Why Depression In Students/ College Students Is Growing? A Deep Analysis

Early morning call it was!

I can hear the babble around me. Rubbing my eyes, I opened them. Astonishingly, found my eyes had no such role to play in that situation. I heard the panicking voice of my Mommy. 

She grasped her phone and was sweating while talking to my Aunt. She was constantly consoling her. She ended the call after a couple of minutes and her forehead lines were speaking louder than she.

I asked her about the issue. She sounded disturbed.

She said, ” I think your cousin got some mental disorder. She sobbed. She was empathizing with my Aunt. She could not wrap her head around how can such a pacific boy of 16 started behaving otherwise.

” I said, “Okay! How do we know that he is mentally ill?” ” He sounds extremely hopeless, he burst out of anger on small things, struck by insomnia, avoid public interaction, highly pessimistic, he had lost interest in the activities, and he was very disorganized“, said she. 

I told her that he was precisely in the jaws of Depression. But nothing to worry we will seek help from a mental health professional. She was concerned that people might think he has gone crazy.

“Stop bothering over mental health stigma,” I said. Just the way a diabetic needs a doctor, similarly, a depressed person needs a psychotherapist. There is no difference at all. 

It may turn out to be a behavioural tendency of many among us. How to tackle this issue? Knowing the problem is the first step towards solving it.

 

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What Is Depression?

Depression is no more alien to anyone. We all have been through or have seen depression in any form, shape and, size. Depression does not distinguish among ethnicity, caste, religion, sex, age, and anything for that matter. It is escalating and justifiably concerning for us.

Let’s look at the formal definition of Depression given by Merriam-Webster. The essential meaning of Depression states “a serious medical condition in which a person feels very sad, hopeless, and unimportant and often is unable to live in a normal way.”

 

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And its full meaning puts it in the following manner “a mood disorder that is marked by varying degrees of sadness, despair, and loneliness and that is typically accompanied by inactivity, guilt, loss of concentration, social withdrawal, sleep disturbances, and sometimes suicidal tendencies.” 

Depression is a common mental and behavioural disorder. It negatively affects your thoughts, feelings, actions, behaviours, motivations, and feelings of well-being. It is way more different from usual mood fluctuations.

 

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As specified by American Psychiatric Association (APA), depression affects an estimated, one(1) in fifteen(15) adults (6.7%) in any given year. And one(1) in six(6) people (16.6%) will experience depression at some time in their life. 

 

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Depression results in self-depreciation, guilt, hopelessness, insomnia, slowness of thoughts and actions, pessimism, dejection, loss of energy, loss of appetite, and loss of pleasure in day-to-day life.

Depression is an exaggeration of grievous emotions. 

If we look at the global data regarding the number of people who had depression, by WHO region given by statista.com, a leading provider of market and consumer data, we would see the following information. 

  • South-East Asia region – 85.67 million people were depressed.
  • Western Pacific region – 66.21 million people were depressed.
  • Eastern Mediterranean region – 52.98 people were depressed.
  • Region of the Americas – 48.16 million people were depressed.
  • European region – 40.27 million people were depressed.
  • African region – 29.19 million people were depressed.

 

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A Brief History Of Depression

Depression or depressed mood, body complaints, hallucinations, and delusions are known as “melancholia” throughout ancient, medieval, and premodern medicine in Europe.

Hippocrates, a Greek physician, suggested that personality traits and mental illnesses were related to balanced or imbalanced body fluids called humour. There were four of these humour: yellow bile, black bile, phlegm, and blood.

In the 10th century Persian physician, Al-Akhawayni Bokhari described melancholia as a chronic illness caused by the impact of black bile on the brain.

He described melancholia’s initial clinical manifestations as “suffering from an unexplained fear, inability to answer questions or providing false answers, self-laughing and self-crying and speaking meaninglessly, yet with no fever.”

 

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Depression came a long way from earlier demonic possessions to later mental and emotional disorders. 

Dr Dorothy Rowe, an Australian psychologist and author, whose area of interest was depression quotes, “Depression is a prison where you are both the suffering prisoner and the cruel jailer.”

 

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Depression In Students And College Students Is Alarming 

Depression of students and essentially depression in college students are spreading like wildfire.

In another statistics given by Statista, the Percentage of college students with symptoms of depression in the United States from 2020 to 2021, represents that, forty-one percentage (41%) have depression, nineteen percentage(19%) have moderate depression and, twenty-two percentage(22%) have severe depression. 

 

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The data is profoundly disturbing. So let’s dive in deep and understand some prominent factors of Depression.

