All individuals go through bouts of stress and anxiety from time to time, but for teens, who face hurdles while transitioning from their school years to the challenges of university life, the college environment and surroundings, fear of the unexpected, frequent occasions of stress, and other uncommon experiences can greatly increase the risk of developing depression. Butterflies fluttering in the stomach before a viva voce examination, having clammy hands in an embarrassing situation, cold sweat trickling down when thinking of a challenge, or sensations of nausea when facing a worrisome situation, can all contribute to the levels of stress experienced by the brain or the body during such a transitory phase.
However, newbies to college who grapple with varying situations of fear, mental and physical uneasiness, tension and apprehension are prone to seek immediate and quick ways to relieve themselves of such feelings. They might decide to drink alcohol, take the aid of prescription drugs, or in grave cases, resort to substance abuse to boost their low self-esteem, alleviate their agitated minds, or douse their inhibitions. Whereas, what happens is exactly the opposite, as the substances which they had associated with good feelings actually makes them feel worse.
As a result, the passing feelings of restlessness or paranoia aggravate and last for a much longer period of time. According to the National Data on Campus Suicide and Depression, one in 12 college students in the United States makes a suicide plan. Moreover, suicide is the second leading cause of death among the 20- to 24-year-olds.
Handy tips for college students to deal with depression
Though college is a time to experiment and explore, it is also a time to be careful about what one chooses to do and be, as the wrong choices may expose one to the risk of developing mental disorders. However, college years are said to the best time of one’s life. Here are a few useful tips to help enjoy college life and keep the mental illnesses, especially depression, anxiety and stress, at bay.
- It could be dangerous to take social media at its face value: Socializing online, especially when experiencing depression, can be quite dangerous. Scrolling through images of happy and merry-making people can make an individual feel more depressed and godforsaken, while in reality appearances can be deceptive. Depressed individuals may begin comparing themselves with others, believing that they alone are the unfortunate ones on the planet, which is a false assumption.
- Drinking only aggravates depression: While life at the university may translate into more freedom to indulge in parties and weekend drinking, one cannot be too careful. Numbing one’s agitated mind with alcohol is bound to result in a hangover and additional problems once the effect of the alcohol wears off. Nowadays, alcohol is the drug of choice among college students, as it is increasingly associated with coming of age. Sadly, more and more teenagers are indulging in binge drinking to escape from their stressful lives, but they end up multiplying the existing stress. It is better to stay away from drinking too much and spend time in activities of interest.
- Ensure the right group of friends: Sometimes freshers at college, scared of being left alone, take to the very first group of friends that they come across. Hanging out with the wrong group of friends or buddies may make someone feel out of place and lonely even when they are surrounded by scores of people. Making friends with people who are poles apart mentally can actually increase depression due to lack of emotional support in times of trouble. One can explore different groups of people and choose his or her friends carefully as a man is known by the company he keeps.
- Seek help at the right time to prevent mishaps: While many teenagers fail to seek help for depression and anxiety due to the fear of being misjudged, ridiculed or stigmatized, some college goers may refuse to seek help out of pride, which could actually be the largest hindrance in their road to well-being and recovery. However, with the right kind of help and support, students can go a long way in breaking free from the clutches of any kind of depression or anxiety, which they may experience.
- Failing is not the end of the world: In fact, failure should be treated as the stepping stone to success, but unfortunately, depression can make it appear like one of the greatest setbacks in life. The fear of failure in college can cause unwanted tensions in students leading to full-blown anxiety, stress or depression. Students should view failures as blessings in disguise and lessons in life, rather than assuming them to be signs of life coming to an end.
- Consider mental health at par with physical health: Sadly, many young people at university never consider depression as a serious health concern. Instead they remain ignorant about it and prefer to brush the existence of such a malady under the carpet. One must strive to not allow the social stigma surrounding depression and other mental health disorders deprive the problem of the crucial attention and importance that it deserves.
Treating depression is possible
Depression is one of the most common mental health problems in the United States and the leading cause of disability around the world. Nipping it in the bud is the key to prevent numerous other maladies, and depression is no different. Depression can assume devastating proportions and prove to be debilitating, if left untreated. Unknowingly, many individuals allow it to grow to an extent where treating the disorder becomes a difficult task. As a result, one should seek the help of a mental health professional if there are any depressive symptoms.
Sovereign Health of San Clemente, California offers customized therapy for depression for each of its patients. Our team of specialists identifies what causes depression in the patient and prescribes personalized individual and group psychotherapy based on his or her requirements. If you or your loved one is battling depression, call our 24/7 helpline number or chat online with our representatives, who would answer all your queries on treatment for depression.