Completing a college degree can be a hard ball game and not everyone can hit it out of the park. I think we all can agree that college life often brings up tough challenges that can break even the strongest of students if they are not able to handle them well.
Besides academic pressure, students often have to juggle various other psychological pressures such as unfavorable family conditions, infatuations, peer pressure, insecurities, bullying, health issues, etc., that can make it even harder to cope.
All of this can affect one’s psychological well being and can contribute to a lack of focus and potentially losing sight of ultimate life goals.
Around 43.7 million American adults were diagnosed with mental health conditions in 2016. Fear, stress, loneliness, sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression, emotional troubles, self-loathing, addiction, sexual tension, etc. are some common psychological problems among students.
While severe cases of depression and anxiety topped the list, a significant section of young adults also suffered from illicit drug abuse and alcohol abuse. In some cases, conditions were severe enough that patients showed suicidal tendencies.
What to do?
It’s typically easier to treat psychological conditions at an early age, between 16 – 24 years old. After some online research, I have summarized a three-step plan to help deal with and conquer mental health issues while pursuing your degree: Admission, Analysis, and Consultation.
A good first step to addressing psychological problems is admitting that you have a problem and determining that you are willing to face it head on. It certainly takes some amount of bravery to admit that something’s wrong with yourself. Remember, you’re not alone. As I stated above, there are 43.7 million adults that also have some type of mental health condition. There is no shame or weakness in admitting that you have a problem. It is easier to treat and improve your mental health condition if you report signs as early as you see them.
What to look for?
According to Mental Health America, there are several warning signs and symptoms:
- Confused thinking
- Prolonged depression (sadness or irritability)
Feelings of extreme highs and lows
Excessive fears, worries and anxieties
Dramatic changes in eating or sleeping habits
Strong feelings of anger
Strange thoughts (delusions)
Seeing or hearing things that aren’t there (hallucinations)
Growing inability to cope with daily problems and activities
Numerous unexplained physical ailments
2. Analysis: Studying the Connection and Consequences
Most psychological problems are connected to another or lead to another, or they may be a result of one another. For example, loneliness can cause fear, and fear can cause stress and anxiety. Emotional tension can lead to sexual trouble, which in turn can result in addiction and sleep deprivation, etc.
Taking a look at these connections not only helps to identify the problem but can help you identify a pattern, which can prevent an minor illness from branching into more serious consequences like self-injury, drug addiction, depression, bipolar disorder, or in worse cases, causing harm to yourself or others.
To prevent such consequences, you need to understand your problem and know what led to this condition. If you want to read up, there’s enough research on mental health and psychological disorders and papers that you can find on the internet. Be informed.
It sounds very obvious but yes, consulting a professional or speaking to a student counselor can be a tremendous help. If you don’t know where to start, try going to the campus counseling center or look for a student support group on your campus. The university health clinic can also refer you to a mental health professional. If you prefer to find someone off campus, do an online search for “mental health professional” in your city or town.
A recent survey by Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors (AUCCCD) revealed that 72% of students surveyed have felt positive results after consultation. Sharing your problem with a professional will help you get proper guidance, medication, and rehabilitation that’s suited to your condition.
Recovering from psychological turmoil is a hard battle but it is important to persevere. Remember, you are not alone. It may be difficult to pull yourself out of a depression or overcome anxiety without obtaining professional assistance. Talk to someone that can help you.
Try to avoid temporary fixes like self-medicating and don’t ignore your symptoms. It takes strength to identify that you have a problem and seek help. Love yourself enough to make sure that you are in the best mental state possible, and do whatever it takes to maintain that healthy mentality. Remember, you want to live your best life. Stay safe, stay fit and don’t be afraid to ask for help!
Ethan Miller is a private ESL tutor and apart from his passion for teaching, he loves to write. When he is not teaching or writing his book, Ethan loves to blog and is a huge fan of educational technology. Follow Ethan on Twitter, and his blog.