A Breakdown of a Breakdown


A quiet place near the BPAC to relax after a stressful day. Photo by Anthony Brown.

The Causes of a Breakdown

Testing season is almost here, and with that comes the anxiety of doing well. The pressure that accompanies test season seems to get more extreme every year, yet colleges and universities are not doing enough to alleviate student stress.

College students pay for every mistake they make. Everything depends on them, and this makes their stress level skyrocket. 

Most colleges offer counseling for a set number of visits. After the limit is exceeded, they refer students to an off-campus counseling service. This leaves some students coping on their own because they cannot afford the off-campus counseling. 

Colleges need to focus more on student health to prevent students from suffering and drowning under the stress of college life.

Symptoms of Anxiety

According to an article from Very Well Mind, test anxiety is “a psychological condition in which people experience extreme distress and anxiety in testing situations.” This isn’t limited to just the testing experience but is also common when studying for a test.

Specialists consider test anxiety to be a form of performance anxiety because it restricts people from doing their best simply because of nerves. Basketball games, musical performances or work presentations can also cause performance anxiety.

Anxiety like this can get out of hand very quickly if students don’t recognize what is happening. 

An article from Healthline says that symptoms can come in the form of depression, high blood pressure, insomnia, panic attacks and paranoia. Anxiety can also result from isolation from family members and lack of motivation to go to work.

Sweating, shaking, rapid heartbeat, dry mouth, fainting and nausea are physical symptoms that are specific to test anxiety. There are also different physical symptoms specific to test anxiety that include.

Methods of Control

For immediate methods to control your anxiety, Healthline suggests, “breathe deeply and count backward from 10 when you’re feeling anxious or stressed.” 

They also suggest to “cut caffeine and alcohol from your diet.” 

Another method is to “develop a sleep schedule and routine that will help you sleep well.” This could mean taking a warm bath, switching off electronic devices, or reading a book before bed.

A more long-term method is trying to take a professional approach to mental health. This could mean going to a doctor to verify your condition. 

Healthline also suggests different types of therapy or taking prescribed medication. This could include Valium, Xanax, Klonopin and Ativan. Only doctors can recommend these medications. Trying yoga can also help with stress relief and better breathing patterns. Using these methods, students can get ahead and better manage their stress.

Delta State students can learn more about our Campus Counseling Center by visiting http://www.deltastate.edu/student-affairs/campus-counseling-center/.