Social Anxiety Disorder Among Incoming College Students
When you are a senior in high school, you are the "top dog". You have finally made it to the point where you now are on top of the food chain. The underclassman, freshmen, sophomores and juniors, look up to you. However, you soon will be leaving. Graduation rears itself around the corner and before you know it, June is here and you are walking across the stage to receive your diploma. You look out at the crowd and see Mom and Dad; they are so proud of you. For the remainder of the summer, you spend the last few months with your friends. Soon, you will be parting and heading off to college. The transition from high school to college is an easy bridge for some to cross. However, for some, it is more like a tight rope. "Depression rates among college students appear to be increasing,"(Todd and McKibben). These students are experiencing depression based on many factors, most notably stress and perfectionism. Accordingly, they are experiencing what is known as Social Anxiety Disorder, referred to as SAD. SAD is a mental disorder in which the individual becomes removed from society.
There are two levels of depression that should be mentioned. Depressions itself is not as cut and dry as some may believe. The two levels that college students are experiencing are Dysthymic and Major Depression. Dysthymic depression can best be described as having "moderate or chronic depression; is a long term mood disorder"(Todd and MvKibban).
"According to McMahon et al., about 12% of the population will suffer from Dysthymic depression in any given year. Thus, it is often referred to as the common cold of mental health,"(Todd and McKibban). If an individual possess four or five of the following symptoms, then he/she can be classified as having Dysthymic depression.
The symptoms include:
1. Lack of energy
3. Loss of interest in activities and people once deemed enjoyable
4. Loss of sense of humor
6. Rock bottom feelings of self-worth
Individuals that suffer from this form of depression are viewed as simply going through life one day at a time. The individual will experience changes in thinking, feeling, behavior and well being. People that suffer from Dysthymic depression have said they have a hard time remembering things (short memory) and that negative thoughts has become consistent. Also, they have reported that they constantly are feeling sad and blue for no real apparent reason. "Others report that they no longer enjoy activities that they once found pleasurable,"(Psychology Information Online).
Treatment for this is very accessible. According to the American Psychological Association and the National Mental Health Association, they believe that "psychotherapy is the treatment for choice for this psychological problem,"(Psychology Information Online).