Research

Depression In College Students- What’s The Reason?

Talk about depression in various age groups and you will notice that depression doesn’t see any age. It targets everyone even the college students. There are many factors that may affect students to get depressed. Let’s start by knowing a little about depression first.

What is depression?

Depression is a disorder that badly affects your mood and overall personality. It shows up by the loss of interest in activities that normally used to excite a person. Feeling sad and down are also the additional signs of depression. Though for most of the people depression shows up periodically the clinical depression is a prolonged stage of it.

More than just sadness, clinical depression is a serious medical condition. The victims of depression are not able to get over it. Contrary to the popular belief of “it gets better with time”, this type of depression can cause even more problems. Some of these are as follows.

  • Job-related problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Studies related problems
  • Drug abuse
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Suicidal thoughts

Depression requires a complete treatment after which a person is able to live a healthy life. Only for some people, depression treatment becomes a challenge that takes so long to go.

What depresses college going students?

For college students, lack of sleep, poor eating habits, no physical activity is the prime reason for depression if there is no other stress. The situation becomes worse when there is any academic stress, financial worries, the pressure to get good grades, the pressure to find a good job, relationship problems and others.

The depression in student life is bad because it captures a student so badly that it becomes nearly impossible for him to focus on anything. The result is an overall poor academic problem, extreme mood swings, sad feelings, violent behavior and suicidal thoughts in extreme cases.

Risks and consequences of depression in students

There are many events that may account for depression in college students. To start with, many students are mentally not prepared for a college/university life. They are not serious, ready or thoughtful about it. The problem gets worse when there is a financial problem added.

Today the students are suffering from high educational loans and debts. The troubles of finding a good job right after completing education add more pressure on him and it all results in an unwanted stress-that is otherwise called depression.

This depression in students causes them to develop problems like substance abuse. That is why you will see lots of college going students as a victim of drug or alcohol abuse. They find way outs in these temporary enjoyments but eventually fall into addiction. Depressed students are likely to chain smoke cigarette, marijuana, binge drink or even take part in violent sexual behaviors to overcome the emotional pain. In any form, this depression in college students is a highly damaging thing.

If none of these cases, a simple breakup or failed love relation will bring lots of depressive feelings. The risk of depression linked with love life may bring intrusive thoughts, inability to control thoughts, insomnia, sudden weight loss and much more.

For such type of depression, not a medicine but time helps. In extreme cases, the cognitive behavioral therapy or interpersonal therapy particularly in complicated situations have a high success rate on college students.

Suicidal thoughts and risk

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. In the USA, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people of age 15 to 34 years. (Read the complete research here). Among this age range, people between 18-25 had 8.3% more serious suicidal thoughts. It makes a depression to be one of the biggest risk factors for suicide in students. Other factors may also include the following.

  • Alcohol abuse
  • Drug abuse
  • Family history
  • Any other mental illness
  • Any prior suicide attempt
  • Stressful situations and events
  • Access to arms
  • Knowing students who committed suicide
  • The family history of suicide
  • Self-harming behaviors i.e. burning, cutting the body

How to treat depression in college students?

College students have a high risk of emotional distress ending at depression. It is a responsibility of parents, friends, counselors and faculty members to notice the sudden behavioral changes in a student. It is easy to guess if a person is suffering from depression by keeping an eye on him for a few days. It is easier if you are living with such a person, it means friends or family are more likely to identify it.

Most of the students are reluctant to seek any help while suffering from depression. All the educational institutes must conduct health evaluation based on student’s developmental and family history, school performance, and any self-injurious behaviors or any other noticeable behavior of him. The treatment plan for depression depends upon the nature, severity, and cause of depression.

The best treatment for depression in college student is by giving them a combination of antidepressant medications and motivating them for talk therapies. These include cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy, both of which are helpful in depression.

The depressed students can also take a benefit by improving their lifestyle i.e. following a proper diet, daily exercise, and getting enough rest. The antidepressants must be prescribed by a licensed psychiatrist and should not be taken on your own. For the best advice, consult the nearest mental health professional.

 

Areeba Hussain

The author is a Medical Microbiologist and a healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology with distinction. She is an author of six research papers and currently working as a research associate in a Research Lab.

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