Top 5 Mental Health Challenges for College Students

College can be tough for all of us – socially, emotionally and physically. It’s not easy finding your group and gelling with them immediately. It’s a whole different kind of schedule with random class hours. There will be parties all the time where sometimes you willingly go, but other times you just feel obligated. However, we’ve all been there, you’re not alone. We’ve all felt the same way you do. Just so you know you’re on the same page as other students, here are five common mental health challenges for college students. 

1. Depression

We’ve all felt this at least once during our college careers. It can be because you miss your parents, you don’t get along with anyone, your work is just piling up or you just don’t like the major you picked and you feel it’s too late to switch out. It’s common, but, don’t worry. Remember that you can talk to your mental health provider whenever you feel necessary about anything and they can help you. Don’t leave it untreated because it can lead to drop-outs and even self-harm or suicide.

Symptoms: Change in weight, fatigue, slowed behavior, feelings of worthlessness or guilt, feeling overwhelmed 

Feeling this way in random spurts doesn’t clarify as depression because sometimes life gets hard and you’re allowed to feel this way but if you feel them regularly, then speak to someone. 

Treatment: Psychotherapy, medication 

2. Anxiety

Also, very common and arises in a lot of times during college because college is stressful and intimidating, to everyone. However, it becomes a disorder when it starts to affect your daily life and causes a large amount of stress and fear. 

Symptoms: Feeling restless, easily fatigued, difficulty concentrating, irritability, headaches, 

Treatments: Psychotherapy, medication, yoga and meditation 

3. Eating Disorders

This disorder is very common for men and women in college. Even though I always say all body types are beautiful, it sometimes easy to lose sight of that. It’s easy to feel extreme behaviors that revolve around food and weight because of how you feel around other people. This can lead to three types of disorders – Anorexia Nervosa, Bulimia Nervosa and Binge Eating Disorder. You may feel uncomfortable or unhappy in your own skin but remember you are amazing, and you don’t need to worry about not being the “perfect” body type because you’re allowed to be uniquely you. 

Symptoms: Distorted body image, dehydration, feeling like eating is out of control, fear of eating in public and excessive exercise

Treatment: Family therapy, psychotherapy, residential treatment or collaboration with a team

4. Addiction

Alcohol and drug abuse is something a lot of college students do. It’s just available to all of us and we tend to misuse that. However, becoming addicted to these things can effect our academic performance, social lives, relationship problems and even create family issues. 

Symptoms: Failure to meet commitments at home and in school, fear, anxiety, bloodshot eyes, a sudden need for money, a sudden change in friends or activities and a built tolerance for drug and alcohol use

Treatment: Group therapy, psychotherapy, peer support, residential treatment and abstaining from all substance use. 

5. Suicide

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255

This is becoming too common for kids our age. It is heartbreaking to see and hear about on a regular basis. All of the above can lead to it. It can be due to a number of factors but please don’t feel like you’re alone. Let someone help you and guide you in the right direction, even if you feel like there isn’t one. If you know anyone who seems suicidal, please dial 911 and get them some help. 

Symptoms: Talk about how they’re a burden, anxious behavior, irritability, rage, humiliation, aggression and recklessness 

Treatments: Call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline