The Causes Of Depression Among University Students Essay

Depression Amongst College Students Essay

am writing to you today because our colleges and universities across the country are faced with a major problem. The number of depressed students is increasing. These students are not able to get the help they deserve, and more importantly need. These institutions are not properly equipped to handle this problem adequately. Out of 8,500 students that participated in the study, only 22% of them received minimally adequate care, defined as “at least two months of antidepressant use plus at least three follow up visits to discuss medication or at least seven mental health-related counseling sessions” (DeBenedette, 2012). Mental health is an integral part of our day to day lives. When our mind cannot function properly, we cannot live our lives to its fullest potential. Depression is defined as a mood disorder in which feelings of sadness, anger, or frustration interfere with daily life for an extended period of time.

College students face many stresses during their academic careers. Getting papers done on time, studying for an exam, doing well in their classes are only a few examples of these pressures. Academic performance is one of the main causes for depression amongst university students (Dyson and Renk, 2006). Students with poor academic performance are most likely to develop depressive symptoms. Another cause for depression is the feeling of not fitting in or not mattering. It was found that “self-esteem and mattering among undergraduates was important for psychological well-being” (Dixon and Kurpius, 2008). Students first entering college life are thrown into a world of many different types of people, and it is difficult for them to find their place. Students try to compensate for this by taking on too many activities and are unable to handle the stresses from this overload. The number of depressed college students is increasing at an alarming rate, and there needs to be somewhere they can go to get the help that they need. Mental health clinics on campuses can help reduce the number of depressed students drastically.

Depression is not something that should be taken lightly. One out of every four college students suffers from depression and about 19 percent of depressed students attempt suicide each year (Borchard, 2010). Stress is one of the main factors that leads to depression in young college students. Adjusting to college life can take quite a while. Having to live on their own and take care of themselves is one of the hardest things to adjust to when adapting to college life. Students reported more psychological dependencies on their parents when first adjusting to their new lifestyles. Coping is the only way students find to deal with these feelings. Coping is using techniques such as wishful thinking, self-distraction, denial, or mental or behavioral disengagement (Dyson and Renk, 2006). It is believed that these coping strategies often lead to negative outcomes. These strategies, if used over a long period of time, can cause...

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A lack of sleep, poor eating habits, and not enough exercise are a recipe for depression among college students. The stress that comes with academia — including financial worries, pressure to get a good job after school, and failed relationships — is enough to force some students to leave college or worse.

The risks and consequences of depression among college students

Many factors of college life contribute to risk factors of depression. Many students are unprepared for university life. Today’s students face high debt. They also have fewer job prospects after graduation than previous generations. These added concerns can lead to depressive episodes in college students.

Depressed students are at a greater risk of developing problems such as substance abuse. Depressed college students are more likely to binge drink, smoke marijuana, and participate in risky sexual behaviors to cope with emotional pain than are their nondepressed peers.

The problem with young love

Often, a breakup will precipitate a bout of depressive feelings. Risks of depression related to a breakup include intrusive thoughts, difficulty controlling those thoughts, and trouble sleeping. As many as 43 percent of students experience insomnia in the months following a breakup. Students that are most likely to become distressed after a breakup experienced neglect or abuse during childhood, had an insecure attachment style, felt more betrayed, and were more unprepared for the breakup.

Fortunately, the best therapy for depression precipitated by a breakup is time. Cognitive behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy, and, especially, complicated grief therapy also have high success rates for helping to heal a broken heart.

Suicide and college students

In the United States, suicide is the second leading cause of death among people aged 15–34 years. Among young adults aged 18–25 years, 8.3 percent have had serious thoughts of suicide.

Depression is the biggest risk factor for suicidal youth. Other risk factors include:

  • substance abuse
  • a family history of depression and mental illness
  • a prior suicide attempt
  • stressful life events
  • access to guns
  • exposure to other students who have died as a result of suicide
  • self-harming behaviors such as burning or cutting

Diagnosing and treating depression in college students

College is a stressful environment for most young people, therefore it’s especially important for parents, friends, faculty, and counselors to get involved if they suspect a student is suffering from depression.

Students themselves are often reluctant to seek help due to social stigmas related to depression. A mental health evaluation that encompasses a student’s developmental and family history, school performance, and any self-injurious behaviors should be performed to evaluate at-risk students before a treatment plan is made.

The best treatments for college-aged students with depression are usually a combination of antidepressant medications and talk therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy and interpersonal psychotherapy. Depressed students are also more likely to benefit from exercise, eating a healthy diet, and getting enough rest than many other groups.

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