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From Freshman Blues to Senior Slump: Understanding and Overcoming Depression in College

Author: Blue Oak Therapist


College is a time of significant growth and change, but it can also be a period of significant stress and mental health challenges. Many college students experience mental health symptoms, and these symptoms can impact academic performance, relationships, and overall well-being. In particular, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, eating disorders, sleep problems, and social isolation are common mental health issues that college students face.




It's essential for students to recognize these symptoms and seek support to overcome them. This blog will explore the six mental health symptoms that college students suffer and offer suggestions on how to overcome them.


1. Depression: College students may experience persistent sadness, feelings of hopelessness, and loss of interest in activities they previously enjoyed.


2. Anxiety: College students may experience excessive worry, panic attacks, and physical symptoms such as sweating and rapid heartbeat.


3. Substance abuse: College students may turn to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with stress or negative emotions.


4. Eating disorders: College students may develop unhealthy eating habits, such as binge eating or purging, as a way to cope with stress or negative body image.


5. Sleep problems: College students may struggle with falling or staying asleep, which can lead to fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and a decline in academic performance.


6. Social isolation: College students may experience feelings of loneliness or disconnection from peers and struggle to form meaningful relationships.


Depression is the number one mental health issue among college students, affecting roughly 1 in 4 students. College is a time of transition and change, with many students experiencing new challenges and stressors. The academic pressures, social pressures, and newfound independence of college life can lead to feelings of loneliness, hopelessness, and sadness. Additionally, college students may be at an increased risk for depression due to the stigma surrounding mental health issues, the tendency to engage in risky behaviors, and the lack of access to appropriate resources


Another contributing factor to depression in college students is the prevalence of mental health issues on college campuses. According to the American Psychological Association, about one in three college students reported experiencing depression, and only 30% of those students sought treatment. This can be due to the stigma surrounding mental health, lack of access to mental health services, or simply not knowing where to go for help.


If you're a college student struggling with depression, it's important to seek help. This can be done through your school's counseling center or through a mental health professional outside of school. Therapy can help you learn coping skills and strategies for managing depression. Additionally, medication may be prescribed by a healthcare provider to help alleviate symptoms.


In addition to seeking professional help, there are also things you can do on your own to help manage depression. One of the most important things you can do is prioritize self-care. This means taking care of your physical and emotional health by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and engaging in physical activity. Additionally, it's important to engage in activities that bring you joy and make you feel fulfilled. This could be anything from reading a book to practicing a hobby.


Another important aspect of managing depression is building a support system. This can be done by reaching out to friends and family, joining clubs or organizations on campus, or participating in group therapy. Having a support system can help you feel less alone and provide you with people to turn to when you're struggling.


It's also important to recognize that recovery from depression is a process and may take time. It's okay to have bad days or setbacks, but it's important to keep working towards your goals and seeking support when needed.


In summary, depression is a common mental health issue among college students. It's important to seek help if you're struggling, whether that be through therapy, medication, or other forms of support. Additionally, prioritizing self-care, building a support system, and recognizing that recovery is a process are all important aspects of managing and overcoming depression. Remember, you're not alone and there is help available to you. Contact us at (909) 366-4712 for further information or take a look at our website and services.

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