Concern over mental health in college students is at an all-time high according to 95% of college counseling center directors. These directors reported 21% of students have severe mental health concerns and 40% have mild ones. And those are just the college students seeking counseling.

No doubt about it: college students face numerous and severe mental health challenges. Here, we’ll discuss the top 5 challenges to college student mental health.

1. Addiction

20% of college students show symptoms of alcohol use disorder, and over 1,000 students will try an illicit drug for the first time each day. These make the perfect conditions for setting up lifelong addiction.

Addiction refers to a dependency on drugs or alcohol. Drug and alcohol addiction can often impair academic performance. It can also cause the participant to engage in risky behaviors that may cause injury or death.

Symptoms include:

  • increased tolerance for drugs or alcohol
  • withdrawal symptoms upon drug or alcohol cessation
  • inability to reduce drug or alcohol use
  • strong cravings
  • sudden weight gain or weight loss and deterioration of physical appearance
  • spending an increasing amount of time trying to access or purchase drugs or alcohol.

If you find yourself facing one or more of these symptoms, seek help immediately.


ADHD (Attention-Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder) is a biological condition. This disorder causes inattention, impulsive behavior, and hyperactivity.

Most individuals are diagnosed with ADHD at a young age. However, the new challenges of the college environment might reveal a new diagnosis. Additionally, individuals diagnosed with ADHD may need to adjust to properly manage symptoms.

Symptoms include:

  • attention problems
  • listening problems
  • feeling restless
  • being easily distracted

Are these symptoms impairing your academic performance? It may be time to schedule an appointment with a medical professional.

3. Anxiety

We all experience stress and anxiety on occasion. But when excessive anxiety starts to interfere with everyday life, it’s the sign of a problem. These disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S.

There are several sub-types of these mental health challenges. These include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder (constant severe anxiety)
  • Panic Disorder (constant fearfulness and frequent attacks of panic and terror)
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (unreasonable obsessions that lead to repetitive behaviors)

Symptoms include:

  • feeling fearful
  • feeling apprehensive
  • frequent stomachaches
  • irritability
  • frequent headaches

Everyone experiences these symptoms. But when they begin interfering in your daily life, it’s time to seek help.

4. Depression

30% of college students have a problem functioning in daily life due to depression. Depression is a mental illness that causes one to feel helpless and detached from the world.

If untreated, it can make even the most simple tasks feel impossible to accomplish. In severe cases, it can even lead to suicide — the third-biggest cause of death in teens and young adults.

Symptoms include:

  • changes in sleep
  • changes in appetite
  • lowered mood
  • decreased interest in things you used to enjoy
  • feelings of hopelessness or worthlessness

Depression puts you at risk for suicide, so if you notice yourself developing these symptoms, you should get help immediately. And it doesn’t have to be difficult to get help! Online therapy means you can get the help you need without ever leaving your dorm room.

5. Eating Disorders

Up to 20% of college students have experienced an eating disorder. These mental health challenges reflect extreme attitudes and behaviors surrounding food and weight.

The side effects of these disorders can cause difficulty focusing in school. If left untreated, they can result in physical injury and death.

The two most common eating disorders are anorexia and bulimia. In anorexia, an individual has an unhealthy obsession with being thin and may refuse to eat.

In bulimia, an individual often eats abnormally large amounts of food. He or she then compensates by purging via laxatives or vomiting. They may also engage in other unhealthy behavior, like fasting or over-exercising.

Symptoms include:

  • distorted body image
  • loss of menstruation
  • fear of eating in public
  • obsessive calorie counting
  • making excuses for abnormal eating behavior

If one or more of these describe you, be sure to contact a health care professional today.

Get Help Facing Your Mental Health Challenges Today!

If you’re facing one of these mental health challenges, it’s important to seek help. The best way to do this is therapy with a health professional.

In today’s digital world, you can do this online! Create an account now on Chat Live MD and get the help you need immediately. We’re available 24/7 for your mental health needs.

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