When you enter college life, you’re in a whole different universe, full of excitement and ready to face new challenges. Perhaps the biggest challenge is that most young adults have to live alone and take charge of their personal effects, habits, and routines. Managing resources, time, and ensuring performance in college remains up to par are vital considerations for a student.
However, things can seem to be moving too rapidly, and at times, you might struggle with finding a balance between your commitments and studies. Additionally, if you’re not careful, you might have to deal with a different set of health issues, like anxiety. On the other hand, students try to figure out ways to mingle with the crowd and cave into peer pressure. Ultimately, they may make rash decisions that endanger their lives. Let’s go through some of the major health issues faced by college students and how to tackle them:
- Anxiety and depression
Anxiety is among the leading mental health challenges for young boys and girls in college. As the college term progresses, with the mounting number of assignments and managing a plethora of new subjects and classes, it comes as no surprise that college students are prone to anxiety attacks and severe depression. At times, it can even drive them to commit suicide. Colleges have students counselors to guide and support students. Counselors help students deal with stress, anxiety, and depression problems. According to 2021 statistics published in Statistica, about 27% of the students in US colleges and universities had sought help regarding anxiety. So, if you were wondering what can I do with a masters in counseling, then guiding college students to balance their life with anti-anxiety tactics is one way to go!
- Substance abuse
Drug addiction is yet another serious health challenge faced by college students. At times, young adults engage in drugs just out of curiosity, while others do it because of peer pressure. Some students belonging to gangs or low socioeconomic backgrounds also deal with drugs at college to make some extra cash on the side. Once they get into the habit, it’s easy to become addicted. Due to substance abuse, students experience academic losses, miss classes, abuse or bully others, or misbehave on campus, resulting in expulsion. The only way to deal with potential substance addiction is to nip it in the bud and approach a counselor to help deal with the issues pushing you towards drug abuse.
College students also struggle with insomnia because of constant stress and mental health issues. A study published in Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treatment in 2017 found that more than 60% of the university and college students complain about poor sleep at night, and around 7% of them have insomnia. Sleep disorders are common in college students because of their routines and disrupted sleep-wake timings. It can affect their academic life as well as their emotions. Such students usually struggle with focusing in classrooms and have difficulty managing their emotions. They might have trouble communicating with others and would experience cognitive problems such as poor memory, and they may forget important tasks resulting in poor academic performance. Students need their rem sleep to ensure memory consolidation, brain development, and effective emotional processing.
Of course, because of their disturbed sleep schedules and piling mental health issues, students are bound to get severe headaches. Some might even have migraines, a serious problem characterized by blinding headaches and stabbing pain that interferes with their normal routine. Headaches occur because of hormonal imbalances in the body or when you have lethargy. It could be because of sleeplessness or nutritional deficiencies. Therefore, it’s important to follow a healthy diet, consume nutritious foods as much as possible, and get sufficient sleep before class.
College students who engage in sexual activities without prioritizing protection can be victims of STDs. According to Caprock Health, the most common STDs occurring in college adults include chlamydia, HPV, syphilis, and gonorrhea. Counselors often advise young adults to be careful during intercourse and ensure protection to prevent the spread of painful STIs that are usually contagious. STDs can be prevented by proper examinations and periodic check-ups as well.
Seasonal allergy breakouts are common in college. If you’re an asthma patient, you might have to deal with asthma attacks. Some students visit campus clinics to find relief meds and get checked up. It’s important to have your anti-allergy meds with you always.
- Orthopedic issues
Most college students cannot carry out a proper physical activity such as gym, yoga, or exercise. Many begin to have orthopedic problems such as knee pain, joint aches, and even neck or back pain. If the students sleep on an uncomfortable mattress, it can further aggravate the pain. The best thing to do is have a regular morning yoga routine of around 5 minutes, which could involve various stretching exercises. It can help you get rid of morning fatigue and muscle aches while freshening your mind and body for the long day ahead.
Since college students spend most of their time worrying about assignments and tests, they often forget to take care of their nourishment. Water is an integral part of the body, making up more than 70% of the internal systems. Not drinking sufficient water results in poor academic performance, low focus, forgetfulness, lack of energy, kidney dysfunction, and headaches. It’s necessary to carry a water bottle with you, especially if you have to spend long hours outside away from your dorm.
If you enter the college, get ready to meet various people from different countries. Some have traveled from faraway lands to quench their academic thirst. However, at times they might carry viral, bacterial, or fungal infections that are contagious. You might also experience seasonal ailments such as stomach flu, which can be extremely draining. The best thing to do is stay on top of your vaccinations and always have a first-aid box ready with basic medicines.
Many college students struggle with acne. Continuous stress, anxiety, and depression can wreck the hormonal balance. Not to mention that a lack of adequate nutrition can lead to nutritional deficiencies. As a result, the hormones get messed up and cause skin acne. It can affect the students’ self-confidence, leading to extreme behaviors such as social anxiety. As mentioned above, drinking lots of water and getting nutrients can clean your skin faster. You might also want to get the hormones checked and treated if the acne persists.
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I hope this article provides you with practical info on the major health problems of college students and how they can be dealt with easily. If you have any other serious mental or physical health issues, every campus offers healthcare assistance from a professional. When in doubt, it’s always best to seek their advice and guidance to mitigate your well-being risks.