Counseling Services Helps Students Manage Anxiety

One of the most common issues facing students is anxiety. While mild anxiety can be expected before exams, interviews and oral presentations, it can become detrimental if it begins to interfere with daily living.

According to the Anxiety Disorders Association of America, over 40 million men and women are diagnosed with anxiety disorders annually. At college campuses throughout the nation, the number of students experiencing anxiety-related conditions is increasing.

Anxiety Symptoms

If your student experiences the following symptoms on a regular basis, he or she should seek assistance:

  • Unrealistic or excessive worry and fears
  • Excessive sweating, trembling, shakiness, muscle aches
  • Stomach upset, diarrhea, extreme dry mouth
  • Dizziness, chronic tension headaches
  • Racing or pounding heart, rapid pulse, chest tightness
  • Ritualistic behaviors to reduce or avoid anxiety
  • Extreme or prolonged feelings of disappointment, anger, depression, helplessness

Test Anxiety Can Affect Student Learning

One type of anxiety faced by students is test anxiety. While a certain level of nervousness is common for students, especially when facing challenging exams and courses, it is the level of anxiety that differentiates the condition.

Excessive worry can perpetuate a cycle that erodes confidence and interferes with learning and performance. Characteristics of test anxiety include:

  • Feelings of "going blank" during exams.
  • Racing heart, breathing difficulty and feeling like the room is "closing in" during exams.
  • Sudden knowledge of answers after turning in tests.
  • Low/inconsistent scores on exams.

Some forms of test anxiety can be temporary and result from students having an unclear understanding of the course material, poor study or time management skills, insufficient test preparation or lack of organization.

Other times it can be an ongoing cycle. The cycle begins with test anxiety that may have resulted from prior bad experiences with test taking, lack of confidence, fear of failure, performance anxiety or other reasons.

As the cycle progresses, students may feel panicked about ensuing exams and lose their concentration and confidence during tests. If this results in poor test performance and grades, students begin to fear their next exams, thus perpetuating the cycle.

Counseling Services Can Help

For individuals experiencing anxiety, it can be a frustrating experience that is detrimental to academic performance as well as to their psychological, physical and emotional health. BW's Counseling Services offers students an environment for discussing anxiety as well as other factors that may be contributing to the condition.

Among its many programs, Counseling Services offers individual counseling, psychological/personality testing, and screenings for depression, anxiety, eating disorders and alcohol misuse.