Although psychological fragility is considered a normal human condition after adolescence, many young adults experience psychological fragility during the transition period to adulthood and are unable to cope with the demands of work in a structured way, leading to a lack of professional success.
The transition to adulthood is a psychologically stressful time. It is often the time when young people leave home to attend college or university, when they have to take on many responsibilities for the first time. The most significant sources of stress in university life were identified as the pressure to succeed at school, fears about entering the workforce, lack of time and financial dependence.
This transition has its share of stress. However, when reactions to stress are too intense and prolonged, they can affect a person’s skills and affect their functioning. Psychological distress, which is very much a reality for university students, then appears.
Many phases in a student’s career are particularly stressful: the first year of study where students face many adaptations (living in an apartment, managing a budget, new academic requirements, etc.), but also practical work and evaluations (sometimes several on the same day).
Students in distress (suffering from anxiety disorders or showing signs of anxiety) may experience difficulties in attention, concentration, and even memory problems.
It is important to know that university studies include stressful moments that require many adaptations on the part of students. It is therefore possible that stress and anxiety lead some students to be less open to new teaching methods, as these require taking risks and getting involved.
Anxiety becomes a problem, however, when:
-It causes a significant level of distress;
-It doesn’t go away when the worrying situation returns to normal;
-It is not related to any life event;
-It is a constant preoccupation;
-It prevents from functioning and acting normally at work, in society or in other areas of daily life.
A person struggling with psychopathology, such as an anxiety disorder, will experience cognitive difficulties such as difficulties making decisions, difficulties concentrating and paying attention, pessimistic ideas, mistrust, and even memory retention. This may result in a decline in self-esteem and a desire for social isolation due to the lack of support from others.
Anxiety is unhealthy and health damaging. Consequences are not only difficult for the person with anxiety but also for their relationships. People who suffer with such problems often end up losing their jobs or dropping out of school, leading to further distress and loss of confidence.
It can also be expressed by various and numerous physical symptoms such as:
- Hot flashes;
- High blood pressure;
- Tremors or muscle twitches that may be generalized throughout the body;
- Pain in the chest;
- Feelings of unreality and loss of control;
- Numbness or tingling;
- Fear of dying.
- Sleep disturbances;
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea;
- Diarrhea or abdominal discomfort;
- Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat;
- Feeling of choking or strangulation;
- Excessive sweating;
The level of students’ psychological distress is usually associated with an increased perception of stress. Students who are distressed tend to alter their assessment of the situation by making it more threatening, thus increasing perceived stress and, more specifically, emotional stress. They react with greater anxiety and are therefore much more worried about their future, with organizational difficulties, and tend to experience negative feelings such as helplessness or lack of control.