Taking a confidential mental health screen is a good way to tell if the symptoms you are experiencing are part of a pattern that needs further attention. Common mental health problems that can be screened for are listed below.
It is normal for people to have occasional periods in which they feel sad. However, depression refers to more than just “feeling blue” or a sad mood. Depression occurs over a period of time (at least two weeks) and significantly interferes with your ability to function on a day-to-day basis.
What are symptoms of depression?
- Feelings of sadness or emptiness
- Sleep disturbances (difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, sleeping too much)
- A lack of interest in activities that you used to enjoy
- Feelings of guilt or worthlessness
- Fatigue or low energy
- Difficulty concentrating
- Changes in appetite (eating less than usual, eating more than usual)
- Thoughts of suicide
What causes depression?
Depression may be the result of biological, genetic, and/or psychological factors. Sometimes people experience a “triggering event” that results in depression –family conflict, relationship break-up, academic difficulties, etc.
What are treatment options for depression?
Treatment for depression may include counseling, medication, and/or lifestyle changes (e.g., increasing social support, exercising, eating healthy) depending upon the severity of symptoms and individual preferences.
What are the symptoms of anxiety?
Anxiety comes in a variety of different forms: generalized anxiety, social anxiety, separation anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorders (body dysmorphia, hoarding, hair-pulling, skin-picking), specific phobias (fear of heights, etc…) and panic disorder. In addition anxiety and panic can also be caused by drug use, drug withdrawal, or even certain medical conditions.
Symptoms depend on the type, with general anxiety having the following:
- Excessive anxiety and worry on more days than not
- Difficulty controlling worry
- Restlessness or feeling “keyed up”
- Difficulty concentrating
- Muscle tension
- Sleep disturbance (difficulty falling or staying asleep, restlessness, or unsatisfying sleep)
- Significant distress or impairment in functioning socially, in school or at work.
What causes anxiety?
Anxiety sometimes runs in families, which suggests a genetic cause, but no one knows for sure why some people have it, while others don’t. Researchers have also found that brain chemistry plays a role. Psychotherapeutic medicine is thought to "tweak" the neurotransmitters which may improve the signaling between circuits in the brain and help to improve symptoms related to anxiety. In addition, environmental factors such as stress or trauma play a large role in anxiety. Finally, the use of and withdrawal from addictive substances, including alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, can also worsen anxiety.
What are the treatment options for anxiety?
The treatment options for anxiety depend on the type of symptoms, but may include counseling, medication, and and/or lifestyle changes. Regular exercise has proven to be one of the most effective interventions for anxiety. In addition, research shows that regular mindfulness meditation is a highly effective treatment for anxiety.
What is the difference between anxiety and stress?
Anxiety and stress are not the same thing. Stress is the physiologic response to any perceived demand. It involves the release of certain chemicals and hormones that prepare the body for survival—an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, for example.
Not all stress is bad. “Eustress” is the term for positive stress. These are the types of responsibilities and demands that keep you vital and excited about life.
Without them, you would become depressed and perhaps feel a lack of meaning in life: not striving for goals, not overcoming challenges, not having a reason to wake up in the morning. Learning to cope with this type of stress creates resilience, or the ability to manage adversity and bounce back from failures. It keeps us healthy and happy.
Anxiety is a specific reaction to stress. It may involve some of the same fight-flight-freeze physiologic responses as acute stress, as well as certain other cognitive and emotional responses, especially worry and fear. Unlike the healthy coping strategies of resilience, anxiety is an unproductive response. Anxious patterns often keep people stuck in past, present or future problems. This can lead to feelings of helplessness and hopelessness, and eventually chronic stress.
Chronic stress occurs in response to everyday stressors that are ignored or poorly managed, as well as exposure to traumatic events. The consequences of chronic stress are serious, particularly as they contribute to anxiety and depression. Chronic stress is also bad for your health. In the short term it reduces immunity to disease, disrupts sleep, and causes digestive problems; in the long term it has been associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and diabetes. Research has also shown that there is an association between chronic stress and addiction to alcohol and/or drugs.
Alcohol Use Disorder
The Campus Alcohol and Other Drug Program (AOD) is dedicated to helping individuals make healthy lifestyles choices with regard to alcohol and other drugs by:
- Providing accurate and reliable information about alcohol and other drugs
- Promoting responsible use
- Raising awareness of alcohol & other drug issues
- Offering compassionate and confidential consultation and referral for students with concerns about alcohol & other drug use
- Supporting recovery from substance use disorders
In addition the Campus AOD Program supports ongoing research into the nature and scope of alcohol and drug abuse on campus, and works with a variety of other departments to develop and implement consistent and fair policies and procedures as they relate to alcohol & other drugs.
If you have any questions or concerns about the Campus AOD Program or you if wish to talk to someone about an alcohol or drug use issue, please feel free to contact us.
Substance Use Disorder
To take a screen specifically for a substance use disorder, CLICK HERE.
Behavioral Addictions (gambling, pornography, etc...)
To take a gambling use disorder screen CLICK HERE.