College students are at risk of developing a variety of physical and mental health problems. If you’re in college – or about to go off in the next year or so – it’s important to know what might lie ahead. Similarly, if you have kids that are going to college, you can help them avoid these health problems by being more aware of them.
We’ll kick things off with the big three mental health problems people are likely to face in their lifetime. College students are more likely to suffer from all three at once because of the nature of college. They have lots of assignments and exams, and it can all become too much for them. After all, college and high school are two completely different ball games. One is a lot more relaxed, providing you with help from all four corners. The other forces you to be more independent and learn by yourself. As a result, you can become very stressed very easily.
What tends to happen is college students get hit with massive workloads that they struggle to keep up with. The work keeps piling up, and they fall behind. This leads to sleepless nights trying to catch up, creating a lot of stress. The stress they feel transforms into anxiety because they’re worried about failing and dropping out. In turn, this leads to depression as they are very worried about how their family would feel about this, and they just feel so alone.
That’s another big point; college puts you alone for the first time in your life, which is hard to deal with. Some people cope better than others, but it’s very easy to not make friends and feel all by yourself. As a consequence, it’s no surprise that depression is very common amongst college students of all ages.
Another health concern affecting modern college students is a fluctuation in their weight. This can go one of two ways: someone gains a lot of weight, or they lose a lot of it. Either possibility happens quite a lot in colleges around the country, and there are plenty of reasons for it.
With excessive weight gain, it’s usually down to something we’ll talk about in the next point: alcohol consumption. College students drink a lot of alcohol, which is very high in calories, leading to lots of weight gain. Additionally, college students can be lazy or lack the desired cooking skills, meaning they opt for cheaper meals. Normally, this means eating out or getting microwave meals all the time. In either case, it means they are typically eating things very high in calories and fats. Couple this with a lack of exercise and it’s no surprise a lot of college students put on too much weight.
On the other hand, some college students barely eat at all. Again, this can be down to a lack of cooking skills, meaning they only know how to cook certain meals that aren’t calorific at all. But, it can also be down to a lack of money. College tuition is super expensive, and some students are struggling to get by every week. So, they don’t buy much food to save money, meaning they eat less and lose so much weight.
Finally, you can also pinpoint stress or anxiety as factors for weight fluctuations. When some students are stressed or anxious, they binge eat to make themselves feel better. Others do the opposite and avoid eating altogether – both instances can lead to either excessive weight gain or weight loss.
It’s no secret that college is a time where many young adults start drinking for the first time. It’s a point in their lives where they are free from the watchful eyes of parents and surrounded by people of their own age. As a result, it’s only natural that the alcohol will flow – and with alcohol comes drugs.
As mentioned here: https://www.sunshinebehavioralhealth.com/texas/dallas/, alcohol and marijuana are the two biggest drug problems facing a lot of college and high school students in certain areas of the country. The big issue is that students have easy access to things like this, and there’s a lot of peer pressure that encourages people to drink and smoke. We all know the adverse health effects of doing both, meaning lots of students end up developing health problems and addictions throughout their time in college.
It doesn’t help that the whole college system and environment are geared towards the idea of partying and getting drunk or high. Frat houses are mostly responsible for this, so it’s understandable to be worried about things when you go to college – or if you have a child that’s approaching college years.
Lastly, college students are often at risk of developing chronic back and neck problems. This stems from the fact they are constantly sitting at desks working all day. They assume a hunched position, which causes all sorts of problems with their posture.
When you suffer from postural problems, your entire spine will be the victim. A hunched upper back means the middle of your spine – the thoracic spine – isn’t as extended as it should be. This can cause the shoulder blades to separate, leading to nasty muscle knots between them and the spine that take ages to go away. You can also get neck pain because your head is always pushed forwards when you’re bent over studying, meaning your neck has to deal with the strain of your head.
Finally, sitting in a chair can shorten hip flexors and cause an arch in your lower spine, leading to chronic lower back pain. After three or more years of constant studying, it’s really not surprising that so many students leave college with back problems.
The good news is that you don’t have to suffer from any of these health problems when you’re at college. As long as you’re aware of the risks, you can start planning to prevent them. The same goes for any parents reading this; know what risks are presented to your child, then help them avoid them.