College Depression: Psychological Problems of Students

Depression is the most common psychological problem. People across nations and countries are going through some depression or had gone at some point of their life. Depression affects people of all ages and background. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, depression is a condition in which one feels sad,
hopeless, discouraged, unmotivated or disinterested in life usually. It meddles with normal functioning and commonly causes problems with work, social and family adjustment. An investigation regarding College Depression suggest that college student getting counseling services in the years of 1988-2001, a 20% increased happened in many of the students seeking help for side effects occurred due to College depression, amid that era (qt. in Brandy 1). Although the depression in the High school students is increasing at an expedient rate due to scholastic academic pressure, genetic factor, negative life occasion and messed up the family and romantic relations. However, this wretchedness can be cured through psychotherapy, cognitive or behavioral treatments, counseling, and awareness because it is leading to increases in suicidal rate, various health issues, alcohol and drug abuse and often time escaping from home.
Many factors contribute to depression of which genetic factor is one of the leading cause. Results from a study published in online publication Nature Genetics says that depression tends to run in the families across generations: an individual whose parents or sibling have major depression has 2-3 times the high risk of getting depression as compared in general. Co-author Dr. Roy Perlis, at Massachusetts General Hospital also, the professor of psychiatry at Harvard said, “Identifying genes that affect risk for a disease is a first step towards understanding the disease biology itself, which gives us targets to aim for in developing new treatments” (“Identification of 15 genetic loci associated with risk of major depression in individuals of European descent”).

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In the publication, the data collected by the genomics company 23andMe showed in their findings more than 300,000 individuals of European ancestry were analyzed for common genetic variation. There were more than 75,000 people who reported diagnosis or treatment of depression and more than 230,000 individuals with no history of depression. Other factors adding upon to the severity of the depression and anxiety have been identified. In the 16th annual convention of American Psychological Association, David J. Drum at the University of Texas at Austin reported findings from a survey conducted in 2016 in which both undergraduate and graduate students said that problems with academics, problems with romantic relationship, negative life events, messed up family life were the leading cause of College depression.

The college environment is likely another experience for most students. In the book “Depression in Freshmen College Students” author describes College depression as, “Stressors faced by freshmen students as they adjust to college life include academic demands, financial pressures, and separation from their usual support network” (Brandy 5). Students find that they have more freedom and options, but the students living away from home, in college hostels are more likely to found that their family and close friends are not there to help them in problem-solving and decision making. They have to deal with the peer pressure. Mostly teenagers are expected to grow at a fast pace but at the same time, there is a lack of adequate guidance (Wolff 31). It may not be an issue for some students as they quickly make new contacts and friends to discuss their problems with but for others, it may be the most important matter of concern. Such students who do not have anyone to confide with, are more likely prone to College depression.


In a book Teen Depression, the author mentions that “In a middle-class suburb of Detroit, a college student, depressed about his failure to graduate, put a gun to his head and ended his life. No one, not even his family suspected the depth of the boy’s depression. More shocking is the fact that he was the third student in his school to commit suicide in four months. Shortly after his death, a fourth student hanged himself” (Wolff 52, 53). Moreover in a book “Depression in a freshman College student” author mentions, “Students who report depressive symptoms may also demonstrate a reduction in learning opportunities, a decrease in the level of information absorbed and a decrease in their ability to demonstrate learning” (qt. in Brandy 10).The quality of our lives relies on the quality of our association with others. Relationships are a source of so much of joy, happiness, and success; however, they can likewise be the reason of torment and despair. Furthermore, when we have issues with the close relationships, it’s hard to discover delight in anything else.

In an article, ‘Dating could be leading our teenagers to depression’ the writer says that the surprising side of adolescents romance has been reported in various studies, Incorporating one in which nationally representative sample of 8000 American adolescents were interviewed in succession. The authors of the study found that the depression regularly increases over the pre-adult years, however, more prone to develop in the youngsters who turn out to be emotionally involved (particularly surprisingly) than for the individuals who don’t take part in sentimental connections. This extended depression happened even with those individuals who got into the relationship and remained committed. So the findings were not just a question of feel gravely about a breakup (DePaulo, “Dating could be leading our teenagers to depression”). In the journal of Mental Health Policy and Economics an article named “The Impact of Depression on the Academic Productivity of University Students” presents the findings which showed that two-third of the students indicated that they felt a relationship problem was the cause of their depressive symptoms (“The Impact of Depression on the Academic Productivity of University Student).

