College Student Anxiety

College is one of the most impactful times in the lives of many young adults. Unfortunately, it can also be one of the most stressful times. In some cases, it can surface or even cause anxiety disorders that, at their worst, can have lifelong consequences. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, one in three students experiences severe anxiety to the point of depression. Meanwhile, the American College Health Association found that 63% of college students in the United States felt overwhelming anxiety at least once in the past year. 

Stress is an unfortunate part of college life, and many universities take active steps to reduce it as much as possible. However, problems worsen when stress and anxiety become severe to an anxiety disorder. In that case, active treatment may become a necessary step.

What are Anxiety Disorders?

Becoming anxious from time to time is expected. Everyone gets some anxiety when faced with something they fear. For example, before an interview, before examinations, when making significant decisions, or when faced with an issue at work. While it’s okay to get occasional anxiety, anxiety disorders are different.

An anxiety disorder is a mental health condition characterized by regular and overwhelming feelings of anxiety and fear. This type of anxiety is so intense that it may affect an individual’s ability to carry out activities of daily living. The person may also avoid work and isolate themselves from family and friends. They may stay away from any social events that may trigger their anxiety.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Health Disorders: Fifth Edition, anxiety disorders can be classified into several types

These types of anxiety disorders include:

How Many College Students Have Social Anxiety?

Studies show that more than one-quarter of all college students have some form of a social anxiety disorder (SAD). Of these students, about 47% exhibited mild symptoms, while 10% had severe symptoms that markedly affected their behavior.

Compared to those without SAD, students with this anxiety disorder can have a significantly worse quality of life, especially in social situations.

Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

While the symptoms may differ depending on the type of anxiety disorder, a few common symptoms appear among people with anxiety.

The following are the common signs an individual may be suffering from an anxiety disorder:

Mental Signs

Physical Signs

Behavioral Signs

While all individuals may experience the listed symptoms daily, persons struggling with anxiety disorders experience them to extreme levels.

Causes of Anxiety in College Students

For most people, college is a great and exciting time to create new experiences and make new friends. However, these new changes may become overwhelming for some, causing anxiety. Many institutions of higher learning are reporting increasing numbers of students signing up for counseling sessions. 

While the answer may not be straightforward, here are several causes of anxiety in college students:

1. Moving to a New Environment

Relocating to a new environment, especially far away from home, can be very stressful. Enrolling in college involves:

Dealing with all these changes while simultaneously transitioning to adulthood can take a toll on many students.

2. Separation from Family & Friends

It is not easy for students to leave their lifelong support system. Even the most confident student will experience a dip in self-esteem when away from their support system. This lack of support system and the pressures of college life can be very stressful.

3. Not Getting Sufficient Sleep

Everyone knows how college life can get – most students party and take excessive caffeine, alcohol, and drugs. Getting enough sleep is one of the ways of keeping anxiety levels low. However, college life can make it almost impossible to get quality sleep, thus increasing the risk of anxiety.

4. Fear of the Unknown

College students are often uncertain, especially in this new era of social media. They want to make as much money as their friends on Instagram but do not know where to start. They constantly worry about life after college, stressing if they will get a job. These fears of an uncertain future can be a significant source of anxiety for the students.

Treatments for College Anxiety

Given the high prevalence of anxiety in college students, most institutions of higher learning have put services in place to aid in treatment. These services are often low-cost or free. 

The following are the standard ways of treating anxiety in college students:

Inpatient Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Eden by Enhance offers inpatient anxiety disorder treatment for college students. Inpatient mental health treatment consists of 24/7 care while living at the center. During inpatient treatment, group therapy, individual therapy, and medication management can be utilized. An individualized treatment plan can be developed to best fit individual needs and diagnoses.

Outpatient Anxiety Disorder Treatment

Outpatient anxiety disorder treatment will typically occur after an inpatient stay. Outpatient treatment can include group therapy, individual therapy, and medication management while staying offsite. Attending group and individual sessions occur at the facility, but overnight stays do not occur.

College Student Anxiety Treatment in Orange County

College students in the rapidly-advancing technological era are more anxious than ever before. When anxiety disorders go untreated, they can impact daily life negatively. Treatment for anxiety can include medication management and psychotherapy. 

If you or a college student you love is struggling with an anxiety disorder, reach out to Enhance Health Group today. Our team can answer any questions you may have and give you a better understanding of our outpatient mental health treatment. Anxiety treatment can be customized to best help the individual struggling.