Back to School Blues: Symptoms of Depression in College Students

by Deborah Gray Patient Expert

Sleeping all day, skipping class, binge drinking - they're hallmarks of the college experience for many students, but they're also all symptoms of depression.

In a college setting where many classic signs of depression seem part of a popular lifestyle, it can be hard to know when to be worried about a friend, a roommate, or yourself. Below you'll find a list of symptoms that can point toward a diagnosis of depression in college students.

  • Sadness or hopelessness

  • Low self-esteem

  • Lethargy, decrease in physical activity

  • Agitation

  • Lack of interest in previously enjoyed activities

  • Frequently class absences for no apparent reason

  • Social withdrawal - remaining in his or her room most of the time, avoiding friends

  • Change in appetite: over-eating or under-eating

  • Sleeping too much or too little

  • Using drugs and/or alcohol more frequently and/or in larger quantities than usual

  • Thoughts of suicide

  • Frequent bouts of crying

  • Chronic aches and pains

  • Irritability

  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions

If you're at all worried about yourself or another student, do not delay in finding help. And if you're worried that someone may be at risk for hurting themselves, here are resources that can help.

Related Articles:

How to Minimize Your Chances of Becoming Depressed in College

Mental Health and College: Treatment vs. Self-Medication

Deborah Gray
Meet Our Writer
Deborah Gray

Deborah Gray wrote about depression as a Patient Expert for HealthCentral. She lived with undiagnosed clinical depression, both major episodes and dysthymia, from childhood through young adulthood. She was finally diagnosed at age 27, and since that time, her depression has been successfully managed with medication and psychotherapy.