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Depression in College Students: The Warning Signs

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College is an exciting, eye-opening, fun-filled, chaotic and sometimes stressful time. College students not only work hard but often play hard too, and this lifestyle of burning the candle at both ends, combined with often not eating as well as they should, can lead to exhaustion and feelings of stress. In more severe cases, due to the lifestyle, or simply for no known reason at all, students can become depressed and sometimes need help.

Indeed, depression is the most common health problem suffered by college students, so if you are someone dealing with this disorder, please be aware that you are far from alone and there is a lot of help at hand. Even if you only reach out to one person, be sure to tell that person how you are feeling.

In addition, if you are a college student and are concerned for another, here are some of the warning signs that someone you know could be secretly suffering from depression and may need assistance.

Withdrawal from social situations

Depression can affect anyone: from the most sociable extrovert to the shyest introvert. As an illness, it is totally indiscriminate. However, if you do notice that a friend is more introverted than usual, and is avoiding social situations you know he or she would usually enjoy, then it could be a sign that person is secretly suffering.

A lack of interest in things they previously enjoyed

Similarly, when friends start to show a lack of interest in doing things that they previously loved to do, or become disinterested in things in general, it could be another sign that they are dealing with something big on their own. As with all of the warning signs on this list, intervening first by simply asking if a person is OK is a great place to start.

A change in behavior

Often people dealing with depression can display a number of changes in behavior, be it flashes of anger when they are normally calm and passive, or more introverted tendencies when you know them to be more out-going. Keeping an eye on behavioral changes can be helpful when looking for signs of depression, although as with all of the items on this list, there is no completely full-proof way of knowing that someone is depressed.

Changes in sleeping habits

As depression can affect people in different ways, there is once again no foolproof sign when it comes to sleeping patterns, but do watch out for indications of insomnia, or even sleeping too much. “Staying in bed can often be a college student cliché, but on a serious note, look out for increased lethargy and tendencies to hide away in the room under the premise of sleeping,” suggests Marion Foreshaw, an educator at Boomessays and Revieweal.

Increased and prolonged periods of sadness

Despite its name, depression is not solely about feeling sad: there are any number of reasons why people experience depression, and often sufferers cannot identify any obvious reason why they would begin feeling sad. For example, it may strike when a person is outwardly happy, so never assume someone isn’t depressed just because he or she doesn’t look sad or should have plenty of things to be happy about. “Depression is totally irrational, and often the sufferer will understand themselves that their feelings are nonsensical. This frustration can often only exacerbate problems,” warns Stephen Coney, a health writer at Assignment Services and Academized.

That said, if someone you know does appear to be melancholy, and for a longer duration than you would be accustomed to, do start to ask questions. Intervention is important at any stage, as no one wants people to suffer in silence.

Suicidal or harmful habits/actions

This is at the extreme end of the warning scale, but never ignore people expressing themselves in ways that could be interpreted as suicidal or self-harming. Furthermore, reckless behavior that shows no regard for the individual’s own personal safety may also be a warning sign. In these kinds of cases, immediate intervention is often required, so be direct in trying to tackle the problem at hand. Ask questions immediately and listen. Listening is the best way to help somebody until professional help can be mobilized.

If you or someone you know experiences mental health issues, it is important to seek help from a qualified professional. Our Resource Specialist can help you find expert mental health resources to recover in your community. Contact us now for more information on this free service to our users.

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Author Bio: Chloe Bennet is an education editor and blogger at Big Assignments and OX Essays services. She writes articles for college students and creates new life hacks for them. Chloe tutors at Essay Services portal.

Photo by Arif Riyanto on Unsplash

The opinions and views expressed in this guest blog do not necessarily reflect those of www.rtor.org or its sponsor, Laurel House, Inc. The author and www.rtor.org have no affiliations with any products or services mentioned in this article or linked to herein.

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