The transition to college life can be an overwhelming one. Lack of exercise, academic pressure, poor eating habits and lots of late-night study sessions combine to create a perfect storm for depression to develop. When paired with the financial worries, new relationships, roommate conflicts and other environmental stresses, college students can find themselves struggling with depression without any warning. No matter what year of school you're in, new pressures and changes can appear. Here are some of the most common warning signs that you should watch for.
Sadness and Generally Feeling Down
Especially during the first year of college, most students are excited and eager to embark on their first real independent journey. If that excitement has given way to a persistent feeling of sadness and you find yourself feeling down without any explanation, it's a key warning sign. That's not to say that you wouldn't have some days that you just feel a little down. A bad test score or a poor response to a lecture discussion can leave you feeling a bit disappointed. But when the days start to feel like they're filled with more down and sad days than not, it's time to start thinking about getting some help.
Persistent Moodiness and Anger
If you're finding yourself irrationally irritated with dorm mates and classmates with little explanation or your roommate tells you that you're moody and snappy, it's in your best interest to be attentive to those statements. Most people automatically think of sadness as the leading symptom of depression, but anger and mood swings also arise as a result of depression in many cases.
Trouble With Academics
Depression can lead to cloudy thinking, which may make it hard for you to focus on your school assignments. If you were previously a high-GPA student with great test scores and high grades, finding yourself suddenly struggling to meet assignment deadlines, concentrate on instructions and make decisions may be a warning sign for you. You might also find yourself missing classes due to fatigue and disinterest.
College is an environment that is overwhelmed with opportunities to make poor and self-destructive decisions. If your friends start expressing concerns about destructive decisions or you find yourself withdrawing from usual social and study group gatherings, it may be cause for concern. When these actions are paired with binge drinking, frequenting troubling parties off-campus or experimenting with other dangerous activities, you may be struggling with depression unknowingly.
Although everyone experiences some of these feelings at some point, when they are persistent and overwhelming, it's time to take action. Not only can you work with a local therapy professional or your college campus student health center, you can also invest in some self help books on depression to navigate through the recovery process. You can also check out books like Don't Jump It's Only A Bump LLC for more inspiration and advice.