Anxiety and depression in college

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Kristina Wyman's picture
Hailey Walker

During the month of October, College’s Disability Awareness Promotion Team is hosting their first event, Disability of the Month. ADAPT promotes equality and respect for those with disabilities, as well as taking action to minimize stereotypes associated with being a disabled individual. Throughout October, ADAPT will be raising awareness about two psychiatric disabilities: anxiety and depression.

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, a whopping 75 percent of lifetime cases of mental health conditions begin during the college age group. Mental health issues are a leading impediment to academic success.

College students were cited with anxiety and depression as two of the most common mental health problems that are found on college campuses in an American College Health Association report released in 2011. Unfortunately, the majority of college students who struggle with mental illnesses do not seek mental health support. The ACHA reports that around 40 percent of students with diagnosable mental health conditions did not seek help while 57 percent of them did not request accommodations from their school due their concern for the stigma surrounding mental illnesses.

It is important to mention that both depression and anxiety are different psychiatric disabilities, but people with depression often experience symptoms which mirror to those associated with an anxiety disorder, or they commonly occur together.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America defines depression as a “condition in which a person feels discouraged, sad, hopeless, unmotivated, or disinterested in life in general.” According to the ADAA website, when an individual experiences these feelings for more than two weeks and they interfere with daily life activities, from caring for family members, to spending time with friends or going to work or school, then it is likely to be a major depressive episode. Depression is a treatable illness that affects the way a person thinks, feels, behaves and functions.

The ADAA lists three main types of depressive disorders, including major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder and bipolar disorder. Nearly 50 percent of those who are diagnosed with depression, are also diagnosed with an anxiety disorder.

Anxiety is a normal human emotion that everyone experiences. These types of disorders are different in the sense that they cause such distress that it interferes with a person’s ability to lead a normal life. There are several recognized types of anxiety disorders. These include panic disorders, social anxiety disorder, specific phobias and generalized anxiety disorder. The symptoms of anxiety disorders vary from one disorder to another, but according to ADAA, some symptoms include feelings of panic, fear, uneasiness, problems sleeping, cold or sweaty hands and feet, shortness of breath, heart palpitations, nausea and muscle tension.

If you believe that either yourself or someone close to you is struggling with depression or anxiety, be aware that there are resources here at the College, which you can and should utilize. The Student Development and Counseling Center (SDCC), offers a wide array of free services to Assumption students. To contact this valuable resource on campus, students can call 508-767-7409, to book an appointment, discuss options for treating a condition or find a place to turn to when things get hectic in life.

ADAPT’s next meeting will take place on October 6 from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the SARR. At the meeting, members will be creating posters and other informational resources to be passed out around campus to educate students on depression and anxiety. If you are interested in being a part of this event and you cannot attend the meeting, please stop by the information booth outside of Charlie’s on October 15 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to grab a piece of free candy and to learn about these two disabilities that strongly impact students and young adults on college campuses all over the nation. The ADAPT officers hope you see you at our next meeting. Please contact us for dates on further meetings, resources or any additional information about ADAPT.

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