Anxiety Disorders

Mental health in the Mass

Girl feeling have anxiety in a crowd of people

            You’ve heard of the freshman 15. You know to avoid going out to eat for every meal and to get an occasional fruit and vegetable with your dining hall meal. What you might not be prepared for is keeping up your mental health. Anxiety can manifest itself in many different ways for college students. Anxiety can cause possibly suicidal thoughts and can make a person cut off all social interaction with their loved ones. A person with anxiety in college can be afraid to go out and make friends, and even be afraid to go to class. They may, with no other way to cope, turn to drugs and alcohol as a form of self-medication for their anxiety.

            It is important we educate ourselves about when to seek treatment for these disorders if we have them, before it’s too late and we develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

PTSD and other anxiety disorders

            Social anxiety, while very commonly known, is not the only form of social anxiety. There are panic disorders that cause a person to have panic attacks, or bursts of dizziness, paranoia, shortness of breath, and an overall sense of uneasiness. There is also PTSD, which can come from experiencing a traumatic event such as going to war or being raped. In addition to these disorders, there are also various phobias, such as heights or flying that people may be afraid of and cause them to have anxiety.

How to spot anxiety disorders

            How can we tell if a loved one is suffering from an anxiety disorder? There are several symptoms and signs that you can be on the lookout for. Constant headaches and stomachaches are signs of anxiety. So is chest pain, heart burn, muscle tension, shortness of breath, difficulty sitting still or relaxing, excessive sweating and clamminess, dizziness, trembling and fighting. A person may also have an anxiety disorder if they suffer from insomnia, choking sensations, and numbness in their hands and feet. There are many online resources that can help you in determining if a loved one needs to get professional help.

My experience with mental health problems

         I have suffered with moderate anxiety for a long time. In my case, I went and saw a therapist early on, who prescribed me medication. This showed to be an amazing help, and I have been able to lead a normal and rewarding life. As a college junior I go out often with my friends and have been in a healthy relationship for over a year. There is much stress in the daily life of a student, from classwork to friends, to parents and jobs, we really do have a lot on our plates. Most college students are away from their parents and on their own for the first time in their lives, and the constant stress can lead to mental health issues.

Substance Abuse

            Unfortunately, not everyone with anxiety disorders can say it has turned out as well for them. Often, when they have nowhere else to turn, college students will use drugs and alcohol to help treat their mental illnesses. Those with anxiety are two times more likely to develop a problem with substance abuse, and women are even more at risk. If you ever feel as though you have developed a problem, it is important to seek out treatment, and as soon as possible. You need a facility that has a unique approach to your treatment, and one that will combine holistic methods with clinical care. You have a dual diagnosis, which means that they can treat your addiction as well as your mental illness. They will treat the underlying cause of your addiction and your disease. Thirty percent of people suffer from anxiety disorders at a point in their lives, and 15 percent suffer from substance abuse. If you unfortunately suffer from both, there is hope. Just get out there and get into a treatment facility that can cater your unique needs.

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