- Q. What is depression?
- Q. How does depression affect college students?
- Q. Are there different types of depression?
- Q. What are the signs and symptoms of depression?
- Q. What causes depression?
- Q. How can I find out if I have depression?
- Q. How is depression treated?
- Q. What are antidepressants?
- Q. If a doctor prescribes an antidepressant, how long will I have to take it?
- Q. What is psychotherapy?
- Q. If I think I may have depression, where can I get help?
- Q. How can I help myself if I am depressed?
- Q. How can I help a friend who is depressed?
- Q. What if I or someone I know is in crisis?
- Q. How can research help college students who have depression?
- For more information on depression
Q. How does depression affect college students?
A. In 2011, the American College Health Association–National College Health Assessment (ACHA–NCHA—a nationwide survey of college students at 2- and 4-year institutions—found that about 30 percent of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function" at some time in the past year.2
Depression can affect your academic performance in college.3 Studies suggest that college students who have depression are more likely to smoke.4 Research suggests that students with depression do not necessarily drink alcohol more heavily than other college students. But students with depression, especially women, are more likely to drink to get drunk and experience problems related to alcohol abuse, such as engaging in unsafe sex.5 Depression and other mental disorders often co-occur with substance abuse, which can complicate treatment.6,7
Depression is also a major risk factor for suicide.8 Better diagnosis and treatment of depression can help reduce suicide rates among college students. In the Fall 2011 ACHA–NCHA survey, more than 6 percent of college students reported seriously considering suicide, and about 1 percent reported attempting suicide in the previous year.2 Suicide is the third leading cause of death for teens and young adults ages 15 to 24.9 Students should also be aware that the warning signs can be different in men vs. women.
30 percent of college students reported feeling "so depressed that it was difficult to function"