Anxiety in College: What to Know and How to Identify It

Text reading More than 80% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do

The college life beckons wonderful experiences for a student: the chance to live on their own life, learn new worldviews, find new friends, and start a career. But it’s also a stressful time for not only the student, but their parents and any loved one. And the same applies for perspective students researching the perfect college for them.

From the office of Student Development, here is some information about anxiety as students press forward into a bizarre semester for this #WellnessWednesday.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.

When to get help? 

Anxiety should be treated if it is:

  1. Intense (more than people usually feel) 
  2. Chronic (felt many times during the day or most days of the week) 
  3. Limiting (makes it hard to do daily tasks or relate to others).  

Anxiety is the most common psychiatric problem in the United States.  One in every 20 people will experience it at some time in their lives.  Treating anxiety can be challenging because fear may affect your ability to trust others and to try new treatments.  Living with a constant sense of being in danger is exhausting.

What are the symptoms associated with anxiety?

Sixty percent of those with anxiety will have other problems linked to anxiety, such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), depression, or substance use.  

Other symptoms that are linked to anxiety include:

  • Tiring easily       
  • Restlessness     
  • Poor concentration
  • Sweats
  • Irritability            
  • Headaches         
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling
  • Sleep problems
  • Fast heartbeat

Anxiety and College

According to National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), college students reported the following in the past year: 

  • More than 40% felt more than an average amount of stress
  • More than 80% felt overwhelmed by all they had to do
  • 73% experienced a mental health crisis on campus
  • 50% did not seek treatment for a mental health condition
  • 11% of college students were treated for anxiety
  • 10% of college students were treated for depression


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