Causes Of Depression In Students

There are four salient causes of Depression. They further have some secondary causes of depression in college students. Underneath are the four root causes of Depression of students.

1 – Depression Acquired Through Genes (INTERNAL FACTOR)

2 – Depressed Due To Disturbed Neurochemicals (INTERNAL FACTOR)

3 – Depression Due To Your Personality (EXTERNAL FACTOR)

4 – Depression Due To Environmental Factors (EXTERNAL FACTOR)

They are interconnected and sort of interdependent. This is like a cycle.

You are born with certain inherited genes from your parents and that itself defines you from the very beginning and this is an internal factor. 

You are born into an environment that is an external platform to you. Your environment affects you and that, in turn, affects your neurochemicals, again an internal factor, and finally, your outward expressions of the actions of your biochemicals upon your body are defined from your personality. 

And eventually, specks of your personality over a period of time will reflect from your coming generations.

 

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You can see you cannot escape any of the above things but you surely can work them in your favour by serving yourself with a better environment.

1 – Depression Acquired Through Genes (INTERNAL FACTOR)

American Psychiatric Association(APA) states, “Depression can run in families. For example, if one identical twin has depression, the other has a 70 per cent chance of having the illness sometime in life.”

If your first-degree relative has depression then you have two to three times greater risk of developing the condition than the general public. 

 

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Nonetheless, it is not constant, it depends, like who have a family history may not be a victim of depression and people who don’t have any depressed first-degree relative might have depression. 

2 – Depressed Due To Disturbed Neurochemicals (INTERNAL FACTOR)

Different neurochemicals affect our brains differently and can become a justifiable cause of depression. There are various kinds of neurotransmitters and their increment and decrement produce distinguished results in our whole periphery.  

Some of the prominent Neurochemicals that cause depression in college students are given below.

 

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 It serves as a transmitter substance of nerve impulses within the central and peripheral nervous systems. It contracts smooth muscles, dilates blood vessels, increases bodily secretions, and slows the heart rate.

A recent human imaging study has suggested that acetylcholine (ACh) levels are elevated in patients who are actively depressed, as measured by occupancy of nicotinic receptors throughout the brain, and remain high in patients who have a history of depression.

Norepinephrine plays a role in many functions including memory, attention, stress reactions, energy levels, and the regulation of emotions.

Depletion in the level of Norepinephrine in the body is a basis of depression.

 

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It is speculated that people with depression might have lower-than-normal serotonin levels in their cerebrospinal fluid and brain tissue. It results in a range of emotional disorders like anger control problems, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and even suicidal tendencies.

Low levels of Dopamine in the central nervous system cause depression and psychotic disorders. The right amount of Dopamine provides you pleasure and motivation but lack of it works otherwise. 

3 – Depression Due To Your Personality (EXTERNAL FACTOR)

We all carry our personality and that distinguishes us from every other individual. Our personality is a medium through which people basically can peep into us.

We consciously contribute to it and similarly, we subconsciously contribute to it too.

 

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Our environment affects our personality and it has a big role to play in the formation of it.

That is why our personality is an external factor but our character is an internal factor. The difference is pretty minute but it is significant.

[Want an in-depth knowledge of your personality – What Type Of Person You Are? The Big 5 personality trait model explains!]

1. Low Self-Esteem Personality 

People with low self-esteem can catch it way more easily than people with strong self-esteem. They feel they are not enough and their confidence can be shattered very easily.

2. Obsessive Personality

These kinds of people fell into the trap of uncertainty too smoothly. They become a kind of skeptic. They tend to forget things and they doubt it even too. 

3. Paranoid Personality 

 

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They doubt others as if they are against them. They become suspicious even there is no reason to be so. Studies estimate that Personality Disorder affects between 2.3% and 4.4% of the general population. This disorder often begins in childhood or early adolescence and appears to be more common in men than women.

 

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4. Histrionic personality

People with this kind of personality disorder are often extroverted and loud. The signs can be traced from early childhood in these kinds of people. 

They are attention-seekers. They usually exaggerate their conditions. They are dramatic and crave validation. Students can get into the trap of hysteria easily.

4 – Depression Due To Environmental Factors (EXTERNAL FACTOR)

Everybody has an environment where they live, and it shapes the worldview of that individual and it further affects their thoughts, words, and actions. 

 

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Some are prone to abuse, poverty, violence, and continuous competition and that makes them more vulnerable to depression. 

Following are some environmental factors that cause depression in students.

1. Study Pressure

 

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Study pressure is a primary source of pressure in students. You cannot eliminate study out of any students’ life. Every child grows up and visits a formal educational institution. 

