Monday, January 24, 2011

Mental Illness Increase in College Students

Severe mental illness is more common among US college students than it was a decade ago, National Public Radio reported Monday.

Citing statistics collected by the American Psychological Association, NPR reported that the number of students on psychiatric medicines has increased by more than 10 percentage points over the last 10 years.

College counselors have reported a notable rise not only in the number of students seeking help for mental disorders, but also a rise in the severity of their illnesses.

The author of the research added that in 1998, nearly all of the students seeking help at college clinics were diagnosed with one disorder. By 2009, 96 percent of students seeking treatment had more than one illness. Most were diagnosed with mood and anxiety disorders as well as adjustment disorders or problems associated with impaired functioning.

One reason offered for the rise has to do with the high rates of successful rates of treating high schoolers with mental illness. As a result, many more teens with pre-existing mental problems are attending college, the research suggested.

The study authors also noted an increase in the number of students who are not socially connected, which is known to contribute to depressive disorders.

One positive finding was that, while severe depression is apparently on the rise, the percentage of students experiencing suicidal thoughts has declined dramatically in the last 10 years.

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