Many of us think of college as a wondrous time of new experiences and great freedom to explore new ideas and find one’s true self.
As noted in the latest Center for Collegiate Mental Health report, anxiety and depression are the top reasons that college students seek counseling.
So why are these disorders so prevalent in our college students? As a professor of psychiatry and a practicing psychiatrist who has experience with mental health problems among college students, I see a number of factors.
Dangers in technology
Excessive social media use also fosters a certain competition between one’s real life and one’s virtual life. That is, a tug of war between being engrossed in posting experiences on social media, sending texts and taking selfies instead of enjoying the moment for what it’s worth.
Many college students are living dual virtual and real lives, and the virtual life is competing and at times becomes more important than real life.
This is not only something that those of us in the trenches see clinically but it has been well- documented in research studies.
For example, one study found that almost 50 percent of college students indicated they woke up at night to answer text messages. The same study found that the more people use technology during their sleeping hours, the poorer the quality of their sleep and the higher their rates of depression and anxiety.
Seeking out drugs
But there are other culprits, such as the desire to get into a good college – and stay in college with good grades. To attain these goals, it is not uncommon for students and their parents to seek chemical assistance.
In the past five years, the number of requests I receive from high school and college students and their parents for stimulants such as Ritalin and Adderall has skyrocketed.
A decade ago, I rarely, if ever, got such a request. Now, I get several per month. These requests are often made prior to taking major exams, such as finals, the MCAT or the LSAT. For those who are curious, I never acquiesce to these requests and instead recommend a comprehensive psychiatric assessment to make an accurate diagnosis and determine the most appropriate treatment, if one is necessary.
The conversation often stops there.
While these medicines can be very effective and safely prescribed in patients with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, there is considerable risk when they are used for other reasons. It is well-known that side effects from Ritalin and Adderall include anxiety and depression.
This risk is even higher in people taking the medicine for an unapproved reason or who do not take the medicine as prescribed.
Another factor at play is that rates of depression in our society have increased significantly over the past 20 years. This means more parents of college students have higher rates of depression. And since depression has a significant genetic component, the risk for depression in the children of a depressed parent is much higher than in the general population.
Cigarette smoking has been associated with significantly more sleep problems in college students and increased risk for depression and anxiety. Fortunately, the rate of cigarette smoking and e-cigarette use continues to decline with the rate of past-month use declining to around 16 percent of college students in 2016.
College students with a history of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder also have much higher rates of anxiety and depression. It is estimated that between 2 to 8 percent of college students struggle with symptoms of this disorder.
Moreover, while going to college can be exciting for many, for some the adjustment is hard with profound homesickness and separation anxiety. These students are at very high risk for depression and anxiety.
Financial stresses brought about by the rising cost of college, including the dread of debt and fear of not getting a job after college and having to move back in with mom and dad after graduation, are associated with increased risk for depression and anxiety in college students.
In the past, it was taken for granted that our children would surpass their parents. Now that is not so. Many college students believe that they will not be able to accomplish as much as their parents did. There is a sense of frustration and that there are no “good” jobs out there anymore.
Parents are also more involved in their children’s college and work experience. It is not uncommon for parents to call college counselors, bosses and work managers. Once that would have been absolutely off-limits. Now, this is commonplace.
Such parental overinvolvement can foster dependence, anxiety and depression, and thwart creativity. I do not mean to blame parents who are concerned and who want the best for their children. However, sometimes failing or not getting an A on a test can be more instructive and instill a sense of resilience and the ability to “bounce back.”
So what do we do to curtail anxiety and depression among college students?
Help, hotlines and hope
Tough problems do not always yield simple, easy solutions. Having an insurance card, 24-hour helplines and hotlines can provide a false sense of security and belief that excellent care is available.
However, one study that looked at mental health service use in university students found that even when universal access to mental health care is provided, most students with mental disorders do not get treatment.
The good news is that if we are proactive there is a solution that is cost-effective and that can work, but only if there is buy-in at every level of the particular university and society.
And, ironically, while technology can be a source of anxiety and depression, technology can also be used to treat depression. That is, computers, iPads and smartphones can be used to virtually bring a mental health professional to the student where he or she is, be that in their dorm room or off campus.
The key is recognizing those at highest risk and who are most vulnerable early. Colleges have to respond on day one and confront the stigma that still follows those with mental illness. Training peer support groups is vital.
This is not something to be done in isolation but under the guidance, supervision, and training of experienced psychiatrists, psychologists and psychiatric social workers.
Most of all, students and parents need to know from the very beginning of the college experience that the physical and mental well-being of students matters. Colleges should let parents and students know that there are trained and qualified people who can help students at risk discreetly and confidentially.
David Rosenberg, Professor of Psychiatry and Neuroscience, Wayne State University
This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.
A quick note from our founder-
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To begin, I apologize for the dark nature of today's email.
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Imagine a rotting corpse draped over your body from head to toe...
...suffocating tissue, restricting blood flow, damaging joints and infecting your healthy cells.
Shockingly, that nightmare is a reality for most:
64% of women and 74% of men carry too much body fat according to the National Institutes of Health.
It's choking their organs, assaulting their metabolism and sucking their energy dry.
But here's the worst part:
For most, this bodyfat has become "calorie-resistant":
It's completely unaffected by even the strictest diets... and most intense exercises.
This zombie fat is essentially... "dead tissue".
