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Anxiety and Better Mental Health

Tools and information for students dealing with anxiety

Understanding anxiety

Understanding Anxiety

What is it?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIH) there are a wide variety of anxiety disorders, and they differ by the situations that induce them. Some anxiety disorders include: panic disorder, phobias, social anxiety disorder, and generalized anxiety disorder.  


How does it affect your health?

The NIH states that occasional anxiety is a normal part of life. Situational anxiety can affect a person during times of stress, like before facing a problem, taking an important test, or making a major decision. These are situations of temporary anxiety and should subside. However, there are times when they do not. Anxiety disorders interfere with job, and school performance, relationships, and other normal everyday activities.


Types of anxiety and their symptoms
  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder: Persistent and excessive worry that interferes with everyday activities. Worries tend to focus on family health, chores, and job/school responsibilities Symptoms include: insomnia, difficulty concentrating, fatigue, and muscle tension.
  • Phobias: Excessive fear about a specific object, activity, or situation (e.g.. insects, flying or heights). People experiencing a phobia know the fears are excessive, but cannot control them, and will go to great lengths to avoid their triggers. 
  • Panic Disorder: Recurrent episodes that can be triggered by a feared object or for seemingly no reason at all.  People who experience panic disorder can often feel as though they are having a heart attack or other life threatening illness.  Symptoms include:  dizziness, palpitations trembling/shaking, numbness/tingling, and chest pain.
  • Social Anxiety Disorder: Experiencing discomfort and anxiety about being looked down upon, embarrassed or humiliated in social interactions. People either try to endure social situations or try to avoid them altogether. Examples include: extreme fear of public speaking, meeting new people, and/or eating and drinking in public. 


Read more
Article: National Institute of Mental Health | Anxiety Disorders
Article: American Psychiatric Association | What Are Anxiety Disorders


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Anxiety in college students

Anxiety in College Students

If you're feeling anxious, you're not alone—among college students, anxiety is a common problem. A 2018 report by the American College Health Association revealed that, in the last year:

  • 63% of college students experienced at least one instance of "overwhelming anxiety";
  • 23% had been diagnosed with or treated for anxiety;
  • 25% reported anxiety had a negative effect on their academic performance.

It's especially likely for first-year college students to experience anxiety, or to be first diagnosed with an anxiety disorder. Adjusting to college life can be a major stressor; everything from a change in sleep schedule to academic pressures and moving away from friends contributes to anxiety in college students.


Read more
Blog post: Anxiety in college: what we know and how to cope | Harvard Health Publishing
Article: Teens and College Students | Anxiety and Depression Association of America
Report: Fall 2018 National College Health Assessment | American College Health Association

What is good mental health?

Mental Health

Anxiety is one of the many disorders that can compromise good mental health. Curious what good mental health looks like, or why it’s crucial? Your total mental health is more than just the absence of anxiety or other disorders.

Your mental health can have an impact on your performance in school, your social life,  According to, good mental health allows a person to:

  • Realize their full potential
  • Cope with the stresses of life
  • Work productively
  • Make meaningful contributions to their communities
Read more
Article: The Importance of Positive Mental Health | Duke Integrated Pediatric Mental Health


Photo by Natasha Spencer on Unsplash