Recent studies regarding depression in relation to its prevalence among college students indicate a sharp increase in the malady. The increase in depression has a direct effect of reducing the capacity of the students suffering from it to function normally in their college routines. The result of depression is a consistent reduction in the performance of college students all over the world. Analyzing and discussing the causes and effects of depression among such students helps in expounding on this knowledge. It also ensures that the causes can be prevented while the effects are impeded. However, before determining some of the causes and effects of depression, it is important to note that each individual is unique (Zhai et al. 3). As a result of this uniqueness, one can find that the causes and effects of depression among individuals vary. Therefore, the solutions towards addressing the malady in one individual cannot be a blanket solution for all individuals suffering from depression.
Stress is one of the major sources of stress for college students. With this knowledge, it is clear to see the importance of determining the best ways of addressing the problem before it becomes unmanageable. The students joining college have been found to experience a transition in life that causes them to experience stress at levels that they had not experienced before. For instance, the transition from previous living arrangement to new living arrangements results in the students having to share rooms with individuals they had not met before. College is also the place where most of the students start experiencing new relationships as well as sexual behavior (Zhai et al. 2). It is as a result of these experiences that the students get exposed to different sources of stress. Without the right stress management skills, the students are put in a position whereby they are bound to act on depression if the causes are left unchecked.
It has been found that some of the most common causes of stress and therefore depression among college students are the fluctuation in their status with regards to relationships and employment. However, when talking about relationships, it is clear to see that most of the worst effects leading to depression emanate from romantic relationships. Failure in one romantic relationship or another often results in depression among college students. The result of such experiences is erratic behavior among students (Greenaway et al. 13). The students have also been found to become more violent in the face of such experiences. It has also been found that the lack of employment and a steady flow of income among college students is a common stressor which often results in depression. The students who go through such experiences in a repeated manner end up having extended bouts of depression. With regards to employment, the individuals experiencing depression end up having a need for employment which in turn mounts more pressure on their capacity to complete their education successfully (Greenaway et al. 17).
Social adjustment is also an important cause of depression among college students. Social adjustment in this context refers to the placement, and ones understanding of this placement, in a social setting (Levens et al. 347). The transition from high school to college means that the students will most likely change social circles. The change in social circles may result in an individual thinking that they social standing has diminished if they come into a social circle where they no longer have a say in the on goings of the larger group. In other instances, the student in question may find themselves placed on a pedestal. This would mean that the individual is faced with instant stardom that they did not expect. The pressure to perform and live a particular standard of life often results in stress on the part of the student in question (Levens et al. 343). If the student was a start in high school but no longer is a star in college, this could result in continued depressions. However, both experiences have been found to result in continued depression on the part of the students experiencing such changes.
A common cause of depression among college student is also the lack of consistent sleep within a span of twenty four hours. Medical specialists and psychologist around the world are of the recommendation that one should have eight hours of sleep in a day. However, the hectic nature of college life does not allow for such sleep among college students. The normal routines of a student in college only allow for the student to participate in academic matters (Zhai et al. 1). However, as it is commonly found for all students in college, they would prefer to participate in many other experiences while in college. The result of such patterns is that the student ends up having little or no time to sleep. Continued lack of good and even sleep results in the student becoming depressed (Levens et al. 345). Lack of ample knowledge regarding depression results in the individual becoming even more depressed when they start using drugs or partaking in reckless behavior.
One of the most common effects of depression among college students is the use of different substances with the intention of escaping from the depressive symptoms. Substance abuse commonly comes in the form of overindulgence in the consumption of alcohol. Other substances that are abused in college include marijuana, ecstasy, and other hard drugs (Levens et al. 341). The consumption of these drugs is with the intention that the individual will experience a daze that would free them from the feelings of depression. Some college students have been found to participate in reckless sexual behavior as a result of experiencing depression in one form or another. The effects of these activities and experiences are mainly negative. Most of the students partaking in the use of drugs end up being addicts or contract sexually transmitted disses during this period (Zhai et al. 2). Addressing depression as a serious problem among college students will help in saving the lives of many and thus ensure learning actually takes places at the colleges.
It has been found that women in college experience the effects of depression more heavily than the males. The reasoning behind this analogy lies in the socialization of women. Women are bound to experience such issues more than women because of the resulting effects of the need to form intimate relationships with people around them. This kind of socialization makes depressed women have erratic relationships with people in the hope of belonging to someone in the end (Greenaway et al. 16). However, the reality on the ground is that men also experience depression because of similar situation. The effects are almost similar, but vary from one individual to the next. Women have also been found to be stressed because of some issues that include body image issues. The society stresses on the need to have a particular body image. The effect of experiencing such body image issues is that the woman in question may end up taking drastic measures such as starvation with the hope of obtaining the ideal body shape.
The causes and effects of depression among college students vary. However, the effects are predominantly negative. The management of stress is a skill that would allow students experiencing stress to handle the different experiences more effectively. The lack of such skills has resulted in many students getting lost in the college level of their education (Levens et al. 340). If such students survive the harrowing experiences of depression, they are found to become a shadow of their former selves. If they do survive their experiences of depression, they often end up becoming social misfits. Some of these students never complete their education and later become social trouble. Addressing these issues is becoming an important role of those administrating any college (Zhai et al. 5). Providing the students in question with the support they need as they undergo the different life stressors ensures that the students achieve their goals while becoming mature in the process. It also ensures that fewer students are lost to the clutches of depression, which in turn results in the growth of a society rather than the fall of the society in question. The types of losses experienced as a result of depression on the part of the different stakeholders in the education sector has resulted in a need to manage stress and depression in general. The epidemic of depression among college students can be managed. It can be used to teach students valuable lessons in life. However, without the appropriate life skills and stress management skills, the causes and effects of depression are bound to prevail.
Greenaway, Katharine H., Margaret Frye, and Tegan Cruwys. "When Aspirations Exceed Expectations: Quixotic Hope Increases Depression Among Students." Plos ONE 10.9 (2015): 1-17. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
Levens, Sara M., Farrah Elrahal, and Sara J. Sagui. "The Role Of Family Support And Perceived Stress Reactivity In Predicting Depression In College Freshman." Journal Of Social & Clinical Psychology 35.4 (2016): 342-355. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
Zhai, Hui, et al. "Family And College Environmental Exposures Mediate The Relationship Between Parental Education And Depression Among College Students." Plos ONE11.3 (2016): 1-9. Academic Search Premier. Web. 4 Apr. 2016.
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