There are many reasons that could motivate a student to seek counseling. Some of the more common issues for which Regent students have participated in counseling are listed below. For some topics additional resources are provided.
Abuse is defined as any action that intentionally harms or injures another person. Abuse can be physical, emotional, psychological, sexual, or even spiritual. Victims of abuse can be male, female, young, or old. Child abuse and domestic abuse are the best-known forms of abuse, while others are often overlooked, poorly defined, and rarely discussed. No matter what the form, abuse can have lasting effects on adult health and functioning. Whether the abuse happened long ago or is more recent, counseling is often necessary for individuals who are recovering from those experiences.
- Academic Concerns
College is difficult – especially as it pertains to academics. Even students who performed very well in high school can find the transition to college coursework challenging. Most students have high expectations for themselves and their academic achievement. Falling short of those expectations can lead to stress, anxiety, depression, and inability to function. Seeking help with academic concerns can greatly improve a student's ability to succeed in college.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder is best known for its effects on a person's ability to focus. ADHD can occur in children and adults but is most often diagnosed during childhood. Those affected with ADHD experience symptoms such as inability to focus, difficulty completing tasks, and disorganization. Students with ADHD may have a particularly difficult time succeeding in school and could likely benefit from individual assessment and counseling.
- Adjustment Difficulties
Life is full of change, and dealing with change requires making adjustments. The change associated with the transition to college life can be particularly challenging for students. This is especially true for those who are entering their freshman year or leaving home for the first time. It is an exciting and positive time of life, but it brings with it a great deal of change. Navigating all of those changes at once can sometimes be overwhelming. Students who have problems adjusting can experience academic problems, sleep disturbances, social difficulties, and even disruptions in mood. Short term counseling can often be very helpful in assisting an individual navigate the change and adjust successfully.
Depression is one of the most commonly occurring mental health problems among college students. It has many causes and a variety of symptoms. It doesn't always look the same, as it often manifests itself in different ways. It may be a result of life difficulties, negative experiences, extreme stress, or even genetic predisposition. Symptomology may include fatigue, disruption in sleep patterns, changes in appetite, irritability, uncontrollable crying, lack of motivation, poor mood, loss of interest in previously enjoyable activities, and negative thinking. Left untreated, it is likely to worsen. In many cases untreated depression can lead to suicidal ideation or even attempts. Treatment for depression is often very successful and may include talk therapy, behavioral interventions, and sometimes medication.
- Eating Disorders
Eating disorders are much less common than many other mental health issues – ranging from 0.5% - 2.0% depending on the specific type of disorder. However, the eating disorders most often occur in late adolescence to early adulthood, which means college students are at a greater risk than other populations. They are far more prevalent with females but can occur with males. Anorexia and Bulimia are the two types of eating disorders of which most people are aware. There are several other types that are less commonly known but occur at a higher frequency (binge eating, food intake disorders).
Eating disorders are truly dangerous because they are pervasive and can carry with them serious medical complications up to and including death. Suicide rates tend to be higher than average among anorexic females. Lapse and relapse are not uncommon. Some other types of difficulties or even disorders will wane or possibly disappear with time, but eating disorders do not fit into that category. They are more likely to last a long time and worsen without intervention.
- Grief & Loss
- Relationship Difficulties
Relationships are hard – no matter what kind. In college new relationships are forged while existing ones change; and it seems to happen all at once. There are often new romantic interests, new friend circles, and even the forging of what might be lifelong relationships. At the same time, you are learning and developing new ways of behaving within relationships. Consequently, the entire dynamic of relationships as you have previously known them to be will be new. Setting boundaries becomes necessary but is also more difficult than any previous time.
There are many potential difficulties that fall into the area of relationships. Following are some of the more common ones:
- Roommate problems
- Changes in family dynamics
- Developing new friendships
- New Romantic Interests and relationships
It is often helpful to seek counseling when working through these types of situations.
- Sexual Addiction
- Spiritual Issues
The college years are a time of exploration. It's a time of evaluating your goals and beliefs. For many this can bring about confusion, or even conflict, in the area of spirituality. Long-term beliefs might be challenged, which may result in doubt or spiritual numbness. For others, the opportunity to live more independently can sometimes lead to a departure from one's spiritual standards or convictions. The outcome is often shame and a struggle to return to the former state of closeness with God. Many find that participating in counseling is helpful in working through these issues.
- Substance Use / Abuse
The use of various substances can often become problematic for people. The misuse of legal substances, such as alcohol, prescription medications, or over-the-counter drugs (OTCs), or any use of illegal substances, will often result in significant difficulties. These troubles can affect an individual in any number of areas such as emotional or mental health, physical health, familial and social relationships, legal difficulties, financial insecurity, or academic struggles – to name a few. Discontinuing the use of alcohol and/or drugs is not easily achieved and will usually require some type of intervention or counseling.
Trauma can come in many forms. Very often today it is associated with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The fact is, many people will experience some type of trauma in their lives but never develop PTSD. According to the DSM5, a traumatic stressor is "any event (or events) that may cause or threaten death, serious injury, or sexual violence to an individual, a close family member, or a close friend." Whether or not that becomes some type of disorder, counseling is often required to help navigate the process of recovery from that experience.