One of the milestones many young adults look forward to is moving away from home to attend college. This is an exciting time filled with a sense of freedom. Once the excitement wears off the longer winter months can cause feelings of homesickness that many never see coming. Learning to live on your own combined with the stress of your first finals can lead to depression. It is thought that at least half of all college students feel depressed at some time during their college years. This depression can lead to spending non-class time isolated in your dorm room, weight gain, disrupted sleep schedule, and ultimately skipping classes. If you're college aged son or daughter needs holistic drug rehab in Columbus, please contact Legacy Freedom. We can help them and your family!
As noted, about one half of all college students suffer from some degree of psychiatric disorder with depression being the main one that students face. The American College Health Association reports that 6.2 percent of college students surveyed considered suicide and 1.3 percent attempted it. The symptoms of depression can include hopelessness, sadness, loss of interest in social activities, worthlessness, withdrawal from activities once enjoyed, increased crying episodes, increased drug or alcohol abuse, and changes in eating and/or sleeping habits.
If you begin to feel the symptoms of depression there are some things you should do:
Do not isolate yourself. Everyone wants to get the best grades possible, but staying in your room studying all the time is not a good idea. You must find a balance between studying and extracurricular activities. You must also find plenty of leisure time. Spend that time with friends outside your dorm room. If you feel the need to study a lot find a study group. This will keep you accountable and still allow you to socialize. Work hard to make new friends in college. It is never easy, but making new friends is a great way to remain social and ward off isolation.
Get up and get dressed. Many students simply don't take the time to get up in time to dress up a little. It is really easy to slip into a way too relaxed mode. Take the time to at least prepare casual clothing that is clean and presentable. Sweatpants and yoga pants are OK for around the dorm, but go to class dressed and ready for a great day.
Exercise! Exercise is a way of using physical activities to release the natural endorphins that are produced in your body. These neurotransmitters give you that great overall positive feeling in your body. This will help fight depression in a natural way. Most colleges have a gym, dance classes, and sports activities you can utilize while on campus. For mild to moderate forms of depression many mental health professionals claim exercise is a good remedy for depression. If you are more severely depressed this may not be the answer. In these cases medical help should be sought.
Get some sleep. When young adults go off to college they tend to keep irregular hours. Late night parties, studying, and socializing can disrupt a normal sleep pattern.This can be detrimental to your mental health and well being. This can also lead to problems with your learning and memory formation as well. Keeping a regular sleep pattern can help ward off depression. It will also help you stay healthier.
Use your school's counseling services. Colleges have mental health experts in place for students. Use them! There is no reason to worry about visiting with your campus health center. They will point you in the right direction. Counseling services on campus are generally free of charge and they are confidential.
Technology! With the wealth of technology available today you can keep in touch with your family and friends on a daily basis if you need to. Facebook and Skype make video chats easier than ever. Making new friends in your college environment is important, but maintaining those links to home are just as important. When you are feeling vulnerable or lonely you can reach out to familiar faces to talk things out. These are, after all, the people who know and love you the best.
Party cautiously. We know that along with your new freedom there will be temptations. On campus and off there will be many parties. For some this seems to be the biggest attraction of college. Partying just for the sake of partying will get old pretty quick. If you find that some of your newly made friends only want to party, complete with alcohol and/or drugs steer clear. Throwing your college days away on drugs and alcohol will never lead to anything good.
Stay positive. Sometimes college is not exactly how you dreamed it would be. Studying and classes are hard. Your parents aren't there to push and prod you along every day to get the work done. This is why it is important to use technology to stay in touch as often as you need it. Depression can sneak up on you when you get down and homesick. Call your family and friends and talk it over with the ones you love.
Leaving home for college is a great adventure. You have probably dreamed about and planned it for quite some time. You will want to make it the absolute best experience possible. Recognize that this is your first step into adulthood and it is up to you to make the most of it. When you feel the urge to withdraw find some friends and get out more. These days will pass quickly and you will be on to many more new adventures.
If you find yourself with any of the symptoms of depression listed above seek help. Contact someone on campus or your parents who can get you the proper help! You are not alone and there is no need to go it alone. Get help immediately!
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