Information for Parents: Helping a College Student with an Anxiety Disorder
College is a stressful time for almost all students. Getting along with roommates, dealing with new social pressures, being exposed to alcohol or drugs, managing finances, meeting academic demands - all while being away from home for the first time and without familiar sources of support - can leave many students feeling overwhelmed, confused and stressed out. While much of the stress and anxiety that college students experience is normal and even healthy, some will experience chronic, relentless anxiety that may be a sign of an anxiety disorder. In fact, according to a new study from the ADAA, colleges and universities across the country are seeing a major increase in students requiring mental health services for anxiety disorders. Some students may have experienced symptoms before college that became worse upon leaving home, while others may be experiencing such symptoms for the first time (the college years are often when mental health problems such as anxiety disorders manifest themselves).
Whatever the case, it is important for college students - and their parents - to understand the symptoms, available treatment options and ways to find help for an anxiety disorder. Because of the unique changes and challenges that college students experience, leaving an anxiety disorder untreated during this crucial time in their lives can have serious consequences on their futures. This makes it of the utmost importance for students with an anxiety disorder to be treated for their condition. Read on to learn more about recognizing - and finding help for - an anxiety disorder in your college-aged child.
What is an anxiety disorder?
Anxiety disorders are a unique group of illnesses that fill people's lives with persistent, excessive and unreasonable anxiety, worry and fear. They include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), panic disorder, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), social anxiety disorder (SAD) and specific phobias. Although anxiety disorders are serious medical conditions, they are treatable.
Reprinted with the permission of the Anxiety Disorders Association of America.
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