8 Most Common College Diseases
College students are young, lively and generally healthy individuals, but just like any population, they are prone to certain health problems. Not only do college students have some of the worst eating, exercising and sleeping habits, they also have to deal with stress from school, relationships and job hunting that takes a major toll on their health. Here are the 8 most common college diseases:
- Depression: Depression is a growing issue that even college campuses are dealing with more and more. An alarming 44 percent of college students reported feeling symptoms of depression during college and many do not seek treatment for their mental illness. Depression can be brought on by a number of factors, including anxiety from school or work, the loss of a loved one, a troubled relationship and early childhood trauma. College students have a high risk of being depressed because their hormones are often out of whack and imbalanced at this age, and they face a great deal of pressures and obstacles while in school and away from their parents.
- Meningococcal Meningitis: Meningococcal meningitis is a rare but often deadly bacterial infection that is spread through air droplets and direct contact with infected persons. When the disease attacks, it will shut down major organs and prevent blood flow to the limbs, often causing tissue to die and extremities to be amputated. From a national perspective, meningococcal meningitis is a rare disease that strikes fewer than 3,000 people every year. However, it tends to thrive on college students living in the dorms because of the close-quartered arrangements and their often weak immune systems.
- Alcohol and Drug Addiction: Alcohol and drug abuse has, and continues to be, a health problem among college students. College students have higher rates of alcohol and drug addiction than the rest of the public, with nearly 2.7 million full-time college students abusing drugs and alcohol at least once a month. As students relish in their newfound freedom, they are more likely to try drugs and alcohol with friends for the first time. Although alcohol is still the preferred drug of choice by most college students, there has also been an increase in marijuana and prescription drug abuse.
- Sexually Transmitted Diseases: With the increased amount of sexual activity and unprotected sex happening in today’s colleges, it’s no wonder why sexually transmitted diseases are rampant among college students. An estimated 20 to 25 percent of college students have been infected or are carriers of STDs. Sexually active young adults have high rates of STDs because they do not use adequate protection and often do not seek medical attention. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes and HPV (Human Papillomavirus) are some of the most common STDs among college students.
- Eating Disorders: Eating disorders continue to be a major concern among college students today. In addition to the classic eating disorders like anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa, there are a number of other eating disorders not otherwise specified (EDNOS) that have become more rampant in college, such as caloric restriction, drastic weight loss, excessive exercise, binging and purging. Disordered eating is commonplace in college, when students are eating on their own and trying to avoid gaining the "freshman 15."
- Obesity: Eating disorders continue to garner attention in college, but many students are troubled by the other end of the spectrum – obesity. Today, more than 30 percent of college students are considered obese or overweight by the American College Health Association’s standards. A combination of unhealthy diets, limited physical activity and poor lifestyle choices has caused many college students to become obese or overweight.
- Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): We hear a great deal about the amount of students abusing Adderall and other psychostimulant medications in non-medical ways, but there is a growing number of college students being tested and diagnosed with ADHD, as well. The growing number of diagnoses can be attributed to several reasons, including the pressures of college studies, poor academic performance and attention issues. It becomes more apparent to some students that they have ADHD while attending college because the academic requirements are different and far more challenging than in high school.
- Insomnia: College students have a high rate of commonly occurring insomnia. College students tend to pull all-nighters, have inconsistent sleep patterns, party until the wee hours of the morning and drink too much caffeine. All of these bad habits can lead to a lack of sleep and an ongoing bout with insomnia. Insomnia may cause students to have trouble falling asleep, staying asleep, or both. Insomnia often accompanies other mental health issues and could be the sign of something more serious. Students can improve their condition by changing their lifestyle choices and daily habits in order to get more and better sleep.
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