Attacking. Consuming. Overwhelming. This is what anxiety does to those who suffer from it.
According to medicalnewstoday.com, one of the top 10 websites visited for health-related issues, 40 million people in the United States suffer from anxiety.
A recent study out of the University of California, Berkeley reported that college campuses have seen an increase in students suffering from anxiety and that the number of 18 to 26-year-old students with anxiety has doubled since 2008.
Richard Scheffler, the head of the research committee, studied nine years worth of data from the annual student National College Health Assessment survey and the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth. These are nationwide examinations that gather information on students well-being.
Scheffler and his team also conducted interviews that lasted 45 minutes with 30 UC Berkeley students who reported to be suffering with anxiety. He found a correlation between the disorder and students who spend a large amount of time on their phones, who struggle with financial instability and students with mothers who had undergraduate degrees. Scheffler also found that students suffering from anxiety are 3.2 times more likely to abuse alcohol or drugs.
Kim Fischer is a Plattsburgh State licensed mental health counselor. “I think we’ve seen a market increase in anxiety in the last 10 years since I’ve been here for sure,” Fischer said. “We’ve seen definitely an increase in not only anxiety but in panic disorders.”
Anxiety was the top reason for visits this academic year, according to the Student Health and Counseling Center. The center had 1,060 visits for general anxiety disorder, unspecified anxiety disorder and panic disorders.
Monica Lattrell is a nurse in the Student Health and Counseling Center. Lattrell said because of the high demand, Behavioral Health Services North, BHSN, has started seeing students who come in for anxiety, even though the Student Health and Counseling Center has five full-time counselors.
The campus has been doing it’s best to help the students who are struggling with anxiety.
“We do stress-free zones and May 1 we had distressing with donkeys,” Fischer said.
“But during that we also handed out a lot of information about our center and how to make an appointment and about things you can do by yourself to destress or to tackle your anxiety.”
One of the ways students shouldn’t cope is through drug and alcohol use.
“If people have social anxiety one of the ways they will often deal with it is by drinking some type of alcohol and other drugs. It will lower their inhibitions and make them feel like they will be less socially anxious,” Fisher said.
Briana Noto is a junior psychology major who agrees that college students and young adults suffer from an anxiety.
“I believe that having more open discussions about anxiety can help show individuals they are not alone, and I believe professors can also make strides in relieving students anxiety,” junior psychology major Briana Noto said.
Noto’s professor gave the option for students who struggle with public speaking to write an essay instead. Little things like that show that professors care.
Noto also agreed that financial instability can put a stressor on students.
“I personally know people who can barely afford food and are living paycheck to paycheck while at college, and they have confided in me that they believe their academics are suffering from this and that they suffer from anxiety,” Noto said.
Dealing with anxiety can make it difficult to wake up every morning and it can make it difficult to complete daily tasks.
Mental health isn’t taboo anymore. More and more people are speaking up about struggling with their mental health.
While it still is difficult for people to reach out for help with the stigma not completely gone just yet, we are moving in the right direction. If anxiety has become that blanket for you and that weight is never lifted, reach out to someone.
It’s never too late to ask for help.