College can be incredibly anxiety provoking, especially at first. There are so many new faces and experiences, in addition to the academic pressure to succeed.

For most it is the first time away from their parents, which means food preparation, laundry, transportation and bills are now falling squarely on their shoulders. Many take on jobs in addition to their classes, including social engagements such as Greek groups, academic clubs, intramural sports, and all forms of entertainment available on and off campus. College offers so many different opportunities, not to mention directing your future career path. It is no surprise that with this much activity, anxiety is not far behind.   

Much anxiety is situational—such as test anxiety, public speaking anxiety, and social anxiety. It is a very normal response to stress. Anxiety can be a good thing when we are in a dangerous situation (it can lead to fight or flight response) or when we need to focus for a presentation. For most the level of anxiety is not a problem. We may get anxious before a test, but this is short lived and does not impede our test-taking abilities. However, according to the National Institute of Mental Health, anxiety disorders effect about 18% of adults 18 or older. This means that for almost one out of five people anxiety exceeds the necessary amount to motivate, and can become a destructive and inhibiting force in their lives.

Photo of an anxious man.

Here are some common signs of anxiety:

  • Butterflies in stomach
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Excessive sweating
  • Cold hands
  • Upset stomach
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Racing thoughts

The following are common anxiety disorders:

  • Panic disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Social Phobia (Social Anxiety Disorder)
  • Specific phobias
  • Generalized anxiety disorder

If you feel that you are experiencing some symptoms of anxiety, here are some resources that can be helpful. 

If you feel you may be struggling with anxiety, an anxiety disorder, or are unsure, please call us at (850) 474-2420, or stop by UWF Counseling & Psychological Services in Building 960, Suite 200A, to schedule an appointment.