“College is the BEST time of your life...” “You meet so many people...” “You will not miss home at all...”
For students starting a new year in college, expectations are high. College is supposed to be a time to meet new friends, go to parties, and enjoy the freedoms of living away from home. Many students don’t realize that college can also be a difficult transition and that all those changes can often make you feel anxious, angry or sad.
Every academic year, millions of students are affected by depression, anxiety or a related mental health issue. Yet social stigma, confusion and a simple lack of knowledge of the resources available prevent many from seeking out the help they need.
No matter how perfect college life seems to be, depression can put a dark, gloomy cloud over how you see the world. It can impair your ability to sleep, eat, study, and get along with others. It can damage your self-esteem, self-confidence, and ability to accomplish everyday tasks. If left untreated depression can lead to suicide, the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death of college students.
When I took a part-time job and started living off-campus, my course work fell apart. I couldn't concentrate or sleep, and I was always IRRITABLE and angry.
Leah, sophomore year.
After two years of straight A's, I couldn't finish assignments anymore. I felt exhausted but couldn't sleep, and drank A LOT. I couldn't enjoy life like my friends did anymore.
John, junior year.
I've always been anxious and never had much confidence. College was harder than I expected, and then my parents divorced, which was traumatic for me. After a while, all I did was cry, sleep, and feel waves of panic.
Marta, freshman year
College offers new experiences and challenges. This can be exciting it can also be stressful and make you, or someone you know, feel sad. But when "the blues" last for weeks, or interfere with academic or social functioning, it may be clinical depression. Clinical depression is a common, frequently unrecognized illness that can be effectively treated.
Clinical depression can affect your body, mood, thoughts, and behavior. It can change your eating habits, how you feel and think about things, your ability to work and study, and how you interact with people.
Clinical depression is not a passing mood, a sign of personal weakness or a condition that can be willed away. Clinically depressed people cannot "pull themselves together" and get better.
Depression can be successfully treated by a mental health professional or certain health care providers. With the right treatment, 80 percent of those who seek help get better. And many people begin to feel better in just a few weeks.
Major depression is manifested by a combination of symptoms that interfere with your ability to work, sleep, eat, and enjoy once pleasurable activities. These impairing episodes of depression can occur once, twice, or several times in a lifetime.
- Sadness, anxiety, or "empty" feelings
- Decreased energy, fatigue, being "slowed down"
- Loss of interest or pleasure in usual activities
- Sleep disturbances (insomnia, oversleeping, or waking much earlier than usual)
- Appetite and weight changes (either loss or gain)
- Feelings of hopelessness, guilt, and worthlessness
- Thoughts of death or suicide, or suicide attempts
- Difficulty concentrating, making decisions, or remembering
- Irritability or excessive crying
- Chronic aches and pains not explained by another physical condition
For further information about depression and other related mental health issues, please click on the following links:
The above resources and external links, as well as others found throughout our site, may provide useful information about topics related to counseling and mental health.. Their listing here, however, does not indicate endorsement by the Counseling Center or NDSU. Additionally, although information and self-help resources can be a helpful adjunct to work you are doing in counseling or in a support group, we do not necessarily recommend self-help as a sole course of treatment. If you are interested in speaking with a counselor, please refer to the other pages in this site for more information about our services.