Mental Health For Students: Anxiety


Nobody said high school or college was easy -- in fact, there will be many moments in which students find themselves feeling anxious, whether it be over meeting new people or preparing for an exam. College is also a time when people are still learning more about themselves and growing at a rapid pace. With so much going on, it’s completely normal to get anxious. I mean, who wouldn’t get anxious over having to juggle many assignments, take rigorous exams, meet new people, and take on a part-time job? Don’t feel bad if you feel anxious, because chances are, many other students are in the same boat.

While a certain degree of anxiety is acceptable, it’s important to know when it’s going overboard. Similar to depression, anxiety can easily escalate into something more harmful. With that said, students who feel that their anxiety is affecting their quality of living should most definitely consult a mental health specialist or counselor to determine the type of anxiety they have and figure out the best solutions to overcome it before it’s too late.

According to Anxiety and Depression Association of America,


What types of anxiety are there?

  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
    – Outrageous thoughts, obsessions, or fears that result in repetitive behaviors
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD)
    – Constant anxiety over anything and everything that interferes with day-to-day life
  • Panic disorder
    – Sudden attacks of terror or panic that disturb quality of living
  • Social anxiety disorder (SAD)
    – Everyday interactions cause you to tense up or feel overly self-conscious or embarrassed
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
    – Occurs when something traumatic in life happens or if you witness something scary (i.e. a horrible car accident)

What are the symptoms of anxiety?

It’s hard to pinpoint specific symptoms for everyone, because everyone has their own way of showing anxiety (and subsequently, suppressing it as well), and dealing with it. However, on a general scale, here are some things to look into if you think you or someone you know may be experiencing anxiety requiring medical help:

  • Being in constant fear
  • Having frequent headaches
  • Exhibiting shortness of breath
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Constantly feeling stressed or irritated
  • Often sweating or feeling dizzy
  • Irregular heartbeat
  • Muscle pain or tension
  • Frequent diarrhea
  • Getting stomach aches a lot

Again, these symptoms are normal to a degree and experienced by people in and outside of school. However, if you feel that it may be interfering with your performance in your classes or interacting with people, then it may be time to seek help. Recognizing the signs is the first step to healing from any anxiety disorder. It’s important to note that occasional feelings of anxiety do not automatically indicate that you have an illness. If these feelings of anxiety persist, however, then it won’t be a bad idea to reach out for some help.

How do I know if I Have an Anxiety Disorder?

Having anxiety during test periods or big social settings is normal for most. If you feel that you might be abnormal for whatever reason, then it’s time to do some research and possibly reach out for help. Regardless of what you do, never blame yourself or others for having anxiety because it is completely faultless. Rather, it is an illness that can be fixed with medical attention. Some questions to ask yourself if you’re trying to find out whether you have an anxiety disorder is:

  • Is it interfering with your perfoormance in school significantly?
  • Is it affecting how you interact with other peers, your friends, and your family?
  • Do you often fear social gatherings
  • Do you find yourself being constantly worried over just about anything and everything on a daily basis?
  • Do you have fears that others find weird or irrational?

If the answer is yes to one or more of these, it may be worthwhile to err on the safe side and seek medical attention. By seeing a mental health professional, you can get personalized guidance on how to heal properly.

Additional Resources: Anxiety

  • Anxiety Resource Center - Get information about anxiety on a more general level. This site has plenty of educational materials, a newsletter, and a blog to help you stay on top of current trends and research with regards to anxiety.
  • Social Anxiety Association - Find useful information about social anxiety, how to deal with it, the different treatment options available to you, and where you can get help.
  • Beyond OCD - If you feel like you might have OCD specifically, this link will provide you with helpful information to find support groups in your area.
  • American Psychological Association - This resource offers a wealth of information related to anxiety disorders and depression, and also has tools to help you find a psychologist specializing in anxiety disorders to assist you.
  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America - Learn how you can prevent, treat, and cure anxiety and depression. This resource gives a great understanding on how we can better understand anxiety and depression disorders.