Now a days, Depression in College Students is a very common issue. So, have you been feeling moody or sad lately? Do not worry, it is perfectly normal. College is an exciting time in one’s life and individuals go through many highs and lows during this period.
There is no consistency in college life and it may feel like you belong nowhere. Also, you may feel lonely as you may move away from your friends and family for pursuing college.
The weight of expectations from all around and the changes that one goes through may trigger depression in a college-going student. The expectations may come from your parents, professors, and even from yourself.
Some of the contributing factors to depression are loneliness, tough classes to attend, meeting, and interacting with strangers, getting a lot less sleep, and no good food around. Hang on, it is not as bad as it seems.
How To Deal with Depression in College Students
What exactly is depression? Depression could be anything from feeling “the blues” to full-blown clinical depression. Depression is a very serious issue that needs to be addressed. It may make a person feel overwhelmingly sad for a prolonged period.
As serious as the problem sounds, it has a solution to it. Yes, depression is treatable by a medical professional. Depression affects you not just mentally but physically as well.
A depressive state is marked by feelings of hopelessness and guilt. Even the most meaningful things in life may seem insignificant. Some of the symptoms of depression may include a feeling of sadness, lack of interest in activities, weight loss, disturbed sleep pattern, fatigue, sense of worthlessness, etc.
The American Psychiatric Association has defined depression as a common and serious illness. It affects how you feel, thinks, and act. When the symptoms last for more than 2 weeks, one can be assured that they are suffering from depression.
According to a study lot of people have experienced anxiety by the time they turn 22. Depression is the most common mental disorder that people suffer from out of all mental disorders.
According to some mental health experts, depression among college students is on a rise and one of the most common problems faced by them People suffering from depression may not even know it and maybe in denial.
It is very common for people to deny thinking to themselves about the possibility of suffering from a mental disorder.
Different Types of in Depression in College Students
There are many types of depressive disorders. Some of them are explained below:
Major depressive disorder or major depression the symptoms can be full-blown in this case and may take a toll on the everyday life of the person.
Minor depression may experience similar symptoms but with less intensity. It lasts a shorter period, though it can grow into a major depressive disorder if left untreated.
According to a survey by American College Health Asociation-National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA ) many college students suffered from a major depressive disorder.
19 Ways To Deal with Depression in College Students
The various stages of student life are not easy to deal with and leaves them vulnerable to mental disorders, most common being depression and anxiety. One can comfort themselves by knowing that they are not alone.
Suicidal thoughts may occur in the case of major depressive disorder. One should be careful not to give in to the negative thought process and should seek help as soon as possible. The health care practitioners may be able to help the students on beating “The Blues”.
Some of the tips for dealing with depression are discussed below. Always remember, depression is common and treatable. Suicide is never an answer.
#1. Seek Assistance
Depression, as stated before, is treatable. Seek assistance from a doctor or a health care professional in case you or anyone around you exhibits symptoms of depression.
Mild depression, when left unchecked may lead to a full-blown depressive disorder episode in one’s life. The best step to achieve recovery is by asking for help from a psychiatrist.
You should never feel alone because you are not. The students can talk to the authorities present in colleges and universities who are equipped to deal with such situations.
Always remember there are suicide prevention helplines. Suicide is never an option.
#2. Engage yourself in therapy
Trained professionals are meant to help you through your depressive state. Mental health professionals can provide you with the much-needed support and help that you require to recover.
There are many factors that you might want to take into consideration before choosing a therapist for yourself. Some students may need medication and therapy whereas some students can do just fine with the help of psychotherapy.
Many students cannot afford medical assistance, but there are many colleges out there providing free medical health care to students. Therapists found on college campuses generally can connect and deal with issues faced by the students.
In case you do not find therapy helpful, consider another therapist. It could be just that the therapist did not suit your needs and requirements. In case your depressive episodes are hampering your studies, you may request accommodation and treatment on campus.
#3. Plan your day
Prioritizing and proper planning of your day plays an important role in college life. A sense of satisfaction is achieved when you realize that you have everything under control. Prioritizing allows you to focus on matters that need importance and negate redundant options.
A plan will help you get out and about. Getting going and having a head start in the morning helps you provide the needed mental support. Being away from home, one need to take care of a lot of things that unplanned can be very overwhelming.
Letting go of unhealthy habits is very important, Working upon your strengths is a major life skill one must learn in college times. Letting go of unattainable goals also is very important.
#4. Have a good support system
Surrounding yourself with a good support system is a very important part of dealing with depression and stress. This setup can include your friends, relatives, and even professors.
Surrounding yourself with people who have a positive outlook on life is very important. Always have a reliable ear to listen to your problems as communication of feelings also plays a very important role in helping a person suffering from depression.
#5. Setting a sleep pattern
Constant fatigue is a major trigger of depression. Make sure you get enough sleep to not be tired and function through the day well.
Setting a proper sleep schedule helps you get a head start in the following day and make a routine for the day.
Making a routine for the day gives you a sense of satisfaction that everything is under control. Also getting enough sleep is very crucial to your mental well-being.
#6. Utilize the school’s counseling services
It is always better to seek help than to wait for help to come to you. In case you feel stressed or depressed the best thing to do is to visit the college counseling services provided at your college or university.
The college counselors are well equipped with dealing with such cases; also they can make a connection and understand what a student is going through.
