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Top 3 Mental Health Problems Facing College Students

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College is associated not only with lots of fun, campus life, and freedom but also with tons of stress caused to students. If you are a student, you know very well how much work you must cope with and how much stress you get.

Constant tests, writing assignments, GPA, finals, and loads of homework always cause sleepless nights. All this affects your mental health a lot. Even remote education nowadays doesn’t facilitate the situation and causes even more pressure on students.

The American College Health Association surveyed in 2018-2019 and concluded that nearly 60% of American students are overwhelmed with their assignments, and 40% of respondents confessed to experiencing difficulties with functioning. In 2019, the demand for campus mental health services increased by 40% among students.

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If you are a college or university student and feel like being overwhelmed with your studies, writing assignments, and homework, find out more about what mental health issues you might face when not coping with your stress on time.

Anxiety and depression

Experiencing anxiety from time to time is not a big deal. Anyone can face it. However, when you are too worried or have panic attacks quite often, this is a mental disorder and requires help. Surveys show that students often suffer from this disorder as a consequence of being constantly stressed.

The symptoms of anxiety

If you have no idea whether you are just worried or have anxiety, pay attention to the following signs of this mental disorder:

  • Constant feeling of apprehension and stress
  • Irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath
  • Concentrating problem
  • Frequent headaches and muscle pain
  • Tension and irritation
  • Fearfulness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Diarrhoea and stomach issues

Of course, when having just one or two symptoms, you should not worry because people experience them from time to time. When having a range of them at once, though, you should be concerned.  

Depression is a more serious condition, and you should never allow it. Depression includes a frequent feeling of sadness, loss, hopelessness, and lack of interest in everything that was interesting for you before. Such mental health disorders may cause appetite issues, body, and headaches, insomnia or vice versa, and so on.

Every year, nearly 40% of students experience depressive conditions. The trickiest thing about this disorder is that its symptoms vary in different people.

The symptoms of depression

  • Appetite changes
  • Sleep changes
  • Sadness
  • The feeling of being overwhelmed
  • Powerlessness and hopelessness
  • Attention and concentration issues
  • Problems with reading and completing tasks

As you can understand, distinguishing these mental issues is quite problematic. A person might be simply tired of studies or work and experience these issues from time to time. However, each of these frequently repeated conditions might be a sign of depression.

Naturally, such issues will affect your working capacity and your studies will hardly be successful due to the above-mentioned reasons. If you want to facilitate the process of your academic studies, it is better to make records of the lessons and find an easy way to transcribe. If you found yourself experiencing mental problems, you should apply to a doctor while procrastination may worsen the situation. Even the best transcribing services will not help you until you receive therapy. Therefore, make sure to make your studies easier in advance not to face such a serious disorder.

Eating disorders

Another big problem caused by stress among students is eating disorders. First of all, when you are overwhelmed with work, you rarely have time for healthy nutrition. Your eating habits change, and you often eat various fast foods.

Stress causes even more problems. You may lose appetite fully or start eating too much without noticing it even. As a result, you have many health problems, even anorexia or obesity. The statistics collected in 2018 by the National Eating Disorders Association showed that 20% of female college students have eating disorders.

This rate keeps rising. Among male students, the rate is lower than 10%. Eating disorders common for students are as follows:

  • Anorexia nervosa
  • Bulimia nervosa
  • Binge eating disorder

Your symptoms depend on your individual peculiarities and mental state. Pay attention to the following red flags and make sure to notice an eating disorder:

  • Poor body image
  • Dehydration
  • Excessive exercise
  • Fear of eating in public
  • Making excuses for your eating habits all the time
  • Out-of-control eating
  • Irregular heartbeat

Many students don’t pay attention to their eating disorders, unfortunately. Such conditions can be noticed too late and result in other, more serious health problems, such as heart and menstruation disorders, hormonal imbalance, etc.


Since the amount of stress is huge for students, they often seek to reduce their stress levels. For that purpose, they take alcohol or even drugs. Addiction is both physical and mental dependence on particular alcohol or drugs. Needless to say, how much it harms physical and mental health and what risks it has.

If you take a look into statistics from 2019, you will know that 1500 thousands of students on American college campuses die of alcohol every year. 25% of students confess to abusing alcohol to boost their studies. Many students abuse drugs and painkillers heavily nowadays.

It doesn’t mean that all students who use alcohol or drugs develop an addiction. However, the following symptoms will let you know whether you have it or not:

  • Impaired coordination
  • Slow or unclear speech
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Paranoia, anxiety, fear, or depression for no reason
  • Alcohol or drug tolerance
  • Physical changes – weight loss or gain, lack of grooming, etc.
  • Sudden financial crisis
  • Change of friends, interests, activities, hobbies
  • Suspicious behavior patterns – law issues, fights, etc.

If you have at least of the above-mentioned symptoms, you need help the soonest, while this might be a sign of addiction. If there are drug or alcohol abusers in your family, you are at a high risk of developing an addiction. It is necessary to contact the health center for students in your college if you notice some of these symptoms.

Don’t think that you can easily quit and cope with that condition. It must be taken seriously and treated the soonest as possible. All of the above mentioned mental health issues might cause a more serious problem like suicide. The suicide rate among students is very high, so don’t neglect obvious symptoms and pay attention to even those that might seem minor at first sight.

If you are a student and feel overwhelmed, you should learn how to facilitate the process of studying before it affects your mental condition. You can record your lessons and transcribe quickly, for example. It will save tons of your time and reduce the level of stress a lot. This way, you will be able to get back to your lesson very quickly whenever you need it without worrying that you forgot something important. 

Tommy Williamson did his degree in psychology at the University of Edinburgh. He has an ongoing interest in mental health and well-being.

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