Daniel Eisenberg, assistant professor at the University of Michigan School of Public Health recently tabled research which indicates that college students with depression are two times more likely to drop out of school.
The two main symptoms of depression are sad mood and loss of interest in activities once found enjoyable. Eisenberg’s research indicates that it is the latter symptom, (ie., loss of interest in previously enjoyed activities) that accounts for the drop in grade point averages. Sad mood alone is not related to decreased academic performance. This is important to recognize as it points to the fact that not all people that experience depression will have declining grades. Those who lose interest in activities they used to enjoy are more likely to lose interest in school as well, and this accounts for their academic decline.
The research also showed that depression in combination with anxiety further exacerbated the decline in academic achievement.
Given the long term impact on career success, Eisenburg is advocating for early screening procedures in order to ensure that students with depression are given proper treatment before academic declines are seen.
University students, particularly in their first year, can find themselves feeling overwhelmed. Differentiating between the difficulties and stress typical of University life, and depression, can prevent academic failure at the least and serious mental health problems at worse.
You can read more about this study here.
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