According to the World Health Organization (WHO), depression is a common mental disorder that onsets with changes in mood, loss of interest or pleasure, decreased energy, feelings of guilt or low self-worth, reduced sleep, poor appetite and poor concentration. The WHO states that these problems can become chronic or recurrent and lead to substantial impairments in an individual’s ability to take care of his or her everyday responsibilities.
At its worst, depression can lead to suicide. The WHO notes that almost one million lives are lost yearly due to suicide, which translates to three thousand suicide deaths every day, and for every person who commits suicide, twenty (20) or more may attempt to end his or her life.
WHAT IS COLLEGE DEPRESSION?
According to Mayo Clinic — a nonprofit organization committed to clinical practice, education and research, providing expert, whole-person care to everyone who needs healing — college depression isn’t a specific diagnosis. It is a depression that happens during college (among college students).
CAUSES OF COLLEGE DEPRESSION
According to Dr. Christina Bjorndal, a licensed naturopathic doctor and established keynote speaker on how to regain your mental health using a naturopathic approach, The five (5) main causes of depression are:
Poor eating habits
Lack of exercise
Irregular sleep rhythms
The Mayo Clinic also explains why college students are vulnerable to depression. According to the nonprofit organization, college students face challenges, pressures and anxieties that can cause them to feel overwhelmed. Often, for the first time in their lives, they are living on their own without any limits on their sleep schedules, the food they choose to eat and how much they choose to spend on activities such as video games or social media, so they might feel homesick.
The Mayo Clinic notes that college students are adapting to new schedules and workloads, adjusting to life with roommates and figuring out how to belong. It also stated that money and intimate relationships also can serve as major sources of stress.
The Clinic concluded that dealing with these changes during the transition from adolescence to adulthood can trigger or unmask depression during college in some young adults.
SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS OF DEPRESSION ON COLLEGE STUDENTS
According to Mayo Clinic, the signs and symptoms that a student might be experiencing depression during college include:
Feelings of sadness, tearfulness, emptiness or hopelessness.
Irritability, frustration and even angry outbursts, out of proportion to the situation.
Frequent or recurrent thoughts of death, suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts or suicide.
Anxiety, agitation or restlessness.
Feelings of worthlessness or guilt, fixating on past failures or blaming yourself for things that are not your responsibilities, etc.
IMPACT OF ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION ON STUDENT ACADEMIC PROGRESS
According to the International Board of Credentialing and Continuing Education Standards (IBCCES), dealing with undiagnosed depression or anxiety can result in students feeling like they are constantly missing out on opportunities and this can lead to substance abuse, conduct problems, further mental health problems and even suicide. Currently, suicide is the second leading cause of death among college students.
HOW CAN YOU AVOID DEPRESSION IN COLLEGE?
According to UNIVERSITY VISITORS NETWORK, a subsidiary of Campus Publishers, and together we have become the #1 publisher & progressive web app developer of official visitor guides for top universities in the country, the five ways to avoid depression in college is as follows:
Stay Busy — steering your thoughts away from negativity is key.
Exercise — exercising releases endorphins that make you feel happy and energized.
Seek Help — sometimes just expressing your emotions can heal many wounds.
Avoid Drinking: do not get caught up in the vicious cycle that alcohol can drag you into. Find fun activities to do with your friends (such as going to the movies, museums or sporting events), and avoid everything and anything that can cause even more negativity in your life.
Tell yourself it is only temporary: As human beings, we swing from emotion to emotion to emotion. We are never scared, happy, or sad forever. Believe me, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and the rough times will pass.
You should know that depression is not the same as a passing blue mood, neither is it a sign of personal weakness. People with depression cannot just “come out” of it on their own: they need help.
Whenever you are down or feeling depressed speak up. Do not think that no one can understand your situation, no. There are individuals in dire situations daily. If you ask them what they did differently, they will tell you that they “let it all out”. You should always speak up because the minute you do, you have given yourself a chance to heal and get back on your feet again.