That's important for those who have 10, 25 or 50 or more pounds to lose...
AND for those who aren't technically overweight, but have what's called "pocket obesity"...
...unsightly patches of fat that cling to specific places, like:
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It jolts dead bodyfat back to life.
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First though, here's the #1 reason why bodyfat becomes calorie-resistant:
It lacks blood flow. This has 3 effects:
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- Released fat can't be sent to other tissues to be burned, so fat cells suck it back in...
- 3) Metabolic hormones carrying the "burn calories" message don't reach the fat cell...
All this means one thing:
Your body can't transform into energy, the 135,000+ of calories the average person stores as fat!
You become a metabolic zombie: NO energy to think. NO energy to move. NO energy to motivate.
Update: calorie-resistant bodyfat can be now removed...
The discovery of this "metabolic jumper cable" can now reverse this process:
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I bet you can’t guess which muscle in your body is the #1 muscle that eliminates joint and back pain, anxiety and looking fat.
This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
If this “hidden” most powerful primal muscle is healthy, we are healthy.
d) Hip Flexors
Take the quiz above and see if you got the correct answer!
P.S. Make sure you check out the next page to get to know the 10 simple moves that will bring vitality back into your life!
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Is Bread Really the Staff of Life… or the Stuff of Disease?
For most us, there are few foods more comforting than bread.
Fluffy biscuits, crusty baguettes, flaky croissants… even a simple slice of toast topped with melted butter can taste like heaven.
And that smell… few scents are quite as pleasant as fresh bread baking in the oven.
But there is a lot of confusion as to where bread fits into a healthy diet.
The Bible practically commands followers to eat it: “Give us this day our daily bread…” The government put it at the base of the food pyramid. And for centuries, it has been called “the staff of life.”
Of course, there are some who disagree…
Well-known cardiologist, Dr. William Davis, calls wheat “the perfect chronic poison.”
And for a poison, we sure eat lots of it…
The average American consumes 55 pounds of wheat flour every year, making refined flour the #1 source of calories in the American Diet – a situation that nutrition expert Chris Kresser describes as, “a public health catastrophe.”
So, what is the truth about bread and wheat?
- Is it the perfect poison… or an essential daily food?
- Is “gluten-free” bread better for you than regular bread?
- And can you still eat bread… while maintaining a lean body and optimal health?
The answers to these questions may surprise you!
Be sure to read #5 – the biggest surprise of all!
Recently, Doctor of Naturopathy, weight-loss expert and best-selling Amazon author Liz Swann Miller, creator of the Red Smoothie Detox Factor, revealed 2 of the secrets to easy, steady weight loss. Secrets the big food corporations do their best to hide from us.
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Now prepare yourself for one of the biggest weight loss secrets there is. A secret that, when you use it properly, can transform your body and your health.
You probably know most of us eat too much processed food. What you may not know is that it’s full of toxic chemicals and substandard, dirt-cheap ingredients designed to make you eat more…and force you to gain weight.
Here’s how it works.
“That stuff is just a lot of calories your body can’t use,” Liz told me, “Some are poison. And all these foods are stripped of the anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that help your body detox. The result? Your body expends huge amounts of calories to eliminate some toxins—the rest, it stores in your fat to protect you. This is why most people are hungry all the time. They’re not getting energy they need.”
“So… what’s going on with me? Why am I losing weight but not going hungry?”
Liz paused, then dropped the bombshell.
Your body is designed to burn fat. You just have to let it.
“What? I thought we were designed to store fat?!?” We were Skyping and I was practically shouting. Then I heard Liz say…
What good is a fat reserve if you can’t burn it?
Liz continued: “You’re drinking smoothies packed with phytonutrients, anti-oxidants and anti-inflammatories that pull toxins out of you like a tractor beam. Allowing your body to burn those toxin-filled fat stores… and releasing tremendous amounts of stored energy.”
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- Which calories help you lose weight…and which ones help you gain it…
- The “diet” foods…some of them vegetables…that lead to weight gain and diabetes…
- The “low-fat” foods that can dramatically increase your risk of cancer.
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Revitalizing your metabolism so you can Shed pounds as well as toxins, renew your body and reset your internal clock by up to 7 years.
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Sponsored Health Resources
In the years that I've been working on this website project I've come across some amazing resources by some very special people. I'd like to share them with you here.
NOTE: I update these links often so please check back to see what's new!
1) Everyone knows green smoothies are healthy right? Have you heard of a “red” smoothie? If not, check out this story…
2) Forget what you've read about 10-day lemonade cleanses, 7-day detoxes with green juices and Gwyneth's gruel. All you need to do, and this is perfect for Saturday or or anytime really, is a simple 1-day cleanse.
3) This “hidden survival muscle” in your body will boost your energy levels, immune system, sexual function, strength and athletic performance when unlocked.
4) I thought it was virtually impossible for a website to be able to tell me anything even a little bit insightful after only submitting my name and date of birth... I was wrong!
5) Turmeric is amazing. The problem is - It's hard to absorb!
6) Wonder why your stomach still sticks out even though you're hammering the core exercises every day? It's a common myth that bulging belly is due to weak abdominal muscles.
7) Even if you're the most active of athletes, you may still suffer from tight hip flexors due to the amount of time you spend each day planted to a chair.
Enjoy! Let me know how these work out for you. And if you run across anything I've missed please let me know.