#7. Try medication
Talk to a specialized medical healthcare service provider. Your doctor can help you rule out the symptoms and the medication required to treat your problems.
Taking a course of therapy along with medicines can help you overcome depression faster and decreases the chances of relapse.
Mindfulness is something you can practice very easily without any problems. Mindfulness means staying in the present moment.
College students may find themselves pressurized by a lot of work, managing so many things at once that they hardly have time to focus on one thing.
Managing frequent distractions like phones also is a task in today’s time. Mindfulness not only helps in treating depression but also reduces relapses.
#9. Take good care of your physical health
You may have heard this quite often and it cannot be emphasized enough. Diet, exercise, and sleep are the key factors to look into.
The brain chemicals serotonin and dopamine are made from things that we eat. You can increase transmitters in the brain by improving your diet. Eating a nutrient-rich diet may be very important for you.
Keeping some healthy snacks such as almonds, apples, etc. helps you maintain a healthy diet. Also, home-cooked meals are much better as they contain more nutrients and vitamins as compared to outside food.
As Elle woods said, “exercise helps you produce endorphins and endorphins make you happy…” Apart from endorphins exercise also helps to produce neurotransmitters that we have discussed above.
Exercise may seem like a daunting task when you have no motivation to do anything, but one can always get up and make it interesting by making a group or joining one where physical exercise is practiced.
#12. Spend time outdoors
It may sound very simple but spending time in nature can help you reduce stress and depression. Nature helps to heal all kinds of problems. When out in nature one tends to have some form of physical activity such as biking, hiking, skiing, etc.
One can make group plans for going out in nature with friends or family. Students who are away from the countryside can plan a short getaway at the beach or mountains on a weekend.
There are many Japanese traditions where they believed and studies have proven that going out in nature helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Reducing stress and anxiety, in turn, causes a reduction in depression. Nature always helps to uplift one’s mood and improves overall well-being and health.
#13. Avoid drug and alcohol
Again very common advice is given to students but is very crucial. Drugs and alcohol play a significant role in the increase in depressive symptoms.
One should avoid drugs and alcohol as much as one can. Substance abuse and depression are interlinked. Unhealthy use of drugs and drinking if left untreated may turn to addiction very soon.
#14. Get involved in activities and extracurricular
Joining clubs or social groups on campus helps you get your mind off stressful situations and gives you an outlet. It serves as a great distraction from real life. Also, it removes the feeling of being isolated especially for students who are away from home.
Getting involved in activities also helps you to boost your self-confidence and can be a good ice breaker in a new environment. Do something that you’ve never done before.
Combining therapy and medication along with activities can help you overcome depression fast and easily.
#15. Make time for yourself
Yes, it is very important to set some time apart just for yourself. Allow yourself to take well-deserved breaks. Experience life outside the university!
#16. Set healthy boundaries
The feeling of worthlessness or guilt is very common when suffering from depression. Sometimes when we feel worthless, we may have a hard time saying no to something we shouldn’t be indulging in. It is always important to know what is in your best interest.
In college, we may feel pressured by our peers under the garb of seizing the day or living in the moment. We may feel the need to say yes to every group study, every time a friend asks you out.
This approach can cause problems for us. It can be hard to disappoint people or say no. Setting clear boundaries and saying no when required is something we all should practice.
Going away from family and friends means starting from scratch altogether! Meeting new people is always a great idea. It can hard and overhauling, to say the least. Developing connections is important for your mental health.
According to a study, social support minimizes the effect of stress or depression on college students. Reducing the impact of stress through social interactions is important because stress exacerbates the symptoms of depression.
If one is depressed, you may not engage in activities you once enjoyed. This can lead to loneliness away from family, friends, and acquaintances. There are many ways to strengthen social connections in a college or a university.
The many activities include joining a class, or setting a weekly dinner date with your roommate, put together a study group for a class you enjoy, etc. According to The Atlantic, connecting with friends helps you to ward off depression and also helps you recover from it.
#18. Improve your nutrition
Eating well is the first step towards feeling well. However, due to a busy schedule in college one may find it difficult to get the eating time. But eating healthy and right doesn’t have to be a task.
Even a simple act of adding more nutrients to your diet can help and make you go a long way. The perfect go-to snacks are apples, almonds, etc. As a student one should be well-stocked with them.
Time and energy spent on eating healthy foods are much more beneficial than the time and energy spent on stress and depression. Even simple choices like oatmeal or green tea can help. When eating meals, try and incorporate healthy choices such as nutrient-rich foods.
Sometimes nutritional deficiencies may also lead to depression. So checking with a doctor for the requirement of certain vitamin intake should be taken into account.
The sleeping pattern plays a very vital role in our mental health. We may suffer a lot when we get behind our sleep schedule. There are many reasons due to which one may not get the required amount of sleep.
However, sleep is very crucial for mental health, and getting the right amount of sleep is a life skill one must learn to conquer.
#19. Work towards recovery
Do not be a procrastinator, rather start doing stuff. Always remember it is you who can help yourself out the best and fastest. Giving up should never occur to you.
Be responsible, set targets, and achieve them by any means possible. Focus on making a positive impact instead of wallowing in self-pity. Always remember self-pity does no good to anyone and is only an excuse to not come out of the problem.
Conclusion: Deal with Depression in College Students
We hope you have found the above mentioned tips on how to deal with depression in college. You just remember one thing that the depression is a treatable condition, so don’t hesitate. Stay healthy, stay happy!