Nearly half of all college students report feeling so depressed at some point in time that they have trouble functioning. If left untreated, depression can lead to suicide. Suicide is the third leading cause of death for those aged 15-24 and the second leading cause of death of college students. Many young people are coming to college with an existing diagnosis and treatment history. Many young adults struggle with the changes and uncertainty during this stage in their lives in which people are faced with important choices about careers, moving to new places away from home, gaining financial independence and pursuing romantic relationships.
Depressed young adults may find themselves frequently waking up at four or five in the morning, unable to fall back asleep. People with depression may have abnormalities in levels of cortisol, a stress hormone in our bodies. Young adults with depression often have higher levels of cortisol levels in the early morning hours, which disrupts sleep.
There’s a marked increase in alcohol consumption and use of other drugs. To ease the pain and loneliness of depression, it is not uncommon, especially for this demographic to abuse alcohol or other prescription or illegal drugs as an escape or to numb their pain.
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Martin, R.J., Usdan, S., Cremeens, J., & Vail-Smith, K. Disordered gambling and co-morbidity of psychiatric disorders among college students: An examination of problem drinking, anxiety and depression. Journal of Gambling Studies, 1-13. (2013).
Shim, J.E., An, H.Y., & Kim, J. H. The relationship between job-seeking stress and depression in college students: The mediating roles of cognitive emotion regulation strategies. Underst People, 32(1), 103-118. (2011).