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Anxiety Disorders and Other Mental Issues Resulting from Academic Pressure.

Academic pressure on adolescents has reached acute levels. The stress of admission into the desired college, getting good grades, and landing the best internships and placements, has taken a big toll on adolescents mental health. Academic success often comes at the expense of their emotional and social development.

Academic pressure can come from family’s expectations, overly ambitious goals set for themselves, or excessive demands placed by society, coaches, and school administrators, who push them to succeed. Due to this academic pressure, a student ends up having depression, anxiety disorders, or high-functioning anxiety.

Data collected from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) depicts that more than 3,600 students died by suicide in Telangana from 2014 to 2021. Stress from academics and peer pressure are rated to be the main cause of big numbers of suicides.

On August 31, this year, Rahul, a student of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Hyderabad, hung himself in his hostel room. The police investigation disclosed a second-year MTech student, who had killed himself due to the pressure of academics and placement. Rahul wrote in the suicide note that his institute should not force their students to complete their thesis. Because of extreme pressure, he smoked and drank, to come out of the pressure but he couldn’t”.

In 2019, IIT-Hyderabad saw three suicides where students cited peer pressure, academic pressure, and depression as their reasons for taking this extreme step. Pichikala Siddharth, a third-year student of computer science, died by suicide in October. He had sent emails to his friends writing that he falls behind in his studies and is scared of failing in his career.

Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, have the best coaching centers to teach students top professional courses, but unfortunately, they are also responsible for a large number of student suicide cases in the country. 

Charan Teja Koganti, consultant psychiatrist, KIMS Hospitals, Kondapur, told IANS that, these days many of his patients are students, coming with anxiety disorders, panic attacks and depression, due to high academic pressure. “Unfortunately such cases are increasing every year. This pressure is not only due to academics but also often related to physical appearance, body image, cyberbullying, their performances in extracurriculars, social interactions, friendship or romantic relationships”.

 “Students these days are trying their best to achieve their goals and careers in the best way possible. This has directly affected the ways they view their successes and failures”.

 “The trend has been changed. Earlier pressurized their children for studies, but since the pandemic, they have become relaxed about it and rather are focusing more on their overall personality development”.

Anitha Rayirala, Consultant Psychiatrist, Amor Hospital, Hyderabad, said, “ Being afraid of exams, not having proper preparation, comparing themselves to  others, pressurized by parents as well as teachers, anxiety, and depression when unable to cope up, all this lands the students to try suicide.”

Advise students to work hard but not obsess over the results. He recommended a strategy for students to de-stress from academic pressure: “make a plan and do preparation, revision, take breaks in between,  have good food, sleep well, listen to music.”

There are many academic stress management techniques for students—

  • Exercise – There are breathing centred exercises like pilates and yoga that are good for breathing management. Aerobic exercise too helps us manage stress hormones and release tensions. It also increases endorphin levels whilst creating a ‘feeling good’ vibe.
  • Mindfulness – mindfulness can be useful as it allows us time to step back from automatic thoughts and to remove intense emotions. It can improve the body’s response to stress and change shape of the brain.
  • Talking to someone – Sometimes sharing your thoughts with someone can help create a perspective. Also, it can lead to additional support options, which will relieve our stressful experience.
  • Create a Rewards System-

Giving yourself reinforcement after completing daunting academic tasks. Set up a reward system, so that you can look forward to finishing a certain set of tasks.

  • Time management – Try to create a written schedule, breaking down the tasks into manageable small pieces, plan accordingly and allocate yourself time every day to relax or socialize. Prioritize your work as urgent or non-urgent tasks, as important or non-important.
  • Getting enough sleep- Try to get at least Seven to eight hours of sleep, to relax and soothe your mind for a fresh start in the morning.
  • Other stress-busting methods-

a)Take your mind off it. Do something that will distract your mind like going for a walk, listening to music, watching your favorite TV show, or helping your mother with household chores.
b) Eat healthily and consume fresh foods. Have a well-balanced diet, full of vitamins and fibers.
c) Change your mind set and have a positive outlook on things
d) Take some time off social media.
e) Laugh out and release all your stress.

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