Anxiety: The Number 1 Mental Illness Among College Students

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Anxiety: The Number 1 Mental Illness Among College Students

With today’s hectic lifestyles, stress and anxiety seem to be an integral part of everyone’s life but too much stress can be a problem – especially for a college student who can have their academic and social life affected by extreme stress or anxiety. But it is common to assume that if you have any of these feelings then you may have an anxiety disorder although it is not entirely true. Anxiety disorder is not merely an occasional moment of stress that you feel when the pressure of exams and assignments gets over your head but an actual disorder that occurs when your anxiety gets out of control and start affecting your daily life.

Imagine feeling an intense amount of stress and fear that debilitates you and halts your ability to function properly or carry out day-to-day tasks – that is what a true anxiety disorder feels like and most millennials suffer from it during their college years. ADAA, the Anxiety and Depression Association of America has revealed some shocking numbers regarding anxiety in today’s populations saying that more than 40 million young adults over the age of 18 are affected by anxiety disorder, making it one of the most common illnesses in the United States. But out of these 40 million affected adults, only one-third get proper treatment.

There are many ways to tell if your anxiety is more than just an occasional episode of stress or panic and should not be written off as ‘everyday stress’ or ‘worrying too much’. It is crucial to pinpoint the symptoms for an anxiety disorder or a panic attack which is commonly mistaken for a physical condition such as a heart attack or hyper-ventilation. Some common symptoms may include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Lack of concentration
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Muscle pain and headaches

There can be difference between an anxiety disorder and ‘test anxiety’ that a student may feel around exam season but gone undiagnosed and untreated, anxiety can have serious implications on a student’s college life. Most colleges recognize the facts that their students undergo a lot of stress in their daily lives and to help them cope with it better, counseling and therapy centers are usually available on campus.

It is important to provide adequate emotional support to those who suffer from this illness. If you know someone in your college or your friend circle who has been affected by a tragic event in the past or is in the constant state of panic and stress, you must become an active listener and try to help them understand why they feel this way and what kind of psychological help can be made available to them. Like most illnesses, anxiety disorder is also highly treatable if taken seriously and helped by a qualified professional.

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