Causes of Depression

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Why do college students get depressed?

Some college students get depressed for the same reason that people get depressed in the general population-- chemical imbalance, genetics, a history of abuse, family problems, the death of a loved one, a traumatic event in one′s past, and many other reasons as well. The onset of depression often happens when someone is in their late teens and early twenties-- right during the college years. Factors in a typical college student′s lifestyle can help cause and contribute to depression, including:

  • The stressful experience of trying to balance classes, work, social life, and other conflicting expectations.
  • Uncertainty about money.
  • Uncertainty about the future after college.
  • Homesickness and the experience of leaving one′s family for the first time.
  • Problems with romantic and sexual relationships, which many students are experiencing for the first time.
  • Sleep deprivation and poor sleep habits.
  • Poor diet and exercise habits.
  • Alcohol (especially binge drinking) or drug abuse
  • Sexual assault, which is a common problem on college campuses.
  • Eating disorders, another common problem.
  • The anxiety of coming out to family and peers as a homosexual, another common college experience.
  • Dorm and friendship "drama."