5 Early Signs of Student Depression & How to Deal With Them

Depression is truly a disease of the 21st century, and students are often the ones that face it the most. Coming from your parent’s house to an entirely new environment is stressful enough in and of itself. Add to that the immense pressure that is put on first-year students, and you’ve got yourself a recipe for disaster. Many push themselves to the limit due to their parent’s expectations. And even more, pressure is put on first-generation students.


The thing is, you don’t have to struggle alone. Depression is a marginalizing experience, and many people feel as though they are alone in it. But in reality, one in three students experiences mental health problems, whether it be depression or anxiety. If you’re struggling with mental health, use all the help available. So, expert essay writers can take care of your homework while you take time to recharge. Share your struggles with friends, as they might be dealing with the same thing.

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Now, let’s go over some of the early signs and symptoms that you can take care of by yourself before you fall deeper into that depressive state.

Changes In Mood

Let’s start with the most obvious thing. If you’ve always had a bubbly, cheerful personality, but it seems to be changing, you might need to reflect on it. Are you simply growing up and becoming more skeptical, or is there a deeper reason behind the change? Feeling sad, hopeless, or irritable is perfectly normal, as all humans experience a full spectrum of emotions. Yet, when you do so for no apparent reason, you might want to look deeper within yourself.

Changes In Behavior

Again, a change in interests is very common among young people who grow up and explore themselves. It’s okay if your food preferences or favorite sport changes as you grow older. Yet, if nothing that used to interest you brings you joy anymore, it might be a problem.

Depression is deeply intertwined with the feeling of apathy, and, for students, it might be hard to spot. When you’re in a constant rush to hand in papers on time, prepare for tests and do your homework, you might not notice stress taking over. An indicator to pay attention to is whether a good grade brings you joy. Because if not, you might need to take a break.


Changes In Sleep Patterns

Students are notorious for pulling all-nighters, staying up late, and skipping classes because they are too tired to wake up. And that’s pretty normal. What you need to pay attention to is whether your actual sleep habits change. If you’ve always been a morning person but have been dreading the idea of waking up late, it might be a problem. Many students with depression also struggle to fall asleep.

Therapists explain this phenomenon with a lack of motivation. If you dread the next day and know that nothing good is waiting for you tomorrow, you don’t want to fall asleep.

Changes In Appetite

Changes in eating habits are often closely linked to mental disorders. Anxiety can make you nauseous, depression can make you feel like you’re not hungry at all, or you might want to eat more than you used to fill the emotional void. All of these behaviors are detrimental to your health, both mental and physical, and are something to watch out for.

If you see that you’ve gained or lost a lot of weight rapidly, you should probably assess your mental state.

Physical Symptoms

Many people feel depression as actual pain in their bodies. This is the brain’s trick to make you pay attention. Many people still disregard mental health and consider taking care of it a ‘weakness.’ In this case, your brain will trick you in a way, making you feel actual pain with no apparent reason so that you finally pay attention to yourself.

Common symptoms are nausea, headaches, stomach aches, and random muscle pain.

How Can You Cope?

Although the symptoms above may seem scary and hard to deal with, in the early stages, it is quite possible. Of course, the first thing we recommend is to address a professional. A school counselor, a free hotline, and online services can all be of help. But if the waitlist for a school counselor is too long to wait and you can’t trust someone online, there’s another way.

Before learning about the methods to cope with the situation, you can read about the effects of mental and emotional illnesses on social health. 

Get Regular Exercise

How do you exercise if you are swamped with homework and have no motivation to even go out? It won’t be simple at first. You might need to power through the first couple of workouts. But once you do, your body will release hormones, making you feel much better and happier. And since the effect is temporary, you will want to exercise over and over until you form a habit.

Set alarm clocks, buy fancy running shoes – find a way to self-motivate that would work for you personally. But once you incorporate regular exercise into your life, it will get much better.

Eat Healthy

Eating healthy as a student might feel impossible. But we’ve all been there. Ask your mom or google some simple, student-friendly recipes. Get a rice cooker – they are often allowed in dorms (but do check with the regulations first!) and can be used for many thighs other than rice. Prepare your meals in advance and store them in a fridge or freezer to always have something to eat. You might need to sacrifice half your Saturday on it, but it’s worth it.

Sleep Well

Fixing your sleep pattern may be difficult, but it’s possible. If you work out and spend enough energy throughout the day, you will find yourself wanting to sleep. Don’t neglect this feeling – go to bed when your body signals you. Avoid gadgets a few hours before bed and drink less coffee and more herbal tea or plain water.

Look For Things You Enjoy

Sure, it’s easier said than done, especially when you have no motivation to get out of bed. But once you implement all the habits listed above, your drive might gradually start to come back. Once you feel the energy to do something – go do it. Revisit the things you used to enjoy. Did you paint as a kid? Try getting one of those painting-by-numbers kits. If that’s too boring and you don’t have the attention span anymore, go to Pinterest for ideas and inspiration. Maybe you’ll redecorate your room or just finally get the energy to clean up.

Wrapping Up

In conclusion, depression is a common mental health issue among students, especially those who are facing the stress and pressure of transitioning to a new environment. It is important to recognize the early signs of depression, including changes in mood, behavior, sleep patterns, appetite, and physical symptoms, and to seek help if these symptoms are severe or persistent.

Students can also try various self-care techniques, such as getting regular exercise, eating a healthy diet, seeking social support, and engaging in activities they enjoy to manage the early stages of depression on their own. It is essential to remember that seeking help and taking care of your mental health is a sign of strength, not weakness and that there are resources and support available to those who are struggling.