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Failing University Because of Depression

Young Adults Failing University Because of Depression

One of the more challenging phases of life is the transition young adults experience when moving from the parental home to college life.  With all the hoopla generated about career paths, college preparation, and college admissions during the high school years, landing in the dorm room on a late August day can trigger feelings of angst.  This is the part no student is really prepared for.

Unfamiliar feelings, such as being homesick while surrounded by strangers in a new setting, can be destabilizing.  Suddenly solely responsible for juggling academic, social, and work obligations can be overwhelming to a young adult.  The impact of these fears and emotions can result in the symptoms of depression, including lethargy that leads to missing classes and receiving poor grades.  Sometimes poor academic performance itself may trigger the symptoms of depression.  In either case, young people are increasingly failing university because of depression.

Why Are Young Adults Failing University Because of Depression?

The adjustment to living away from home can be surprisingly difficult for young adults.  The college campus may be miles away from one’s hometown, and can lead to a deep sense of loneliness or feeling like one doesn’t belong in their new surroundings.  Attempts to make new friends may feel forced and uncomfortable, especially if social anxiety is an existing issue.  In addition, universities have their own unique culture, rules, and academic expectations that may take time to adjust to.

When persistent feelings of sadness, fatigue, worthlessness, and despair begin to overwhelm the college student, academic performance will likely suffer.  This becomes a vicious cycle, as poor grades only add to the feelings of worthlessness.  Feeling like one isn’t measuring up to other students, or even one’s own potential, can cause a crisis of confidence, exacerbating the depression.  

Worries about the parents reaction to the poor grades, or potentially losing a scholarship, puts even more pressure on the student to perform.  But the depression leaves them powerless and immobile.  Depression can cause sleep disturbances, including excessive sleeping with no energy to even get out of bed.  Others with depression will have difficulty getting enough sleep due to insomnia, impacting their ability to concentrate.  

Young adults with depression may begin to abuse alcohol or drugs in an effort to self-medicate, only to make the depression that much worse.  If these symptoms go untreated, the student will end up failing university because of depression and may potentially develop a substance use disorder.  In fact, according to data reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 6.4 million young adults aged 18-25 had a mental illness in 2012, with 2.2 million, or about 30% of them having a co-occurring substance use disorder.

Steps to Take When Failing University Because of Depression

College students experiencing depression should take advantage of campus counseling or outpatient professional therapy.  The therapist may end up referring the student to a medical doctor who can prescribe antidepressants.  Ongoing counseling in combination with the medication may provide relief from the symptoms of depression.  At the very least, the counselor offers the student a safe, supportive place to share their fears, insecurities, and emotions as well as receive some advisement regarding school options.

If the depression occurs during the early weeks of the semester, there are options available.  Withdrawing from the classes by the deadline, versus failing them, can save the GPA and allow the student to take some time to get therapy, rest, and reboot to move forward.  The student may also opt to take a semester off and return home for some time to mature and heal before returning to school the next semester, or to reassess life choices.

Young Adults Need Goals and Purpose

A common source of pain in young adults is the sense that they have no real purpose in life.  They may feel they are going through the motions of what is expected of them, without feeling any ownership over their young adult years.  Some feel they are just being carried through this phase on a wave of “shoulds” and a sense of duty toward parents and loved ones, but their heart just isn’t in it.

Young adults sometimes need help in exploring their passions and determining what it is they want to do with their lives.  Examining their interests and skills, they may arrive at a realization that takes them on a polar opposite path than the one they are currently on.  Identifying purpose is very empowering to a young adult, and may go a long way in easing depression.

Launch Centers Outpatient Program for Young Adults Treats Depression

Launch Centers is an outpatient program serving young adults aged 18-28 in Los Angeles, California.  Launch Centers offers a multi-level program that combines therapeutic services, educational planning and assistance, and vocational goal setting and preparation.  For more information about the young adult outpatient program, contact Launch Centers today at (310) 779-4476.

