When beginning or continuing a college education, there are a significant number of changes or stressors that can contribute to college depression. What makes college depression unique is its onset beginning in young adulthood when a person is adjusting to new demands or a new setting.

Some college students have a genetic predisposition to depression when there is a family history of mental health issues. Others may find that the current stressors in their life trigger the reaction of depression or anxiety. College student depression may present itself with symptoms such as sadness, increased irritability, or crying spells.

Depression at College

When beginning or continuing a college education, there are a significant number of changes or stressors that can contribute to college depression.

What makes college depression unique is its onset beginning in young adulthood when a person is adjusting to new demands or a new setting.

Some college students have a genetic predisposition to depression when there is a family history of mental health issues. Others may find that the current stressors in their life trigger the reaction of depression or anxiety. College student depression may present itself with symptoms such as sadness, increased irritability, or crying spells.

Some students may experience home-sickness when moving away from their family or hometown for the first time and learning to adjust to the distance from their loved ones. This can lead to pressure or anxiety around building new social connections or facing the challenge of renegotiating long-distance relationships with family and friends. The stress of moving in with a new roommate can contribute to college depression, social anxiety, or difficult feelings of loneliness. Additionally, learning to handle finances for the first time can be burdensome to a college student who is also trying to balance a demanding new load of coursework.

College Depression Symptoms

Other examples of symptoms related to college depression are difficulty with concentrating, indecisiveness, angry outbursts and memory issues. To face these challenges in the midst of demanding lectures, extensive coursework, and long study hours can often lead to further stress. As a result, college student depression can at times lead to academic underachievement or impaired academic performance leaving the student unable to complete or pass classes that they would be able to complete or pass under different circumstances.

Depression can also express itself through the body. College student depression may manifest as decreased or excessive appetite, binge eating, or gastrointestinal issues. Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, or increased tiredness and excessive sleep), fatigue, loss of energy, headaches, back pain, or unexplained physical pain are further examples of physical symptoms.

If left untreated, college depression can lead to further mental health issues, medical concerns, or complications in additional areas of the student’s life. Signs of college student depression can include losing interest in activities that used to be enjoyable, developing feelings of worthlessness or guilt, loss of self-esteem, ruminating about past perceived failures, feeling hopeless, or frequent thoughts of death, dying, or suicide. Experiencing depression can increase the risk of substance abuse issues, suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts.

College Student Depression Treatment

Although all people feel sad or anxious at times, if these emotions do not pass within a few days, or begin to interfere with your day-to-day activities, you may consider seeking treatment with one of our clinicians. If you would like to speak with a therapist about college depression, or if you need assistance in determining if you or your loved one would benefit from college student depression treatment, call or email today.