There is a rat race going on and you have to compete to shine out. This kind of prevalent norm doesn’t allow students to enjoy their studies. They are always in a comparison mindset. 

It creates a lot of pressure on students. Persistent pressure leads them to melancholy, anxiety, and depression.  

 

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2. Peer Pressure

When study becomes a race, peers become competitors

With competitors, you think in terms of winning or losing. 

With peers, you share your happy and sad moments of the day to day life. When that door of sharing is closed, you smoulder within. The smoke turns into fire soon. And you become a palling image of your actual self. It disturbs your persona, and you submit yourself to sadness and depression knowingly or unknowingly.

 

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3. Rank Pressure   

Students are under stress of getting good marks, taking admissions in high-ranked colleges/universities, or selecting competitive subjects for job security. They are also under the strain of qualifying for competitive exams.

It, at times, pressurize them so forcefully that they become a victim of apathy and neglect. Nothing ignites them. They start running away from challenges and fall prey to depression.     

 

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4. Career Pressure

Students continuously live in the fear of getting failed in their careers. It affects them negatively. 

5. Guardian Pressure

Students very often take extra pressure on their guardians’ dreams for them. Very often their area of interest is different from their parents’ dreams.

They become divisive in their approach to career projection. Thus, they lag in their career in comparison to other students and feel themselves below average, and below par. They lead a despondent life. 

6. Social Pressure 

Social pressure is caused by the people that surround us. Say expectations of our parents, teachers, neighbours, and society. We try to fit in with their perception of us. That is troublesome.

 

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7. Reputation/Image Pressure

It drives us to act according to our perceived image. People don’t have enough time to ponder on us. Everyone is worried about their reputation. Students try to outperform in such cases and pressurize themselves.

8. Financial Pressure

Money has the power to drive you crazy if you assign it so. Usually, we all, have been through our financial roller-coaster ride. It is alright. Your financially low state is a temporary phase. Don’t hand over money the power to depress you.

 

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9. Relational Pressure

Sometimes our relational strings become taut with any of our relatives and we take this on our heads. Sometimes they want us to do things their way, it pinches us.

Rather than finding a solution to alleviate the problem, we stick with the issue. At times it brings havoc in our lives.

10. Performance Pressure

We don’t equip ourselves with the knowledge to heighten us, we do so to let down others. This intention is faulty. Healthy competition to perform better is good. But we should not pressurize ourselves just to gain a few compliments.

This pressure occupies the largest amount of space in our minds. The pressure of getting a worthy job with a handsome amount of money is highly troubling. This leads us to anxiety and depression.

Consequences Of Depression In Students

Depression of Students negatively affects their mental and emotional health. They become very fragile. It further alters our life and their decisions.

 

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1. Stress/Anxiety 

Stress is a by-product of depression. It is an uncomfortable abode to stay in. Winston Churchill told us, “If you are going through Hell, keep going.”  Hell is not a place to stay or walk slowly.

Anxiety causes you to sweat, feel restless and tense, and have a rapid heartbeat. Stress and anxiety are unhealthy.

 

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2. Sadness/Grief

Sadness and grief are characterized by fear, hopelessness, helplessness, and sorrow. It is an outgrowth of depression. Depression for a longer period makes you gloomy for the longest period. 

3. Mental Illness

It is like an umbrella that envelops within itself a wide range of mental health disorders like depression, schizophrenia, eating disorders, and addictive behaviours. It influences your thinking, mood, and behaviour.

It is a bigger issue arising out of a comparatively smaller issue.

 

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4. Failure/Disappointments

Failures and disappointments are again an offshoot of Depression in students. It is an inevitable part of life. It is difficult to deal with. But still, you need to keep your faith in yourself grounded to cope with any such unfortunate conditions.

5. Suicidal Tendencies

Suicidal tendencies are lethal they will put your life at risk.  In a study,

United States college students with suicidal or self-injurious behaviour in the past year as of 2020-2021 shows, 13% have suicidal ideation, 5% have a suicide plan, 1% have attempted suicide and, 23% have non-suicidal self-injury.

 

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Suicide is a major issue occurring due to Depression in students.

6. Bereavement Induced Psychosis

Bereavement is a justified cause of depression. Grief and mourning can be caused by any reason like a death of a beloved, loss of job, break up, hopelessness due to any reason. Depression provokes you to indulge in mental disorders which further even costs your life. 

