Entering university is an exciting time for students – new environment, friends, independence and broadening horizons. But these 18-year-olds also must cope with heavy workloads, being away from home for the first time and having to do everything for themselves. This can bring about health issues that can cause students to become stressed and overindulge in alcohol, take prescription drugs, develop poor eating habits and become very unfit.
Being a university student means taking on new responsibilities, assignments or even a part-time job and all this can cause a feeling of being overwhelmed. This then can lead to stress, problems sleeping, mood swings, a lack of confidence, poor grades, and have a negative effect on studies and social life.
Prescription drug abuse
Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to find students taking prescription drugs like Ritalin and Adderrall, which are used to treat ADHD and stimulate the central nervous system. They are used for several reasons including to boost energy to study for long hours, improve school performance, decrease stress and for recreational purposes. These prescription drugs are addictive and can cause many problems in the long run.
STDs (sexually transmitted diseases)
Unprotected sex is not rare amongst university students. According to the US Centres For Disease Control, half of the 20 million patients who contract a sexually transmitted disease each year are between the ages of 15 and 24. The most common of these include chlamydia and herpes. While most of these are treatable, others cause long-term or life-long effects.
Too much alcohol
Binge drinking is synonymous with university or college. Teenagers, many away from home for the first time, are put in a situation without parental control and surrounded by peer pressure. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (the largest funder of alcohol research globally), approximately one in four college students suffer academically due to drinking – by missing class, failing exams and falling behind.
Poor nutrition and a lack of exercise
Putting on weight during the first year of university or college is normal. Students live off instant noodles and junk food and this can lead to increased weight and overall poor health. A poor diet combined with a lack of exercise leads to nutritional deficiencies, weight gain and the tendency to fall ill. Exercising and doing sports takes a back burner due to study schedules and a busy social life, but students must be made aware that being healthy relieves stress and helps them perform better in class.
Going to university is exciting, but there are health dangers. If you are a student who is having problems, see the school therapist or reach out to family and friends for help.
This article has been republished with permission from Hello Doktor.