5 Common Mental Health Issues in College

mental health issues in college

It's not uncommon for students to experience one of the five common mental health issues in college. There are a lot of reasons for this, including everything from mismanaging high levels of consistent stress to missing home.

In this article, we'll take a closer look at five of the most common mental health issues in college so you're prepared.

5 Common Mental Health Issues in College

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that one in five college students has had a mental health issue in the past year. It’s even become common for college students to be struggling with more than one mental illness at any given time.

Every mental health issue is treatable if college students know where to turn for help. It’s important for parents, students, professors, and other students be able to recognize mental health issues so they can help a student get the help they need.

Learning more about mental health issues is the best way to be able to recognize when there is a problem.

The five common mental health issues in college include the following:

– Anxiety
– Depression
– Addiction
– Sleeping Disorders
– Adjustment Issues

Let's take a closer look.

1. Anxiety

Students have anxiety about many things, including peer relationships, homework assignments, exams, social activities, financial struggles and family problems.

Anxiety happens when you feel threatened in some way. The threat can be taking place right now or it could be a perceived threat that may or may not happen in the future. General anxiety can feel like a constant knot in your stomach. You may not even know exactly what you are worried about, you just feel nervous.

Anxiety has many characteristics and can come in the form of phobias, panic attacks, or even feeling like you don’t want to leave your dorm room at all.

Anxiety is very treatable. Reach out to counseling resources on campus to learn how to overcome your anxiety.

2. Depression

It is natural for students to feel sad sometimes. Whether you are homesick, going through a breakup, or are just feeling overwhelmed, depressive symptoms can appear. Symptoms can include crying spells, sleeping longer and not wanting to get out of bed, overeating, undereating, and not caring about your hygiene anymore.

For example, if you find yourself sleeping until a few minutes before class, forcing yourself to get out of bed, not taking a shower or barely grooming, and going to class in clothes you slept in, this could be a sign of depression.

Getting help for depression is just as easy as for anxiety. Many times, these two disorders are connected. On-campus counseling departments are established to help you work through these feelings so you can continue your success in college.

3. Addiction

College is known by many to be a time of reckless partying and making memories to last a lifetime. Thirsty Thursday, weekend tailgating, and late-night raves at an off-campus location are just some of the ways students like to party.

Students see partying to destress from the week of hard academic work. While drinking and using drugs are ways to cope, they are extremely negative ways to cope. Over time, what started out to relax, can lead to addiction.

Addiction means you have become reliant on drugs or alcohol to function. It means you are seeking the use of substances more often to help you function. It means your thoughts are becoming more focused on getting drunk or high than on your academic work.

There are plenty of resources on campus to help you overcome addiction and remain in college. There are sober living facilities, inpatient and outpatient services, and peer mentoring programs. All of these can benefit students who are struggling with addiction.

4. Sleep Disorders

College students are known for having irregular sleep patterns. One night you may stay up late to study for a test and the next night you may go out with friends. One night you may fall asleep early and sleep for twelve hours.

Symptoms of sleep disorders include being groggy during the day, falling asleep during the day or feeling the need to take a nap often. You may notice your concentration in class is poor and that your academic performance has decreased.

In addition, weight gain, irritability, high blood pressure, lack of focus, confusion and decreased immune system may appear.

Establishing a sleep routine is the best advice for college students. Go to bed at the same time each night, turn off technology, practice mindfulness, don’t eat before bed, and get between seven and eight hours of rest each night.

5. Adjustment Issues

College students leave the comfort and security of their life before college. They leave friends and family behind. They leave their high school routine for an unstructured environment. They leave their hometown for a new town where they know no one. All of this can be overwhelming.

Going to college means everything will change. Sometimes change can be scary and often students have trouble adjusting.

One negative event can turn your world upside down, making you feel like giving up. But don’t give up.

There are many resources on campus to help you adjust and be successful in college. Counseling services may be the first place to visit. They can recommend a support group or other type of service involving other students who are also struggling with adjusting to college life.

Other mental health issues in college can include attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which can mean college students are struggling to concentrate in class, are impulsive, restless, and lack organization.

All these symptoms can make it hard to succeed in college. Too often students are given medication for ADHD that can help but can also be abused.

Other issues include Bipolar disorder, inappropriate sexual behavior, eating disorders, and even post-traumatic stress disorder.

In conclusion, while you may be experiencing a mental health issue in college, it doesn’t have to take over your world. All mental health issues are treatable. You can control your mental illness and still be successful in college.

The first step towards help is to tell someone you are struggling. Or, if someone asks you if you need help, take it.

You have access to peer support, professional counselors, treatment centers, and medication therapy while in college.

Don’t wait any longer to get help sorting through your thoughts, feelings, and actions. Find out if they are temporary or situational or long-term. Then take back control of your life.