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Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Young Adult Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Young adulthood, those individuals aged 18-35, can be a particularly challenging period of life for many.  Societal expectations seem to be continuously ratcheting upward—are you attending the “right” college, are you embracing the “right” career path, is your social media presence impressive enough?  On and on, the incessant parade of culturally imposed standards runs through the young adult’s head, causing doubt and confusion that often results in major depression.

In California alone, 347,000 young adults reported having at least one major depressive episode in 2010, according to statistics reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA, table 26).   Nationally, the prevalence of major depression affects nearly 10% of the young adult population, as reported in the American Journal of Psychiatry.  The quarter-life crisis, that development phase of young adulthood featuring feelings of doubt, stress, insecurity and diminished self-worth, has become ubiquitous.

While there are many theories as to why the occurrence of depression is prevalent in today’s young adults, some possible factors include a lack of family acceptance and support in childhood and teen years, social media itself, genetics or family history of depression, trauma or abuse, grief and loss, and substance use disorder.  Regardless of the origin or causal factors, access to depression outpatient treatment centers is key in treating the mood disorder.

Symptoms of Young Adult Depression

The transition between adolescence and adulthood can be packed with challenges.  Young adults are adjusting to college life, roommates, living away from home and feeling homesick, juggling heavy academic loads, and encountering temptations such as recreational drugs, alcohol, and casual sex.  A certain percentage of young adults have more pronounced difficulty during this phase of life and can become clinically depressed. The symptoms of depression can include:

  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities once enjoyed
  • Feelings of hopelessness, sadness, and despair
  • Irritability or frustration
  • Sleep disturbances, either insomnia or excessive sleeping
  • Angry outbursts
  • Anxiety or restlessness
  • Difficulty concentrating, focusing, and remembering things
  • Slowed thinking and movement
  • Changes in eating habits, either substantial weight loss or weight gain
  • Feelings of worthlessness and self-blame
  • Fatigue
  • Falling behind academically
  • Unexplained physical symptoms, such as recurrent headaches or back pain
  • Suicide ideation or obsessive thoughts of death

Treatment for Young Adult Depression

If the young adult is living away from home it can be difficult for parents to recognize the symptoms of depression.  However, if it becomes apparent through texts, phone conversations, or occasional visits that your young adult is exhibiting some of the symptoms of depression, the sooner they receive treatment the better.  Timely intervention for depression helps to decrease the likelihood that the young adult will progress further into the mental health disorder and/or high-risk behaviors.

Young adults can get help at a depression outpatient treatment center that provides a multi-dimensional approach.  Core treatment elements will include antidepressant medications prescribed with individual psychotherapy and group therapy sessions.  Treatment for depression related to the 18-35 year old demographic should also include guidance toward defining purpose and setting life goals, as well as life skills training.

Co-occurring Substance Abuse Disorder with Depression

In a significant number of cases of depression among the young adult population, a co-occurring substance use disorder is present.  This dual diagnosis reflects the tendency for an individual to attempt to self-medicate the uncomfortable emotional pain of a mood disorder, such as depression.  According to the 2014 National Survey on Drug use and Health, rates of adults with past-year serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorders were highest in the 18-25 year old age group (35.4%).

When a young adult has a dual diagnosis it is imperative that both disorders are treated at the same time.  The depression outpatient treatment centers are equipped to treat and manage co-occurring substance use disorders as well as the depression.

Launch Centers Young Adult Depression Outpatient Treatment Centers

Launch Centers is a unique outpatient treatment program that serves young adults aged 18-35 in Los Angeles, California, and features an emphasis on life skills and goal setting.  Launch Centers provides ongoing outpatient treatment for mood disorders, substance use disorders, and dual diagnosis through a structured and systemic program that empowers the young adult toward becoming a confident, productive individual.  For more information about the program, please contact Launch Centers today at (310) 779-4476.