According to a doctor, there are ways to cope with new college students experiencing stress and anxiety.

Dr. Jeffrey Borenstein, president and CEO of the Brain & Behavior Research Foundation, said, “For incoming college freshmen, going away to school means leaving family and a familiar environment for a place with new people, new responsibilities, less support and a whole new set of challenges.”

He added in a foundation news release, “It’s natural for people to experience some anxiety in the face of new situations, but there is a difference between nerves and the kind of overwhelming anxiety that affects a student’s ability to succeed academically or socially.”

Bernstein explained, “The temptations of the college lifestyle — lack of sleep, misuse of alcohol and poor eating habits can exacerbate anxiety and affect a student’s ability to focus,”

Fortunately, there are some ways to work around this with the help of parents.

Borenstein believes parents should start an ongoing dialogue about how their child feels about leaving and going to college. Parents should let their sons and daughters know they will be there for them. Stepping back is still an important part of helping children become independent, but parents should never fail to make their children feel support.

If your son or daughter is going through therapy, talk to the therapist to know the best way to continue treatment during college.

Most freshmen are anxious about meeting new people and studying in a new environment, so new college students shouldn’t feel alienated. Parents should encourage their children to attend activities and clubs where they can meet people aligned with their interests.

Parental support is essential, especially when reminding children to get enough sleep, regular exercise, and eat properly, according to Borenstein.

He suggested, “Students who feel overwhelmed by academic pressure should see their professor during office hours, get tutoring services, or seek peer academic support.”

College is a new terrain of thrills, responsibilities, and independence.

A simple phone call can go a long way especially if your child needs your support.

Never fail to show your support for your kids, especially when they need it the most.

Aimee Harris-Newon, Psy.D., D.A.B.P.S., C.Ht


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