The Most Commonly Diagnosed Mental Health Issues in College Students

A lot happens when we move away from our parents for the first time and enroll in college. It’s a time when adolescents become adults, take on a load of responsibilities, are forced out of the environments they know, and are placed in completely novel territory. So, undoubtedly, it’s a time of personal changes and growth, which, sometimes, are not so great. It’s easy to see why college-age individuals are at a higher risk for experiencing and developing symptoms of mental health issues. But, what are the most common mental health issues in college students? And, what can college-age individuals do about the symptoms they’re experiencing so that they can live out a normal and healthy lifestyle during this time in their lives?

College Students are at an Increased Risk for Depression

In a 2014 study of college students by the NIH, it was found that 7-9% of college students struggle with depression. Depression is something that commonly develops during adolescence, as 1 in 5 people diagnosed with a depressive disorder are diagnosed during this time. For college students, depression can lead to isolation, higher levels of anxiety, and feelings of sadness and despair, which can negatively affect studies, social involvement, and personal relationships.

Students in College Commonly Develop Anxiety Disorders

Anxiety disorders are the most commonly diagnosed mental health issues in college students. According to the NIH, over 11% of all college students are living with an anxiety disorder. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
  • Separation Anxiety Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Some of the common symptoms of anxiety include sleeplessness, excessive worry, feelings of doom, isolation from others, and avoidance behaviors. Without treatment, college students can be negatively affected by the symptoms of anxiety. Untreated anxiety can lead to the development of physical health issues and can impact a person’s ability to make and maintain personal relationships, jobs, and responsibilities.

Eating Disorders are Also Prevalent in College-Age People

Another thing that’s prevalent in the college-age population is eating disorders. Eating disorders are something that’s most commonly developed in adolescence, so college students fit these criteria. Some examples of eating disorders include:

  • Anorexia Nervosa
  • Bulimia Nervosa
  • Binge Eating Disorder
  • PICA

Eating disorders, if left untreated, can lead to a number of physical health issues including malnourishment, high cholesterol, blood sugar issues, stroke, and even death. So, it’s important that college-age individuals are aware of the signs and symptoms of these issues. And, that help is available to them if they’re affected.

Self-Harming Behaviors Among College Students

Finally, one of the most important mental health issues that affect college-age people to address are self-harming behaviors. This can include any behavior that negatively affects a person’s health including substance abuse, risky sexual behaviors, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts and behavior. All of these behaviors can pinpoint underlying mental health issues like depression and anxiety. And, should be addressed immediately so that these individuals can find relief from the feelings and thought patterns that lead to these self-harming behaviors.

Help is Available for College Students Living With Mental Health Issues

Dealing with mental health issues as a person in college is challenging. Not only do these individuals have to worry about keeping up with their classes, moving to new environments, and making and maintaining completely new relationships, they also have to deal with the symptoms and effects of their mental health issues. Fortunately, help is available for people in college who face mental health issues.

Southcoast Psychiatric Services is an outpatient mental health facility that helps adults of all ages, including college-age individuals, to get the help they need for mental health issues. Find out how we can help today.