Panic attacks and disorders in young college students have symptoms that are comparable to disorders in an adult. These episodes are characterized by feelings of impending doom, heart
palpitations, dizziness, and trembling. Many of these symptoms can be fleeting or potentially last for hours.
College students are a risk group due to the nature of competitiveness in academia. Ineffective self-medication via recreational drugs and confusion as to what they are experiencing further gravates factors contributing to panic attacks. Many teenagers who are suffering from panic attacks tend to mis-categorize their symptoms to those associated with a phobia. A phobia is triggered via specific stimuli, while panic attacks are unexpected.
Mental Health Challenges of College Students
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has noted that about 25 percent of students have symptoms associated with panic and anxiety attacks, enough so that their condition can be diagnosable.
Unfortunately, about 40 percent of sufferers do not seek help, with most students feeling overwhelmed by recreational and academic responsibilities to ensure self-care.
The Four Triggers That College Students Need to Be Aware Of
1. Immediacy can help anxiety – but not in college. Many aspects of college require waiting, causing anticipatory anxiety. As a student, you’ll need to wait for exam grades or perpetually wonder how you are performing in a particular class. This constant anxiety can be a fertile ground for panic attacks
2. Depression can trigger a panic attack. A study by Boston University and its students has shown that anxiety and depression are “two sides of the same coin,” according to Dori Hutchinson director of services at the university’s Center for Psychiatry Rehabilitation. Thankfully, many campuses offer on-site intervention and tools to tackle depression. It is a treatable condition alleviated by lifestyle changes and possible medication.
3. A lack of organization. As a college student, you will be juggling different tasks throughout your tenure. If you’re not cognizant of your responsibilities and use organizational skills, you can quickly feel overwhelmed. Journaling and calendars can help you stay on top of deadlines
4. Stress. Unchecked stress can cause a slew of psychological conditions, including feelings of unpredictability. Students who are transitioning into college life tend to be at risk. In these circumstances, it is important that you manage your reaction to the stress instead of trying to change the situation. By controlling your response, you are inadvertently managing stressors.
It’s important to note that feeling stress is normal as a college student. Stress ebbs and flows, especially during finals and midterms. However, it is important that you utilize campus services and self-care when you experience the warning signs of anxiety or when stress cripples your productivity.