The Back to School Stress College Students Face

Dealing with Back-to-School Stress

The beginning of a new school year is both exciting and stressful. Whether you’re a parent, a grade school student, or a college student, the new school year means a lot of change. College students are particularly vulnerable to mental health and stress issues. They’re facing being alone, new academic and social pressures, and entering a new phase of life. Here are a few facts about back to school stress that university students face that you might not know.

There Are Three Types of Stress

There are actually three different types of stress that people can suffer from: Acute stress, episodic acute stress, and chronic acute stress. Acute stress is the most common type of stress and can be positive or negative. Most college kids will experience acute stress, like when cramming for finals or pulling an all-nighter on a term paper.  As long as it doesn’t last for too long or too intensely, it’s considered a normal reaction to a stressful situation or situations.

Episodic acute stress is stress that occurs frequently but not constantly. It often pops up as part of a pattern, accompanied by worry and angst. Type-A people tend to experience this more often. Chronic acute stress is a never-ending stress that is relentless. This type of stress can lead to long-term health problems and should be addressed as soon as possible, as it may be due to a diagnosable anxiety disorder.

There Are Four Types of Symptoms

College students face a few different types of stress, and the symptoms of stress can also appear in different ways. There are four types of symptom:, physical, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral. Because stress manifests in different ways it can be hard for people or those around them to identify the signs. Some people may experience the physical or cognitive symptoms of stress, and not realize that they are due to an anxiety disorder. Examples of these symptoms include insomnia, forgetfulness, trouble breathing, headaches, and upset stomach, among others.

A Large Number of College Students Feel Stressed

College has a lot of stress attached to it. From academic stresses such as tests, papers, grades, to personal life stresses like living alone, balancing relationships, and thinking about future careers, it’s not surprising that a lot of college students identify as being stressed. In fact, 20% of college students say they feel stressed “most of the time”. That means 1 in 5 University students feel stressed almost constantly.

Stress Leads to Depression Among Students

Being stressed too often can lead other mental health issues, the most common being depression. Nearly 34% of college students report feeling depressed at least once within the last 90 days. This number is high; especially considering university campuses don’t always have adequate mental health resources.

Half of Students Feel Overwhelmed

About half of college students report feeling overwhelmed with stress and anxiety at least once within the last year. Stress can lead to a number of other mental disorders such as clinical depression, generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), or even suicidal thoughts.

The good news is that back to school stress can be managed, and if addressed early enough, will not manifest into a more serious mental health condition. Our outpatient mental health center, with locations in Delray Beach, Boca Raton, and Jupiter, Florida works with a number of college students from the local South Florida colleges. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Raul J. Rodriguez

Dr. Raul Rodriguez


Existing patients, please text 561-409-7296 for follow-up appointment requests or if you have medication concerns please text 561-409-7296.