Studies show that children today report more anxiety than child psychiatric patients in the 1950s. Everyone has heard that statement, but for us university students it’s almost a reality.

It is no secret that anxiety and depression are things that almost everyone goes through nowadays – the only problem is that most students think it’s normal and they just carry on with their lives. The question is, how do you know that you really do suffer from anxiety or depression?

Here’s how:

Let’s look at depression first –

Depression is considered to be the most common mental illnesses, defined as an illness that leaves you feeling alone, helpless and even completely detached from the world. It can interfere with everything in your life, making even the most basic daily task difficult to do. Symptoms themselves include, but are not limited to, changes in sleeping and eating habits, overwhelming feelings of sadness and hopelessness, seeing life as pointless and because of that having difficulty paying attention or working. Having some of these symptoms does not always mean that you’re depressed. Life is complicated and we all face some of these issues from time to time. However, if you experience these symptoms regularly – or several symptoms together, it might be time for you to ask for help.

Then, anxiety –

Low levels of stress and anxiety are a part of most people’s lives. Experiencing these feelings does not always mean that you have an anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders happen when anxiety interferes with your daily life, halting your ability to function, and causing an immense amount of stress and fear, almost constantly. There are many different types of anxiety disorders, such as PTSD or OCD, but the most common is Generalized Anxiety Disorder. This refers to general constant, severe anxiety that stops you from feeling ‘normal’.

So now that you know what to look out for, what do you do?

The first thing is to open up to someone. It doesn’t have to be a counsellor, just talking to a friend and sharing how you feel could help you feel lighter. When you feel ready you should open up to a professional.

The most important thing to remember is that you are not alone. Don’t stay miserable, ask for help.

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