Anxiety and College

Your chest is feeling tight, heart pumping fast, and mind racing with thoughts you just don’t want to think about.  You’re having an anxiety attack.  Anxiety attacks can happen at any moment from a wide variety of different triggers, and with Anxiety disorders being the most common mental illness in the US and one of the most common health problems on college campuses, it’s time we start discussing it.

One of the biggest confusions with being a college student and discussing anxiety is differentiating between having general, everyday anxiety (regarding our classes, social lives, and health) and having a legitimate disorder.  Anxiety is normal and healthy, but when it happens too often and begins to interfere with your daily life, you may want to head to the Student Success Center to find out if you are struggling with a real disorder.  Especially with it being “Hell Week,” everyone needs to be making sure their mental health comes before their test grades.

Symptoms of having an anxiety attack include:

  • Pounding heart
  • Feeling like nothing is real
  • Hyperventilation
  • Feeling like you’re going crazy
  • Overwhelming panic
  • Nausea

If you ever find yourself in a situation where you think you are having an anxiety attack, here are a few things to remember:

  • Take deep breaths.
  • Remember that this is all temporary, you can get through it.
  • Talk to someone.
  • Take more deep breaths.  It is important to breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth and try your best to calm down.
  • If you feel like you can not calm down, you can call the Counseling Center’s immediate assistance number 540-568-6552, which is open from 8am to 5pm on weekdays.  Visit their website for more information on where to go or who to call in these types of situations.  If you know already that you are having anxiety issues, or if there is anything else you would want to talk about with a counselor, you can make an appointment.

If you are ever in a situation where your peer or friend is having an attack, it’s important to remember that telling them to “calm down” will not be productive and could even make the attack heighten.  Remind them to take deep breaths, try and distract them with stories, tell them everything will be okay and that this experience is only temporary.

Although many people experience extreme anxiety throughout their college careers, there are many ways to prevent and treat it.  If you or someone you know is experiencing severe anxiety, please go to the Counseling Center on the 3rd floor in the Student Success Center.  Get through your tests, quizzes, exams, and life, but make sure you’re being healthy while you’re at it!  Stay strong, Dukes!

2 thoughts on “Anxiety and College

  1. Thank you for sharing this. I can only imagine what someone who is suffering from anxiety goes through, and thank you for helping provide help and resources to those who need them.


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