Impending doom, rapid breathing, and fear of judgment. While college is known to be a time to discover oneself, it can also be the commencement of disorders.
Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the country. 75 percent experience their first symptom by the age of 22 and about 41 percent of college students are affected according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA).
Psychology professor Michael Lewin shared the effects of transitioning from adolescence into adulthood.
“Young adulthood is a common age of onset for many anxiety disorders. This has been hypothesized because of psychological demands or stressors of the transition,” said Lewin.
There is a borderline between stress and anxiety disorder.
Stress is a natural response to a big change like moving out or studying for a final.
Once the thoughts progress into thinking about it all the time, avoiding things, impairing daily habits and shortness of breath due to muscle tension, it dwells into an anxiety disorder.
Symptoms may vary for people, there are three branches of anxiety disorders but not limited to these only.
Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD), affects 6.8 million adults and can include symptoms such as excessive worry, irritability, and shortness of breath.
They have difficulty handling uncertainty, are always on edge thinking if they made a wrong decision and spend a lot of time thinking about the many different pessimistic outcomes.
Panic Disorder (PA), affects 6 million adults, they are in constant worrying about when the next panic attack will occur.
They tend to avoid places where past episodes took place due to the fear of it becoming a trigger for another episode.
These attacks can occur abruptly during a calm state or in an anxious state with the intensive peak level reaching in 10 minutes or less, then it begins to subside.
Social Anxiety Disorder (SAD), is having an intense fear of social interaction and affects 15 million adults.
Some emotional and behavioral indicators that can be associated with SAD is the fear of judgment, rejection, unpredictable dangers, breathing hard, mind has going blank and being highly attentive around people.
During social situations, the person tends to avoid doing specific things such as speaking to someone out due to fear of embarrassment, steering clear of being the center of attention and typically spending time to critically analyze their performance after the social interaction.
Starting conversations, making eye contact, entering a room in which people are already seated, returning items to a store, attending parties or social gatherings can be other examples of common everyday situations that the person finds difficult to endure.
A couple of physical traits for SAD can be blushing, trembling, sweating, having an upset stomach or nausea, dizziness and muscle tension.
One of CSUSB’s family therapist, Wendy Brower-Romero, uses people with SAD as an example.
“They avoid social situations, if they feel isolated and unconnected with people, it tends to impact their happiness. Very often there could be depression and anxiety symptoms happening simultaneously,” shared Brower-Romero.
Disorders impair a student’s concentration that lad them from being distracted with thoughts, avoidance or procrastination of studying.
“In social anxiety, when reaching out to professors, they need help but feel uncomfortable asking for help because It’s their anxiety that prevents them,” shared Brower-Romero.
There are lifestyle habits that students can implement to the mind, body, and action.
Instead of fighting for the remote control, accept that not everything is in your control.
This places thoughts in a different outlook as to think it’s not as bad as you think it is.
Limit the consumption of caffeine and alcohol, these are known to be panic attack triggers.
CSUSB’s Counseling and Psychological Services holds an overcoming anxiety group every quarter, counseling services and therapy.
It’s good to be informed since it’s difficult to understand mental illnesses, especially for friends and family.
“When it comes to any mental health issue, a lot of times there’s a sense of people wanting to fix it, they assume they know what anxiety is. But it looks different for everyone,” said Brower-Romero, “Instead create a space so they can share, almost like an open-door policy because it’s not an overnight fix. Rather than assuming, ask them what they need.”