Depression at university (Why)

Depression at university – A complete to understanding why students get depressed in the university

In this guide, we will discuss depression at university, why it occurs and how to deal with it.

Depression at university

After finishing high school, the path that many students choose is university life.

Many people want to achieve professional training, choosing careers ranging from health sciences to technologies, there is everything to choose from.

When a person enters the university, it experiences a series of changes.

The transition from school to university is not only a physical change but also an emotional change in a person’s life.

The person begins a process of maturation since the university has a different system from that of school education.

In the university the person has to develop a higher level of dependency, take care of its duties as an adult and adapt to the whole system that this entails.

University life for many can be chaotic and lead the person to generate high levels of stress.

Depending on the situation in which the person is, some have higher levels of stress since the university brings a series of responsibilities such as moving from home since the university is far from where they lived, preparing their food, take care of housing expenses, payment of tuition and, above all, study to obtain good grades and pass the semester.

When the person is immersed in the great number of responsibilities that university life entails, it develops levels of stress that can turn into depression, here the person develops depression at university. 

Depression at university is not a specific diagnosis, but it is a disease that develops when the person is in the university.

The person is immersed in deep sadness and loses little interest in carrying out the activities of university life.

A person with depression at university feels overwhelmed with the sudden changes in its life.

It misses being with its family and friends, the greater burden of responsibilities it has, alteration of his sleeping schedule because there are classes where it must devote more study time and sometimes the worry of paying for the university where the person decides looking for a job, which adds more stress and the person tends to get more depressed.

University life is a great challenge for many people, various factors influence people to develop depression, but like any maturation process, there comes a time when the person engages and learns to adapt to the responsibilities of being in the university.

The person who has depression at university can negatively affect their academic performance.

Because it has to deal with several situations at the same time, it plunges into sadness and worry that does not allow to concentrate on its studies.

When the person sees that his performance falls, it tends to feel more depressed.

There are students who, because they cannot handle the responsibilities that come with being in the university, decide to drop out.

Some return after a while to see that at the end of the day they can handle everything that entails being in the university, others at the end of the day prefer to follow a different path.

Sometimes some students discover that university life is not what they pursue and decide to take another course in their lives.

Regardless of the reasons, university life is difficult for many.

The maturation process through which each person passes is different and the reasons for many to have depression in college can also vary.

There are people who, regardless of the circumstances, are more likely to have depression, where other factors come into play.

Many students suffer from post-uni depression because of the good experiences they had in university, unlike the ones who suffer from depression at university.

What is depression?

Depression, also called clinical depression or depressive disorder, is a mood disorder where the person has symptoms of distress and sadness that affects how they feel, think and coordinate their daily activities.

It is normal for a person to feel sad or depressed from time to time, but after a few days, these symptoms usually disappear.

When these symptoms are prolonged, the person may have symptoms of depression.

Depression negatively affects people’s lives. It interrupts its activities, causing the person to lose interest in doing things that previously aroused emotion in its life.

In university life, a person loses interest in studying, arriving in class on time and keeping up with the responsibilities involved in being in college.

Many of the people who experience depression at university, due to the burden they may have and want to relieve the discomforts of depression, may resort to taking unhealthy measures that make the situation worse.

The university is an area where good and bad can be found, different groups of people are there and do not always have good things to offer.

The person can be involved in situations where its life may be in danger.

Many to alleviate sadness can resort to the consumption of illegal substances or alcohol intake in an excessive way, making the symptoms of depression worse.

Symptoms of depression

Depression presents a series of signs and symptoms which are vital for its diagnosis and treatment, which are:

  • Recurring feelings of sadness and anxiety
  • Feelings of pessimism or hopelessness
  • Feelings of helplessness, worthlessness or guilt
  • Loss of interest in activities and hobbies that you used to enjoy
  • Loss of energy and tiredness
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering or making decisions
  • Difficulties sleeping and waking up
  • Appetite changes
  • Thoughts of death or suicide
  • Irritability
  • Body aches and pains such as headaches or digestive problems

Sometimes not all of these symptoms of depression occur in people, each person is different and depression affects in different ways.

Women are more likely to become depressed than men due to hormonal factors such as menstruation, pregnancy and having responsibilities at home.

Women who enter the university as mothers have more difficulty completing their studies since being a mother and meeting the demands of the university makes the process more difficult.

Some end up abandoning and do not return, others pause their studies and then find some stability in other areas of their life they return to finish their studies.

How to treat depression at university

While it is true that university life can lead to the person having depression at university, there are many measures that the person can take to combat it.

Depression, like any mental illness, needs treatment.

In studies conducted in the United Kingdom, the rate of students presenting symptoms related to depression such as anxiety and stress are on the rise and has been a reason to call about the situation.

For a person to deal with depression at university, some of the actions he can take are the following:

Get enough rest

Sometimes the person tends to fall asleep late at night and wake up early to go to class.

When a person does not get enough rest, their central nervous system can be seen altering causing emotional ambivalence and interfering with their studies.

While it is true that there are classes that require more study time, the person must organize their studies in a way that allows them, after these, to rest.

Eat healthily

People who are in college tend to eat irregularly and often foods that are not beneficial to health.

Sometimes they do not have time to cook due to the speed that they carry their day.

A poor diet does not help the physical condition of the person. It is recommended that the person try to change their eating habits for some healthier ones.

Foods such as almonds, lentils, spinach, chicken and fish are recommended.

Avoiding excess alcohol and drinks such as coffee will help the person to stay focused and not alter their state when resting.


Exercise is a good way to relax and reduce the levels of stress caused by the university.

Taking time to run or go to the gym will help the person clear their mind and release the mental burden they have.

Organize the activities to be carried out

The person with depression at university in some cases does not have an order in their daily activities.

Creating a calendar with the schedules of the activities it has to do during the day will help them to keep track and feel less stressed.

Seek professional help

In many cases, the person does not have the strength to act on their own and it is difficult for them to get out of depression.

Seeking professional help in the field of mental health is a good idea.

The mental health professional has a series of techniques that will help the person to know more about the depression and how to deal with it.

A doctor might even prescribe you some drugs, like Modafinil, which can help in maximizing the treatment effect.

The universities also have an orientation and psychology department. The person can approach and seek help in this place.

FAQs about depression at university

Is it normal for a person to get depression at university?

Yes, it is normal for a person to have depression at university.

The changes that university life brings makes the person feel overwhelmed and out of control.

The symptoms of depression are usually during the first semesters where the person is looking for their place and how to adapt.

Is it right for a person to leave university due to depression?

Each person knows the internal struggles it goes through and if it decides to leave the university due to depression it is not something for which it should be judged.

If someone knows a person with depression at university, the best thing to do is show their support and guide them in the search for help to fight the disease and not have to abandon their studies.

What happens if a person does not receive treatment for depression?

If a person does not receive treatment for depression, the symptoms may worsen over time.

The disease will continue to interfere in their life.

How can a person know that they are depressed due to university?

The lack of interest in their studies, recurring sadness for being away from family and friends, higher levels of responsibilities with which they can not cope with stress, are some of how a person can become depressed due to university.

Do all the people who are in the university get depressed?

No, not everyone who is in the university tends to get depressed.

Each person is different and in the way, it faces the changes is different.


Being in university is a challenge for many people due to the demands that it entails.

Making the transition from school to university is a process where various factors are involved.

Depression at university is common in universities and every day they echo and are taking greater responsibility for the welfare of their students.

Organization and relax are actions that a person can take so that university life is not so stressful and leads to depression.

  1. Depression at University: Students Wellbeing 
  1. Depression: A Student’s Perspective
  2. Shedding Light on Student Depression 

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