Many of us know the feeling all too well: It shows up unexpectedly in the form of sweaty palms and rapid heart rate, and it lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few days.
Anxiety is anything but foreign to college students.
Most likely, as you prepared for college, your friends and family said the next four years would be “the time of your life.” But with the stress that college creates, it is not uncommon to find depression and anxiety becoming a fixture in students’ lives — anything but what you might have expected.
Though USC offers group and individual counseling services and the Office for Wellness and Health Promotion offers many resources for students to learn about managing anxiety, stress and depression, more needs to be done to ensure that the USC student body is healthy and happy.
In a survey of USC undergraduates in 2009, graduate and undergraduate students reported experiencing anxiety and depression in the last year, with 13.6 percent of undergraduate and 17.4 percent of graduate students reporting they had been diagnosed with depression.
Almost 18 percent of undergraduate students at USC reported that anxiety affected their academic performance in the last year. An additional 28 reported being affected by general stress. 13 percent reported being affected by depression.
A small amount of stress and anxiety can be healthy and will motivate you to study or complete a task. But too much can be detrimental to your psychological and physical health.
Anxiety is an umbrella term for a range of emotional disorders including generalized anxiety disorder, obsessive compulsive disorder, social anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder and so on.
The way anxiety manifests in one individual can be quite different from that in another, which is why it can sometimes be difficult for professionals and non-professionals to identify it.
Oftentimes, in a clinic, issues concerning physical health are managed first because they are more visible. Treating emotional ailments, however, is just as important.
Anxiety can have large repercussions if it is not dealt with. Episodic anxiety can manifest in frequent panic attacks. Low levels of anxiety can also become debilitating.
But once you or another does identify an anxiety disorder, who do you talk to? What can you do to combat this?
The resources available at USC are not talked about as much as they should be. Simply getting the conversation started about anxiety and related emotional disorders would be a huge step to diminish the stigma surrounding such diagnoses, allowing many students to get the help they need so that their four years at USC can, in fact, be the best of their lives.
Whether you are stressed about graduating in the middle of an economic recession or simply overwhelmed by the amount of material on your final organic chemistry exam, be sure to assess how you are feeling and determine whether the amount of anxiety is manageable.
Exercising, eating well, being with friends and taking quiet time for yourself have been proven to aid in anxiety and other emotional disorders. Still, sometimes these steps are not enough — and that’s not a sign of weakness.
If the need arises, seek professional help and do not be ashamed for doing so. If you had an unmanageable cold, you would see your physician. Experiencing high levels of stress, anxiety or depression is no different.
Take control of your emotional well-being; this is your time to thrive.