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It is typical that when terrible things happen, individuals feel awful. Feeling depressed is only one of the numerous emotional states that constitute a response to the continually shifting states of our lives. Distressing life occasions have been reliably connected with an expansion in depressive side effects (qt. in Shapero) Furthermore, the onset of real depression in both grown-ups and adolescents (qt. in Shapero ). Adversities and misfortunes such as loss of loved ones or the emotional, sexual or child abuse play its part in the development of the depression. In the book “Teen depression” authors says, “A genetic factor is strongly suggested: Teens with depressed parents are two to three times as likely as other teens to have major depression and may inherit a tendency toward the disease. However, environmental factors may play an important role as well, as major depression shows up in many teens who have suffered physical or sexual abuse” (Wolff 15).  Research has observed the possible relationship between early adversities, proximal stressors, and the onset of depression and presented that stress experienced in adolescence mediated the relationship between adversities of past and the onset of major depression (qt. in Shapero).

The family is the most important factor of influence in children life. Parents give a setting for personal growth. However, if families fail to function normally, it derails the dynamics of the whole system. The Economic and Social Research Council in its article mentions that through research it was found that when children see their parents fighting or arguing, leading to the fear that family would split up, are more likely to suffer emotional problems such as depression and anxiety. Professor Gordon Harold at the University of Leicester said that “Children exposed to regular conflicts between their parents, conflicts that are non-violent but intense, frequent and poorly resolved, are at the higher risk of mental health” (“Why family conflict affects some children more than others”). In the book “Teen depression” writers mentions, “The high rate of divorce puts an added strain on many teens growing up in single-parent homes. Some are forced into a parenting role while they are still trying to determine who they are” (Wolff 30).

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How College Depression can ruin your life:

Depression can be cruel in many ways, ruining the life of a victim and in most cases marking an end to the person’s life altogether. In an article, ‘The effects of stress, depression, and anxiety on postsecondary students’ author mentions that studies show that in relation to the nondepressed college students, students prone to depression lack many interpersonal skills and suffers from motivational problems (Arthur, “The effects of stress, depression, and anxiety on postsecondary students”). “The National Research Council identifies lack of interpersonal skills in middle childhood and adolescence – “poor social skills: impulsive, aggressive, passive, withdrawal’’ — as a risk factor for depression” (qt. in “Interpersonal Skills/Social Competence”). “A recent pilot study on a nationally representative sample of adolescents found that social competence is negatively related to outcomes such as substance use, depression” (qt. in “Interpersonal Skills/Social Competence). Lack of motivation is very different from laziness. Depressed people feel overwhelmed by life, and they find it difficult to gather the motivation to do what they want to do which inhibits their ambition. Several studies have disclosed that even minor or subthreshold depression leads to the poorer work performance ( Kanton, ‘The impact of depression on workplace functioning and disability costs’).

Due to College depression sometimes students feel so depressed that they consider ending their lives. When they cannot find any solution and feel that they are unable to manage their problems effectively, they often turn to suicide for an escape. According to the organization Mental Health America each year almost 5000 young people, ages15-24, kill them. Also according to the author Brandy, “Suicidal ideation has been reported in as many as 44% of college students during the previous year” (qt. in Brandy 19). In a book “Teen depression” writer mentions that “The rate of suicide for people ages ten to twenty-four has increased by more than 200 percent over the last decade, and suicide is the third leading cause of death for those under twenty-five. Nearly one-third of adolescent deaths are self-inflicted, and teens attempt—and complete—suicide at a much higher rate than do adults”  (Wolff 53).

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College Depression is another major reason of increase in Drug usage in students. High school students often use alcohol and drugs to escape from the feeling of the anxiety and melancholy as it reduces unpleasant sentiments for a short time. An adolescent may drink to lessen the stress of life problems. In the book “Depression In Freshmen College Students” writer says “It was suggested that these students were using alcohol as a means of coping with stress, thus self-medicating to alleviate their emotional pain” (qt. in Brandy 21). “Teen drug abuse in the United States has increased sharply since 1992, along with drug-related visits to hospital emergency rooms. Between 1992 and 1995, the increase in drug abuse among twelve- to seventeen-year-old was 78 percent the fight with the close one” (Wolff 43). According to the author Braithwaite et al., “With regard to the substance use, 90% of the college students reports having used Alcohol in the past years and almost two out of five college students engage in drug abuse” (3).

Depression affects person engagement with the crowd and weakens social connection with the people, leading to isolation and escape as they think that their parents and family do not understand them. “According to the department of justice study, about 1-1.5 million of the American adolescents run away from home each year” (Wolff 50).

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Furthermore, depression affects not only person’s mental health but can also lead to worsening health conditions. Changes in the way brain function may result in significant changes in the body. In the article, “Clinical and health services relationships between major depression, depressive symptoms, and general medical illness” writer tells the audience that “Two studies have found that a history of major depression raises one’s risk of development of type 2 diabetes twofold over one’s lifetime” (qt. in Katon). While various findings have shown that adolescent with depression was found to have the high risk of getting obese in their early twenties compared with nondepressed adolescents (qt. in Katon).

How to Prevent College Depression?