7. Substance Abuse 

Addiction caused by substances like alcohol and all types of drugs is known as substance use disorder. It affects your behaviour and brain. People get addicted to alcohol, drugs at a very early age due to peer pressure in schools and colleges. Depressed students are most vulnerable to it. 

Remedies For Depression In Students

 

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“Every cloud has a silver lining.” World Health Organization (WHO) states, “There is an effective treatment for mild, moderate, and severe depression.” 

According to the APA, Depression is among the most treatable of mental disorders. Between 80% and 90% percent of people with depression eventually respond well to treatment. Almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms.

So, below are some solutions and cures to depression in students.

1. Holistic Living

Just like your body needs food, your mind and soul also need to be fed. Just you have to know it correctly that what is the food for mind and soul.

Live your life according to holistic living. Your physical, mental and emotional self is really important and they are interconnected. Every part of yours affects the other part. If you start a healing process get to the very root of your problem. It will help ease other things.

Like learning a healthy habit of swimming, mindfulness, personal growth, reading new books, making a craft, and maintaining a journal. 

It will help reduce your depression and anxiety and shower you with happiness and enthusiasm. 

 

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2. Spirituality

For me, Spirituality means knowing myself. If I know, “who am I?” then only I can know “who my creator is?” But for others, it might mean different. 

The purpose of your life gives you a meaningful point to strive for. You won’t be astray anymore. Spirituality gives significance to your life.

Higher levels of spirituality have been linked to increased compassion, strengthened relationships, and improved self-esteem.

3. Balanced Thoughts

Striking balance is pretty tough and especially if it’s about our thoughts. Naturally, you might deviate more to one side than the other. But if you keep a check on your thoughts, you can analyze and strike a balance among positive and negative ones. 

This exercise is very helpful because it motivates you to pull yourself together in adversity like depression. 

4. Healthy Foods

Mental Health Foundation of United Kingdom, mentioned, “What we eat doesn’t just affect our physical health: it can also affect our mental health and wellbeing.”A Mediterranean-style diet (one with lots of vegetables, seafood, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, cereal, and grains) supplemented with fish oil can reduce the symptoms of depression. 

Healthy food can definitely alter our mental frame and mood.

5. Healthy Company/Environment

 Healthy Company is a must to enjoy a healthy life. Because Drew Houston has said, “You become the average of the five people you hang out with.” Make sure it counts. 

Among U.S. college and university students, 41 percent reported receiving counseling or support from friends, 37 percent from a family member, 30 percent from significant other, 15 percent from a roommate, 4 percent from a religious counselor and other religious contacts, 4 percent from faculty members and professors, 2 percent from a support group, 2 percent from staff members, and 1 percent from other non-clinical sources for mental or emotional health concerns in the past year. 

 

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Your environment not only consists of people but also, books, cinema, and things. Be conscious of your atmosphere. 

6. Counseling/Psychotherapy

Counseling is a form of treatment for psychological, emotional, or behaviour disorders. 

Counseling builds a professional relationship between the counselor and the client.

The patient has talk sessions with a clinical psychologist, who is trained in the sciences of human behaviour.

Counseling can also teach you ways of dealing with stressful life events and circumstances you can’t change yourself.

It can help you understand what is getting in the way of your making the changes you want in your life.

It promotes your personality growth.

7. Medication/Antidepressants

Antidepressants are prescribed by a psychiatrist to uplift your brain chemistry. 

It works as a complement to your psychotherapy also. It takes a relatively greater time to treat.

It is important to let your doctor know if a medication does not work or if you experience side effects. They are not habit-forming. 

The data below represents the percentage of college students using psychotropic medications in the United States from 2020 to 2021

 

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This article highlights the factors of Depression in Students.

It is a deep analysis with statistics, signs, causes, consequences and, remedies for depression in students.

It is a must-read article for everyone. Students get direct benefits.

Teachers, parents, grandparents, and educational institutions can help the children by enlightening them about this concerning issue.

 

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I have put my heart and soul into writing this utterly vital article on the issue of the growing depression of students.

Kindly comment your valuable feedback down in the comment box. Please share it with everyone out there. And spread the word to help the world. 

Thank You!

 

 

Simra Sajid

Simra Sajid was a child prodigy. Her parents and teachers recognized her innate ability to convert thoughts and imaginations into rhythmic dancing words. She won many accolades in her school life and since then the journey never stopped. She is extremely in-tune with how others are feeling and her writing explores the depth of human nature. She has penned down approximately 85 written works, mainly poems. She is a professional writer and pursuing her higher studies in English literature. You can Google her name to find more of her works and you can find her poetry on Instagram at (simrasajid2011).

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