I received the panicked phone call from my mother early in June: my sister’s 20-year-old daughter had just returned home from her sophomore year at college and a crisis had erupted. In addition to having gained more than 50 pounds, Layla was not acting like herself; she was sleeping all day, irritable and uncooperative. Because I worked for decades as a psychotherapist with a specialty in children and families, Mom asked me for help.
College and university students in the U.S. are well known for their frequency of involvement in alcohol consumption. Significant numbers of college and university students also die by suicide. In a study published in January 2014 in the journal Mental Health and Substance Use, researchers from three American universities tested a theoretical model that links drinking problems to the chances that an undergraduate student will attempt or commit suicide. These researchers concluded that such a link exists; its connection point is apparently the presence of serious symptoms of depression.
College can be incredibly stressful. Concerns over workload, grades, career paths and relationships can be intense. According to the 2013 American College Health Association National College Health Assessment, over 50 percent of college kids report having felt overwhelming anxiety. And more than 30 percent say that personal depression has sometimes been so great that they’ve found it hard to function. Are all of these students facing major depression?
College athletics can be a great experience, with a family-like atmosphere and strong bonds between fellow teammates. But when it comes time to leave this atmosphere, what happens to the athlete who isn’t able to find a similarly supportive situation? Surely depression follows. At least that was the thesis for a study of college athletes. But the findings show that depression in college sports starts far sooner than their last day off school.
After 13 consecutive years of education, high school graduates have to decide what to do with their lives. Some head off to college with others left behind. With all the uncertainties of the future and decisions to make, some teens fall into depression. Ironically, all their new-found independence when it comes to romantic relationships, school, work and future plans can make some feel powerless.
Depression is a very real illness that affects adults, teenagers, children and even toddlers and infants. But just because it strikes every age group doesn’t mean the illness looks the same at every age. Depression among children, also known as pediatric depression, looks a bit different from the way it appears in grown-ups.
Abuse of prescription medications is a significant problem on college campuses. And according to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention the problem is growing.
Millennials, or Generation Y (also called the Net Generation, Trophy Generation, Echo Boomers, or even “GenMe”), refer to the generation of individuals born in the latter 1970s or early 1980s through the early 2000s. Plenty has been examined about the Millennials, and much has yet to be understood. In their lifetime, this generation of people has witnessed the fall of the Soviet Union and of the Berlin Wall; the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle; the Gulf War; the tragedy of 9/11; and the long wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Sixteen-year-old Katie got an unexpected phone call from her boyfriend (they usually text). He wanted to break up, at least until the end of the school year, he told her, so he could “focus on sports.” As soon as Katie tearfully said goodbye, she already had a barrage of texts coming in. Her boyfriend, now ex, had already changed his status on Facebook from “in a relationship” to “single” with a few comments about fun times ahead in the single life and cyber high-fives from buddies. Katie didn’t have time to react before she was receiving Facebook messages, comments to her wall, and Twitter comments and direct messages asking about the break-up – one she had no idea was even coming. Everyone seemed to know about her boyfriend’s decision before she did – people online she didn’t even know – making her breakup all the more humiliating.
Stress is the common term for the body’s natural physical and mental reaction to perceived threats or dangers. While virtually all adults and teenagers (and most younger children) experience relatively minor forms of stress as part of everyday life, some people are also exposed to more traumatic forms of stress, either during childhood or adulthood. Current evidence indicates that people who start consuming alcohol at a relatively early age frequently come to rely on drinking to cope with the effects of trauma-induced stress. This reliance commonly results in potentially dangerous heavy alcohol consumption during stressful life events.