By Dr. Danielle Nixon, Reliant Medical Group Pediatrics
College can be an especially stressful time for students. Between homework, exams, and all-night study sessions, it is not surprising that most students experience some type of anxiety during their college experience. Although academic stressors are most common, stressors outside of school work can be equally responsible for causing anxiety among students as well. Anxiety levels can range from low to high, and can sometimes bring about unhealthy symptoms, affecting students’ everyday lives.
There are several different types of anxiety disorders. Generalized anxiety disorder is the most common. Generalized anxiety disorder is characterized by long-lasting, non-specific fears and worries, often relating to everyday matters. Another common type of anxiety disorder, situational anxiety, is caused by unfamiliar situations or changing events. Sufferers may become uneasy in large crowds, during major life events such as getting married, or when having to speak in public or take an exam.
Some common symptoms of anxiety can be difficulty breathing, excessive worrying, insomnia, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, and even heart palpitations. In some cases, anxiety can be controlled easily with the use of relaxation techniques, stress management, and even medication. However, even with these techniques, anxiety can sometimes take on larger forms and require stronger treatment. Severe anxiety can take a larger toll on the body than one would think. For example, vomiting can lead to a variety of health complications, such as cavities in teeth, stomach ulcers and malnutrition. Lack of sleep due to insomnia can take a major toll on the body as well. Without proper sleep, the body may have difficulty fighting off bacteria, leaving the person at risk for infection and illness. Anxiety can even prevent students from going about their normal, everyday activities. Symptoms of anxiety can be truly debilitating for college students, both academically and socially. Students experiencing anxiety, especially when severe, should always seek help and not disregard their problem.
Anxiety disorders are not uncommon, and educators and parents can help students understand that getting help is a good decision and nothing to be ashamed of. Overcoming any perceptions of weakness or shame will help students feel more comfortable when it comes to asking for help and can make treatment a more comfortable and productive experience.
Colleges have many resources that students can access to help with anxiety problems. When searching for help, there are a variety of options to choose from. To start, Student Health Services can be great resource for help with anxiety. Another excellent resource is the college’s counseling center. These places provide services in which students can typically talk to certified nurse practitioners, physicians, and licensed therapists. In some cases, students can be given relaxation techniques and other coping mechanisms. If deemed appropriate, students may also be offered treatment involving medication. Support groups on campus can also be very beneficial for students who are looking to talk to other students about anxiety. These groups give students the opportunity to discuss stress-relieving techniques and to share their own personal experiences.
Talking about problems, known as “talking therapy” is known to be highly beneficial to those suffering from anxiety. Many people find that it makes their anxiety issues less severe and easier to deal with on a daily basis. Students should consider discussing their anxiety problems with close friends, roommates, or resident assistants in their dorm. While away at school, is can also be beneficial for students to talk with a parent or guardian on a regular basis. Whatever form it takes, expressing feelings to others is one of the best ways to help combat anxiety.
Anxiety is not something that should be ignored. For students, it can be easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of college life, but it is crucial to always make sure to put one’s health first. Being able to recognize the signs of anxiety and knowing what steps to take towards the correct treatment plan can help students better pursue their education and enjoy a happy and healthier lifestyle.
You can learn more about anxiety disorders here.
About Danielle Nixon, MD
Originally from Trinidad and Tobago, Dr. Danielle Nixon decided to become a pediatrician because she enjoys working with children so much each day.
Dr. Nixon has a special interest in caring for newborns and helping new parents deal with all the issues a new baby can bring. “I love to work with babies. It always seems they have a big smile on their face,” she explains. “Plus it’s very satisfying to be able to work with new...View profile View posts by this doctor