When it comes to depression in college students, there are some warning signs that you should be aware of. After all, college life can be a tough time for many students, and depression is a very real issue. Between taking higher education classes and making new friends with other young people, not everyone is able to spend time on their daily routine, which can harm overall well-being and be a risk factor for depression. Plus, college means you’re in a new setting, away from your old support system and emotional support, which can make daily functioning, prioritizing your mental well being or experiencing depression even more difficult.
College can be an exciting time, but it can also feel overwhelming and be a time of increased stress. Especially since the pandemic began, many college students found it’s been easier to feel overwhelmed and feel depressed this past year. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the following signs, it may be time to seek help from a mental health service – whether on your college campus, online or at a local psychiatrist office.
Some of the most common signs of depression include:
Feelings of hopelessness, pessimism, or negative feelings
Chronic fatigue and difficulty sleeping
Loss of interest in activities
Difficulty concentrating and brain fog
In this article, we’ll explore each of these signs in more detail. If you or one of your fellow students is struggling with depression, it’s important to reach out for help. Depression is a serious issue and should not be ignored, and treatment can be very effective. If you need help, there are many resources available, including the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline which you can call 24/7 at the number 988.
Persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
When someone feels empty, it means that they are feeling a lack of emotion or motivation. This can be caused by various things, such as depression, stress, mental illness, substance abuse, or trauma. Depression can often manifest itself through a persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood. This can be extremely draining and debilitating for college kids, making it difficult to concentrate on schoolwork or enjoy social activities.
For example, a college student who is usually chatty and outgoing may suddenly become withdrawn and isolate themselves from friends. They may also start neglecting their appearance or stop participating in activities they used to enjoy.
Feeling hopeless, restless, or irritable.
Feeling hopeless about the future is an awful thing for anyone, but especially for young adults. After all, college is supposed to be the best years of your life! But if you constantly feel like there’s no point to anything or if you have a hard time focusing on your favorite self-care activities, it might be a sign of depression. If you’re also feeling restless or irritable, that’s another red flag. It can be hard to concentrate or sit still when you’re depressed, so if you find yourself fidgeting a lot or pacing around, it might be time to seek help.
Everyone experiences these moods from time to time, and it’s important to be able to identify when they’re just a passing phase and when they might be indicative of something more serious. A general rule of thumb is that if these feelings last for more than two weeks, it might signal a mood disorder. If you suspect that your mood is related to your mental health, it’s time to seek professional help from a mental health provider.
Loss of interest or pleasure in activities
When you’re depressed or struggling with your mental health, it’s common to lose interest in activities that used to bring you joy. This can be anything from your favorite hobby to hanging out with friends. You may find yourself not wanting to do anything at all.
This loss of interest can be extremely frustrating for young adults, and it can make it difficult for many college students to keep up with schoolwork or participate in social activities. Some ways to tell if this is due to depression include if the loss of interest is sudden, if it’s accompanied by other symptoms of experiencing college depression, or if it lasts for more than two weeks.
Difficulty concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
Are you having trouble concentrating in class? Or maybe you’re finding it hard to remember things or make decisions. These are all common symptoms of depression and mental health challenges, and they can make it very difficult to function on a day-to-day basis and hinder academic performance. For example, if you’re struggling to focus in class, you may start falling behind on assignments. Or, if you’re having trouble making decisions, you may procrastinate more than usual or have a hard time choosing what to eat for lunch. These problems can quickly spiral out of control, so it’s important to seek help if you’re struggling with college depression.
Lack of focus can be indicative of other mental health issues as well, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional regarding mental health treatment if you’re having difficulty concentrating.
Fatigue or loss of energy
Do you feel tired all the time, even after a good night’s sleep? Is it difficult to get enough sleep? Or maybe you just don’t have the same energy levels that you used to. This fatigue can make it difficult to function in day-to-day life, and it’s one of the most common symptoms of depression. If you’re struggling with fatigue, you may find yourself skipping class or not wanting to participate in social activities. You may also start falling behind on assignments or struggle to focus when you are doing schoolwork.
In addition to fatigue, you may also find yourself experiencing a loss of energy. This symptom of depression in college students can make it hard to do things that you enjoy or even just to get out of bed in the morning. If you’re struggling with fatigue or low energy, it’s important to seek help from a professional.
Insomnia, oversleeping, or not sleeping enough
Changes in sleep patterns are another common symptom of depression – especially in college students. Some people find that they start sleeping more than usual, while others have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.
If you’re sleeping more than usual, you may find yourself feeling tired during the day or struggling to focus in class. You may also start gaining weight, as sleep can increase your appetite. On the other hand, if you’re sleeping less than usual, you may find yourself feeling irritable or anxious. You may also lose weight, as lack of sleep can lead to decreased appetite. Another risk factor is that your health might suffer due to the lack of sleep.
Many young adults experience unexpected changes in their sleep patterns. However, if these changes are impeding your quality of life, it’s important to seek help from a professional – especially if you have a family history of mental health challenges. These changes can be indicative of other mental health issues as well, so it’s always a good idea to consult with a doctor or therapist from your campus mental health services.
Unexplained aches and pains
Do you have headaches or stomach aches that don’t seem to have a cause? Or maybe you’re experiencing pain in your muscles or joints. These aches and pains are often unexplained and can be a symptom of depression. The pain may be constant, or it may come and go, but it can be extremely frustrating and make it difficult to concentrate on anything else. One of the tell-tale signs is that other forms of pain treatment, such as stretching, eating a balanced and anti-inflammatory diet, over-the-counter medication, or ice, don’t seem to help.
Changes in appetite or weight
Have you noticed that your eating habits have changed recently? Maybe you’re eating more or less than usual, or you’ve started to gain or lose weight. Whether you’re eating too much or too little, changes in appetite are another common sign of depression. If you’ve lost interest in food or can’t seem to stop yourself from overeating, it might be time to seek help.
Are you having thoughts lately that don’t sound like you? Maybe you can’t get a certain image out of your head, or you find yourself fixating on dark or morbid topics. These thoughts are called “intrusive thoughts,” and they’re a common symptom of depression.
Intrusive thoughts can be extremely distressing, and they may make you feel like you’re going crazy. If you’re having intrusive thoughts, it’s important to seek professional help. These thoughts can be a sign of other mental health issues as well, so it’s always best to consult with a mental health professional.
Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
Finally, one of the most serious warning signs of depression is suicidal thoughts or attempts. If you’re thinking about harming yourself or taking your own life, it’s important to seek help immediately.
This can be anything from having suicidal thoughts to making a concrete plan to harming yourself. If you’re struggling with suicidal thoughts, it’s important to seek professional help right away.
Depression in college is tough, but it’s also common. If you’re struggling with depression, it’s important to reach out for help from mental health professionals. These ten warning signs are just a starting point; if you’re concerned about your mental health, it’s always best to consult with a doctor or therapist. Call Neuro Wellness Spa today to learn more about our innovative treatments for depression.
If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 or text “HOME” for free to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741.