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What Causes Depression in College Students?

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Depression is a serious mental condition that has been known to take hold of a given sufferer when they are their most vulnerable. These periods in time can range from traumatic accidents, to deaths in the family, to extreme changes in surroundings. Going off to college, for many young adults, falls into that unique third category – extreme changes in surroundings.

During the course of a given bout with depression, individuals feel varying levels of numbness to emotion. This numbness can evoke feelings of complete despair, self-harm and unbearable emptiness. In its least damaging form, depression prevents people from interacting with their friends, family and peers in a way they otherwise would have. When it’s at its very worst, however, depression can induce emotions and feelings that lead to suicide and self harm. If left unchecked and untreated by a mental health specialist, depression can lead to more serious problems in the foreseeable future.

Going off to college is a unique point in time for young adults. It forces independence from a developed comfort zone that folks may have had through the end of high school, and at the same time drives home the point that there is no one around to clean up one’s mistakes anymore. It is a time where people often make errors in judgment because of a lack of guidance available, and it’s also the point where prior sheltering from parents can reverse and rear its ugly head in the form of a cold, hard reality.

Generally speaking, depression drains a person of all of their energy and desires to do anything. In college, this generally means staying in one’s room and not going out. School work can potentially suffer as a result of depression as well, as the desire to do absolutely nothing generally includes ignoring necessary school work. Then, when sufferers cut off contact with the outside world and keep to themselves, that causes a development of loneliness and bitterness that only feeds into the original depression.

The key to stopping depression in college students is hitting it early. Anyone who fears that their child may be suffering from depression should contact a trained mental health professional as soon as possible and get a proper diagnosis.

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