Depression in College Students


Depression is a form of illness that has diverse types of symptoms. Most people suffering from depression may not experience sadness but experience irritability, or lose interest in most of the activities they were initially engaging in. This illness may interfere with people’s daily routine and normal functioning in various aspects of life. Specialists encourage people not to hide or ignore such symptoms that may lead to depression. Depression is never a character flaw. People may find it hard to overcome depression without assistance.

There are various types of depression.  They include major depression, when a person experiences episodes that are discrete (Marek, Schaufeli & Maslach, 2017). In discrete episodes, a person starts feeling different, as there is alteration of his or her behavior. Then there is persistent disorder, which is chronic. This means depression is low- grade, when there is a possibility of a person to deteriorate or improve with time. The third type of depression is psychotic depression, which is the most dangerous of all the types. This depression has a tendency to make people experience hallucinations or delusions. Next, the type of depression people experience during the winter is known as an affective seasonal disorder. Finally, the depression that most women experience when their menstrual cycle is near is referred to as premenstrual dysphoric depression.

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Notably, there are different symptoms and signs of the disorder. They include being anxious, feeling hopelessness, fatigue, insomnia, poor memory, poor concentration and decision making, unwanted changes of weight, suicidal thoughts, irritability, and physical symptoms such as headaches or muscle pain (Kales, Gitlin & Lyketsos, 2015). Different people experience different symptoms and signs. Some may have only some of the symptoms, while others experience majority of them.

College institutions offer exciting experiences where students can explore new opportunities. However, college can also be a challenge to many. As years pass by, college students have been experiencing anxiety and depression that have been affecting them negatively at an alarming rate. Researchers noted that depression and anxiety are among the top reasons why students attend counseling. Nearly one in every six college students is suffering from depression and anxiety.

Women and men can experience anxiety and depression in various ways. Commonly, in depression-related experiences between the genders, female gender is twice more likely to develop the disorder then men. The reason is due to the production of hormones when a certain region of the brain is growing in the female and male fetus (Wade & Ferree, 2015). The biological changes set the foundation for the development of vulnerability that lead to depression.

There are different factors that lead to depression. One of them is technology dangers. Technology and social media are categorized as the most perilous elements of depression, especially in males. Excessive use of them leads to engendering impairment of social interaction and sense of isolation increases. It also leads to competition that is between virtual life and real life. A war grows between students engrossing in social media posting, selfie-taking, and sending of texts instead of them enjoying the physical social interaction.

Most students live two different lives: a virtual life, and real life. Both lives tend to be very competitive and most times virtual life becomes more dominant. There are also students with different personalities, especially females, who most profoundly are attached to using their mobile phones. This behavior frequently leads to anxiety, depression, overall stress, and sleep deprivation. Research has revealed that at significantly, fifty percent of students tend to wake up in the middle of the night to reply text messages. Also, the research revealed that the additional use of technology during sleeping hours leads to poorer sleep quality, increased anxiety, and depression rate.

Secondly, another factor is the searching of drugs. Students tend to acquire stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin. As years progress, the usage of stimulants have principally increased. Students use these drugs mostly to assist them to concentrate in their studies especially when preparing for the final examination. Prescription of such drugs affects patients who are suffering from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The drugs are very effective with such patients but they can be quite hazardous. If students start using such drugs, they may develop depression and anxiety. Both side effects are well known for people who prescribe for themselves the Adderall and Ritalin drugs. In most colleges, the students who misuse these types of drugs are men as compared to women.

The third factor is the depression rate (Avenevoli et al., 2015). Research has revealed most students’ parents in college are depressed. Depression has a genetic component, which means that the risks and dangers of a depressed student may affect a parent who initially was not depressed. There are students, especially women, who complained of cyberbullying especially in high school. Notably, these students have a higher rate of being depressed and anxious. Moreover, the number high school students who are depressed have doubled.

Furthermore, the smoking cigarette is linked to problems of sleeping in most college students. This leads to depression and anxiety especially for men, but fortunately, e-cigarette use and cigarette smoking have continued to decline at around sixteen percentage of students in college.  Moreover, other factors are the violence, sexual harassment, and discrimination (Tarrant, 2015). Many students, especially women face more troubling incidents and are more affected than men are. Female students may face dating violence, religion and race discrimination and gender biases. Others face sexual harassment from their peers and lecturers. These incidents can lead many to suffer from depression and anxiety.

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Some students find it hard to adjust to college life, especially female gender. They start feeling separation anxiety and sometimes, homesick. Such students have a high risk of experiencing anxiety and depression. Financial stress can also lead to depressive illness. One cause entity is college fees increase where students understand that it may be hard to attain their financial requirements.

Students who are suffering from depression should seek medical counseling. Before joining higher education learning, parents and students should be aware of the mental well-being of their children and themselves. Colleges should have qualified professions who can assist students with their confidential issues and the risks they may be facing. Moreover, the colleges should notify both the students and their parents of such available amenities.

It is key to understand that there are various ways of treating depression (Miller & Raison, 2016). They include psychotherapy, known as talk therapy. There is also the combination of psychotherapy and medication. Psychotherapy can assist students to comprehend their emotions, moods, and guided on how to control them. Students can talk to therapists about their feelings, emotions and they are advised ways of managing them.

Some students, especially men tend not to share their emotions with doctors, so they prefer keeping them to themselves. Such students should understand that there are ways people can deal with depression and anxieties. They should always be patient with themselves, performing daily exercise, spending more time outdoors, healthy eating, properly disposing all illegal drugs they possess, spending some time with families and friends who are supportive, and having sufficient sleep. By performing these activities, they can assist students in reducing depression. Early treatment is the most effective. Treating depression assists students in accomplishing college and succeeding in their lives.

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  1. Avenevoli, S., Swendsen, J., He, J. P., Burstein, M., & Merikangas, K. R. (2015). Major depression in the National Comorbidity Survey-Adolescent Supplement: prevalence, correlates, and treatment. Journal of the American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry 54(1), 37-44.
  2. Haberler, G. (2017). Prosperity and depression: A theoretical analysis of cyclical movements. Routledge.
  3. Kales, H.C., Gitlin, L.N., & Lyketsos, C.G. (2015). Assessment and management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Bmj, 350(7), h369.
  4. Marek, T., Schaufeli, w.B., & Maslach, C. (2017). Professional burnout: Recent developments in theory and research. Routledge.
  5. Miller, A.H., & Raison, C.L. (2016). The role of inflammation in depression: from evolutionary imperative to modern treatment target. Nature Reviews Immunology, 16(1), 22.
  6. Tarrant, S. (Ed). (2015). Gender, Sex, and Politics: In the Streets and Between the Sheets in the 21st Century. Routledge.
  7. Wade, L., & Ferree, M.M. (2015). Gender: Ideas, interactions, institutions. WW Norton.
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