So the question arises from the whole discussion is what measures can be taken to lessen the evil? Many experts believe that communication is the key to identify teen depression while other treatments are necessary too. Many types of treatments of college depression are available now a day like different kind of group talk and behavioral therapies and also different varieties of medicines. Modern forms of therapies usually start with the supportive approach. Psychotherapy is a term used for various treatments which include the link between both the patient and the therapist. Many types of psychotherapy have short term and long-term goals. The instant target therapy is mostly to alleviate distress and emotional stress that restricts patients from working efficiently. “The long-term goal is to change the person’s self-defeating patterns of thinking, feeling, and acting” (Wolff 60). Apart from the psychotherapy, there are other cognitive and behavioral therapies that function differently from psychotherapy in treating the illness. They tend to focus on the present rather than the past, and their goal is to change the negative behavior rather than to consider how it developed. Many teens do well with these kinds of treatments. Since they are often reluctant to discuss their problems, such one to one discussion in which the patient and therapist play the active role proves to be useful.

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“Also, a goal of getting results quickly is more likely to appeal to teens, who are often short on patience” (Wolff 63). Many discouraged teenagers generally those with drug and alcohol issues, discovers aggregate treatment valuable (Wolff 61, 63)Apart from these therapies measures of preventions should be taken on the individual and institutional level. Counseling in the College, universities to prevent college depression should be made active so that students suffering from depression or likely to develop depression get to be known by the authority figures and the people to help them at the right time. In some cases, people around the depressed individual are not aware of what their fellow mates are going through because mostly the depressed person does not wants to tell others his/her condition. For this purpose, an entire course should be designed and should be made compulsory in the academics so that non-depressed people get to know the signs of depression quickly and help to eradicate them if they see any.

Often due to academic burden and other stresses of their lives (college depression), students leave those skills in which they have the edge and which are usually the prominent signature of their personality. Events should take place in which they get the chance to showcase their hidden talents, and it will develop confidence in them and mentally relax their minds. Awareness should be given to the parents as well, not to put so much a burden which their child cannot bear. Often time parents develop high expectations from their children without knowing their field of interest and their mental capabilities which are beyond their level and are harder to seek. But due to the family pressure and negative social stigma attached to the less intelligent and successful people, students ultimately become victim of college depression which then leads to many problems including ending their lives.

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In conclusion, depression and anxiety are the common psychological problem affecting people all around especially the college depression affecting students of college and universities. An evil caused by hereditary factor and the events that are the part of our everyday life. Specifically, the negative events like messed up the family and romantic life and academic problems that one cannot manage effectively. Leading to the critical self-defeating side effects in which suicide, health issues, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of motivation and interpersonal skills and chances to escape from the home are of vital importance. Taking into account, increasing cases of depression, the measure to be taken is of utmost importance. Counseling, confidence building events, incorporating course, related to depression in academics and awareness are important things which should be done to save our beloved ones from this stressful and grave illness.

                    Work Cited

Arthur, Nancy. “The Effects of Stress, Depression, and Anxiety on Postsecondary Students’ Coping Strategies.” Journal of College Student Development. N.p., 30 Nov. 1997. Web. 19 May 2017.

Abela JRZ, Skitch SA. Dysfunctional attitudes, self-esteem, and hassles: Cognitive vulnerability to depression in children of affectively ill parents. Behaviour Research and Therapy. 2006

Brandy, Julie. “Depression in Freshmen College Students” Loyola University Chicago. 2011. Web. 17 May 2017

Braithwaite, Scott R., et al. “Romantic Relationships and the Physical and Mental Health of College Students.” Personal Relationships (2010). Web. 18 May

DePaulo, Bella. “Dating Could Be Leading Our Teenagers to Depression.” The Huffington Post. 09 Sept. 2011. Web. 17 May 2017

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC). Why family conflict affects some children more than others. ScienceDaily, 8 May 2013.

Hammen C. Stress and depression. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology. 2005

Katon, Wayne. “Clinical and health services relationships between major depression, depressive symptoms, and general medical illness” Biological Psychiatry September 2003. Web. 16 May

Marshall, John. “Interpersonal Skills/Social Competence.” 19 May 2017

Nichols, Hannah. “Depression: 15 Genomic Regions Linked with Diagnosis.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 1 Aug. 2016. Web. 16 May2017

Shapero, Benjamin. Stressful Life Events and Depression Symptoms: The Effect of Childhood Emotional Abuse on Stress Reactivity, June 2013.

Stroud CB, Davila J, Moyer A. “The relationship between stress and depression in first onsets versus recurrences: A meta-analytic review”. Journal of Abnormal Psychology. 2008. Web. 16 May 2017.

The American Psychological Association, Clark University, Worcester, Massachusetts, United States,  July 1892.

Wolff, Lisa. Teen Depression: Teen Issues. Lucent Books, 1999

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