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College Depression: What Parents Need to Know

Helping your child make the transition from high school to college can be difficult. Know how to identify whether your child is having a hard time dealing with this new stage in life, and figure out what you can do to help.


What is college depression and why are college students vulnerable to it?

Depression is an illness that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest. College depression is depression that begins during college.


Students face many challenges in college. Pressures and anxieties can cause them to feel overwhelmed, and being in a new environment can make them homesick. They’re also adapting to a new schedule and workload and figuring out how to belong. Dealing with these changes during the transition from adolescence to adulthood can trigger or unmask depression in young adults.


What are the impacts of college depression?

Depression during college has been linked to:

  • Impaired academic performance
  • Smoking
  • Risky behaviors related to alcohol abuse, such as having unsafe sex

What are the signs that a student is dealing with college depression?

Untreated depressions interferes with normal day-to-day life. Signs and symptoms of this include:

  • Feelings of sadness or unhappiness
  • Irritability or frustration, even over small matters
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities
  • Insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Changes in appetite or weight
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Angry outbursts
  • Slowed thinking, speaking or body movements
  • Indecisiveness, distractibility and decreased concentration
  • Fatigue, tiredness and loss of energy
  • Crying spells for no reason
  • Frequent thoughts of death, dying or suicide


Sep 23, 2013
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