you can start with your university’s student resource center. While your college may not have the resources you need, recovery centers like ours can begin with outpatient counseling if that is what you need. There may be times when residential treatment might be recommended, so be open to what your therapist and counselors suggest as your individualized treatment plan.
You are a unique individual and as a result, your treatment will be designed to meet your most pressing needs. Your treatment will not be the same as anyone else’s although you may have common elements within your respective plans. The key takeaway here is that you need to find someone to open up to before depression escalates into something much harder to deal with.
Depression can escalate to suicidal thoughts so get help before that happens. Talk to us. Don’t let another day go by facing the darkness of despair and depression alone. Remember, you are not alone. The mental health professionals here at Las Encinas Hospital are here to help you being your path to recovery.