Cited in Yahoo Health – Why Do So Many College Students Have Anxiety?

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I was pleased to help out on this great article addressing the increase of anxiety in college students. Why Do So Many College Students Have Anxiety by Korin Miller. Anxiety is that familiar sense of physical tension and worry that arises when we anticipate uncomfortable future circumstances that we believe are outside of our control. It can happen in spurts, or can be chronic, and college is a time where anxiety can crop up.

Anxiety expert Alicia Clark, PsyD, a licensed clinical psychologist practicing in Washington, D.C., says she’s not shocked by the findings. “Anxiety has been on the rise among young people for the last decade,” she tells Yahoo Health. “While we cannot be sure all of the factors that contribute to this, young adults appear to have more stress than in the past.”

Clark cites a more stressful college admissions process, and the pressure that can come with the personal, social, and mental growth that happens in college. “Sometimes, the stress and anxiety of these demands can feel like too much and anxiety can build,” she says. Students can even develop anxiety as a result of the financial pressure their families may be under to struggle to get them to college in the first place, she says, and arrive at school already struggling with anxiety.

But the new findings have troubling implications for the rest of us. “Often adult anxiety begins in the college years as do many mental health symptoms,” says Clark, who points out that too much anxiety can feed on itself and get worse if it isn’t properly addressed.

Clark points out that anxiety is “dramatically worsened” by sleep loss, caffeine, lack of exercise, and poor diet, so if you or someone you love is suffering from anxiety, it may be time to look at those factors as well.

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Alicia H. Clark, PsyD