|Anxiety, depression among college students increasing|
|Written by Alexandra Corradetti, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Monday, 19 September 2011 21:23|
Recent studies show student levels of anxiety and depression are continuing to rise, according to an article from New Media America.
Jim Almeda, coordinator for Health Promotion and Wellness, believes students who work over 30 hours a week have a strain on their health due to their busy schedules.
“They often sacrifice sleep to try and get everything done, and this has a profound impact on their health and they struggle academically because their cognitive thinking is also impaired.
“[Students] have told me that they feel a lot of pressure from their parents to try and graduate in four years, or their parents will not help them financially after that. I know this adds to much of their stress and anxiety along with all the other things that the article mentions,” Almeda said.
James Terfruchte, psychiatrist in the Division of Student Affairs, believes more college students seem to be receiving mental health treatment these days, and there are a variety of explanations.
“These include the possibility that students with anxiety, depression, or other mental health problems have successfully been treated in childhood and adolescence, increasing their opportunity to attend college these days, rather than being unable to attend due to lack of treatment in the past.
“In addition, social and financial factors certainly contribute stress and decreased wellness among students, increasing risk for mental health problems,” Terfruchte said.
Terfruchte thinks there are also lower barriers and less stigma towards mental health treatment today. In the past, individuals who developed problems with depression or anxiety may have simply withdrawn from school rather than seeking help.
“Another factor is the increasing use of psychotropic and psychiatric medications in the general population these days, use of psychotropic medications has increased not only among college students, but in the general public.
“Despite these changes, a number of people with mental health problems, including many college students, still have difficulty recognizing or accepting when they need help, so there are still many people who need help who are not receiving it,” Terfruchte said.
He feels there are also strong links between anxiety and depression.
“Typically, long-term anxiety increases risk for developing depression, and anxiety often precedes depression. In addition, two thirds of people with depression also have problematic anxiety. Anxiety is not a trivial problem by itself, and can be quite impairing. There are also links between depression and poor outcomes in certain health problems, such as heart disease,” he added.
Terfruchte thinks campus resources for maintaining health and assessing concerns, which might arise, include ISU Student Health Services, Student Counseling Service and Health Promotion and Wellness.
“Some basic ways to cope with anxiety include the basic issues of wellness, which are not always so easy to do. These include regular, adequate sleep, not over scheduling oneself, having some down time and good social support, regular exercise, modest use of alcohol if one does drink and not using non-prescribed drugs,” Terfruchte said.
Terfruchte believes time management has to do with student stress, as well.
“The most obvious cases involve students who are overscheduled between school, classes and other activities such as internships. Perhaps more frequently, we see students [that] have time but don’t really have routines for dealing with their responsibilities or their activities of life,” Terfruchte explained.
Sometimes simple strategies can be helpful. Having friends to study with, exercise with and scheduling times to do these activities can be helpful. The Julia N. Visor Academic Center also offers workshops on staying healthy, time management and other related topics, Terfruchte explained.
“I have always been interested in surveys of mental health issues among medical students and resident physicians,” Terfruchte added.