Social anxiety and depression among college students are very common, and it’s one of many mental issues that affect college students. Anxiety has always played a significant role in students’ life. Many students feel overwhelmed with academic pressure, family and social pressure that affect their mental being.

Symptoms and signs of social anxiety

Social anxiety is more than a just feeling of shyness. Social anxiety can interfere with an individual’s daily routine. According to Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER), symptoms and signs of social anxiety include but not limited to:1
1 Emotional and behavioral symptoms

  • Fear of situations or being judged
  • Worrying about embarrassing oneself
  • Concern of offending someone else
  • Intense of fear of interacting or talking with strangers
  • Fear of people that may notice you look anxious
  • fear of physical symptoms that cause you feel embarrassed such as blushing, sweating, trembling or having a shaky voice
  • Avoiding doing things or speaking to people out of fear of embarrassment
  • Avoiding situations that make you the center of attention
  • Having anxiety in anticipation of a feared activity or event
  • Spending too much time analyzing your performance after a social situation
  • Expecting the worst possible consequences from a negative experience during a social situation

2 Physical symptoms

  • Fast heartbeat
  • Upset stomach or nausea
  • Trouble catching your breath
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Confusion or feeling “out of a body.”
  • Diarrhea
  • Muscle tension

Symptoms or signs of depression

Depression is one of the prevalent problems among college students. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression is the first step in helping an individual identify when to seek help from mental health professionals. Katherine C. Nordal, Ph.D., APA Executive Director for Professional Practice, explains the symptoms and sign of depressions include but not limited to:2

  1. Physical well-being signs: Changes in sleep habits such as sleeping more than normally do, difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep during the night, or wake up but feel unrested. Appetite changes such as a loss of appetite or overeating.
  2. Emotional signs such as feeling sadness, feeling of being overwhelmed, feelings of hopelessness, and feelings of powerlessness.
  3. Thinking symptoms such as seeing a glass ‘half-empty’ or ‘half-full,’ having concentration difficulty and paying attention which resulting in difficulty accomplishing work tasks.

If you know experience any of these symptoms, you may experience some kind of depression. Don’t hesitate to seek help from the professionals.

Contributing factors

Students face a variety of problems in college especially during a college transition where they “experience many first, including new lifestyle, friends, roommates, exposure to new cultures and alternate ways of thinking,” said Hilary Silver, M.S.W., a licensed clinical social worker and mental health expert for Campus Calm.3 As a result, they are prone to stress that leads to depression and anxiety.

Causes of depression

Depression is a complex disease. It is difficult to determine the underlining cause of depression. There is more to it than just a result of a chemical imbalance. Research suggests that “depression doesn’t spring from simply having too much or too little of certain brain chemicals. Rather, there are many possible causes of depression, including faulty mood regulation by the brain, genetic vulnerability, stressful life events, medications, and medical problems.”4 Researchers have learned much and continue to learn more about the biology of depression to find and make better treatments that suited to each individual.

Get help when needed

It is important for students who experience living with anxiety and depression to seek help from mental health professionals immediately in spite of the long wait times. College and university mental health services may not be perfect yet, but at least the help is available to those who need.

Sources:

[1] Nordal, K.C. (2013, July 24). Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression. American Psychological Association. Retrieved from http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/symptoms-of-depression.aspx

[2] Mayo Clinic Staff. (n.d.). Social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. Retrieved from http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/social-anxiety-disorder/basics/symptoms/con-20032524

[3] Tartakovsky, M. (2016). Depression and Anxiety Among College Students. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2017, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/depression-and-anxiety-among-college-students/

[4] What causes depression?. (2017, April 11). Harvard Health Publications. Retrieved from http://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/what-causes-depression

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