Where’s the balance in a student’s life?
Students get into college with the idea that they will form the perfect friendships and relationships, achieve personal growth, focus on their studies, and get the best grades. They impose high expectations on themselves. They want to be part of great projects. They apply for internships and extracurriculars. They also get jobs, since that’s what responsible students do.
Did we just figure out what causes depression by simply describing the life of an average student?
But let’s see what the researchers are saying. When we see the facts about the causes of depression, the problem becomes more real in everyone’s eyes.
“Many Firsts” – That’s the Main Cause of Depression for College Students
Erica Riba and Diana Cusumano, advisors from the JED Foundation, say that the life changes that students experience are among the main reasons for high depression rates among them. They develop a new lifestyle, which involves greater independence from their parents. They aren’t controlled when they party, so the responsibility is higher. Many students also have to work, so they learn how to manage their finances.
The friends are new, too. College students have to compromise many things for the sake of living comfortably with their roommates. They are exposed to new people, new experiences, and many different cultures.
If the students aren’t prepared to cope with the new things they face, they become susceptible to anxiety and depression.
Students Don’t Understand Depression, So It Drives Them Deeper
What does an average student know about depression? Their professors ask them to write a great depression essay, so they understand depression in terms of global finances. Students can find perfect essay topic examples about it at Gradesfixer. They also write essays for a psychology course, and they often involve the issue of depression. But even if the student gets deep into the whirl of depression, they might not know what’s going on
Mental illness still carries a social stigma. When they get together, students often talk about someone who “went crazy” or is “not normal”. This prevents many students from seeking treatment when it’s necessary. Although they struggle with depression, they don’t understand it and try to ignore it. They still go out with their friends and put a fake smile on their faces. Deep inside, they know that something is wrong. But they abandon the idea of seeking treatment and they hope that the blues will go away.
Colleges have counseling centers, where each student can talk to a counselor. The problem is that students are concerned with confidentiality issues. They are afraid that their peers will find out they got treatment, so they choose to suffer in silence instead.
The Balance Gets Disturbed When Students Face Challenges
Researchers are clear about depression causes: it occurs as a result of the disturbance of the chemical balance in the brain. When they get off balance, the mood regulation in the system is faulty. Genetic vulnerability is the main factor that triggers disbalance. However, stressful life events also contribute to the development of depression.
The brain is a complex system that regulates all processes in the body. It also regulates the mood through the functioning of nerve circuits. Researchers still don’t completely understand how and why depression occurs. What we know so far is that the amygdala, the hippocampus, and the thalamus play the major roles in the condition.
Research showed that the hippocampus was up to 13% smaller in women with depression when compared to those who hadn’t experienced the condition. The production of new nerve cells in the hippocampus is suppressed when the person is under stress. Hence, stress is indirectly related to the development of depression symptoms.
The stress levels at college are huge. The students face huge expectations. There are no realistic chances for them to attend each class, study everything, do well on every exam, complete all the assignments, make many friends, get a job, and have fun along the way. The finances, the studies, the friendships… everything is stressful about being a student.
What’s the Lesson?
Stress is a major cause of depression among college students. They expect to have the best time of their lives, but they face a brutally competitive environment that imposes huge challenges. Parents and professors expect too much. The students expect a lot from themselves, too. When they face the first failure, it triggers the feeling of not being enough.
Increased awareness is the only thing that could make a difference. Let’s stop stigmatizing mental illness! Students should be encouraged to learn about depression and recognize its symptoms. They should seek treatment when they notice the very first signs.
Depression is a serious condition that should never be ignored!
Michael Turner is an active blogger and academic writer. He covers subjects from psychology, sociology, and student life. Michael has a goal to understand people as much as possible. That’s why he travels a lot and explores different cultures.