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Anxiety in College Students

How to Deal With Anxiety as a College Student

Mental health has become a serious topic of discussion in tertiary institutions today. One of the issues addressed is a phenomenon related to depression. Anxiety in college students is a common phenomenon. Anxiety is a situation of constant worry over something unknown or that is out of your control.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America, 62% of students who left school was because of the anxiety.

The business Insider validates the findings by pointing out that anxiety is the major mental health issue above depression among college students.

You tend to live in constant fear of failure, academically or socially.  It may get intense and may interfere with your normal life routine. At this point where anxiety is interfering with your life is, you can be diagnosed to be having an anxiety disorder. Anxiety is stress-related. On campus, there are many stressors that may trigger anxiety in your student life.


Triggers of anxiety in college students

  • New lifestyle: As a college student, you are now considered an adult and hence expected to behave responsibly. Once you’re out of the constant watch, the change in lifestyle may trigger anxiety on how to manage yourself, your time and newly found freedom.
  • Friends: You will meet all kind of new people in college, and hence making friends will be a hard task. From breaking bad friendships to maintaining close-knit friendships that are adding value to your student life, you may find yourself over-anxious about things.
  • Roommates: Yes, I know. They can be a nuisance. From roommates who are noisy, dirty, and rude or out rightly disrespectful, this may take a toll on your peace as a student.
  • Exposure to new cultures: A new culture can contribute to anxiety in college students. If you are studying in a new environment other than the one you grew up in, you are bound to experience some culture shock in your college environment. Sometimes a college might have a culture, such as a dress code that you are supposed to adhere to. This will no doubt cause you some degree of worry.
  • Academic stressors: The main reason why you are in school is to study, and this comes with its own craziness. From cats, assignments, uncooperative lecturers and exams to deal with, your academic demand may trigger anxiety. It tends to be worse if your grades are not so good and the pressure to do better is weighing on you
  • Identity crisis: Anxiety in college students can also be brought about by an identity crisis. From meeting new people with new lifestyles, you are bound to re-evaluate who you really are. In a bid to try to fit in with other college mates, it is not a surprise then you may find yourself in constant anxiety, wondering, “Will they like me? “Does what I say make sense?”
  • Trauma from tragic life events: This may include accidents, a divorce between parents or the death of a loved one. This may bring a lot of anxiety into your student life if you do not develop healthy coping habits.
  • Guilt or stress from a mistake may trigger anxiety in college students. Things that may cause guilt which could lead to anxiety is overspending, binge drinking and having unsafe sexual relationships. It is very important for you to see the anxiety signs and symptoms for you to prevent its negative consequences.


Signs and Symptoms of Anxiety in College students

– Excessive, ongoing worry and tension

– Unrealistic view of problems

– Being restless or feeling edgy

– Irritability over the smallest of issues

– Muscle aches and tension

– Headaches

– Sweating

– Finding it difficult to concentrate

– Nausea

– The need to visit have frequent trips to the bathroom.

– Fatigue and dizziness

– Fidgeting, twitching and trembling

– Sleeplessness or excessive sleeping.

– Being easily startled

– Numb hands and feet

– Difficulties in swallowing

– Difficulties in breathing, or rapid breathing

– Hot flashes

– Rashes on the skin

– Dry mouth


Effects of anxiety in college students

– Compulsive and repetitive behaviors such as drug and substance abuse.

– Depression and suicidal thoughts

– Poor performance and mismanagement of time

– Strained social and academic relationships

– Eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa and bulimia

– Weakening of the immune system

– Short-term memory loss

– Premature coronary artery ailments and heart attacks in extreme anxiety cases

– Social withdrawals. Sometimes you don’t want to leave the house.

– Extreme, unwarranted fear of particular situations or things

– Personality Changes


Ways to deal with anxiety

  1. Talk to a physician: A number of the signs and symptoms of anxiety in college students could as well be caused by other health concerns. Before taking any action, first, talk to a doctor to ascertain that what you are experiencing is not another health problem. You can choose to speak to your personal doctor, or visit the medical center on your campus, or even another medical facility around your area.
  2. Exercise regularly: One thing that intensifies anxiety in college students is lack of physical exercise. Exercise is a proven way of helping you relieve worry and tension. You can take a brisk walk, do a light jog or visit the gym to release the constant thoughts on your mind.
  3.  Eat a balanced diet: Nutrition is good for your mental health. Ensure you take well-balanced meals, and if possible, do not skip meals.
  4. Relaxation techniques: There are different ways to do this. You just have to learn what works best for you. You can do deep abdominal breathing, listening to calming music, meditate and take part in activities such as yoga and Tai chi. A power nap in the afternoon might be as helpful too.
  5. Have a strong social network. Always have a friend to talk about when you feel your anxiety is getting out of control. Do not exclude yourself at such times.
  6. Talk to a counselor: Professional therapy sessions may come in handy for you. Most institutions have counseling centers. If there is no counseling center in your college, ask for a good recommendation. Do not fear to be stigmatized because of seeking emotional issues. Everyone goes through their own struggles, and you will be brave enough to accept that you are struggling and you need help. I know you might be wondering about confidentiality and financial issues. Information given to counselors is very confidential, and most counseling centers have subsidized rates for young people.
  7. Use of reputable websites such as Campus Cal and Healthy Minds to get more mental health resources.


Now that you know you are susceptible to anxiety as a college student, it is imperative to take measures to ensure you are not in situations that cause you anxiety. Seek help if you find it unable to control your anxiety problems.

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