Post Grad Depression: Causes and Treatment for Post-College Depression

Post-grad life can be tough. You’ve just spent four or more years of your life dedicated to a single goal, and now you have to figure out what comes next. For many people, post grad depression is a reality. Let’s see what mental health experts say about it.
post grad depression

Graduating can be a bittersweet moment, and transitioning into the next stage of life comes with its own set of challenges. Post-grad depression is an all too real phenomenon that many young adults may experience shortly after graduating from college or university due to financial stressors, feeling lonely without their usual social connections or academic environment, difficulty adjusting to new changes in post grad life such as job applications and rejections leading to low self-esteem – just some factors at play here. Keep reading to find out more about this subject!

Is Post-Graduation Depression a Thing?

First things first – post grad depression and anxiety is a real phenomenon. As UK-based psychotherapist Floss Knight told The Tab, many graduates feel low or sad post-graduation. “Some people experience this for the first time; others have a history of mental wellbeing concerns that can be exacerbated once they leave the structure of university”, she said.

Libby O’Brien, an American Counseling Association expert, said that it’s not uncommon to experience sadness, loneliness, and anxiety after graduating. “[College graduation] is a change, and change can be very challenging to negotiate. You don’t necessarily know what comes next”, she explained.

But in case you’re wondering if it’s a separate phenomenon from regular depression, the DSM-5 and ICD-10 don’t classify it as such. It falls under “depression, unspecified” (ICD-10 code F32.9) or “unspecified depressive disorder” (DSM-5). It can be an episode of major depression, and it should be treated seriously.

is post graduation depression a thing

What Can Cause Post Grad Depression?

There are a variety of factors that can contribute to post grad depression. Because graduating from college is a major milestone, it can lead to a sense of loss or uncertainty about the future. Additionally, post-grad life often brings financial stress and pressure to find a job or start a career.

Here are some other possible causes of anxiety and depression in recent graduates:

  • University life is very social, and when that ends post-graduation, it can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • There may be a sense of not measuring up to peers or feeling behind in life goals.
  • There may be a transition period as you adapt to post-grad life and all its changes.
  • Looking for a job often means that you get rejected over and over, which can be discouraging and lead to low self-esteem.
  • Moving back to your parents’ house can also contribute to post grad depression if you don’t have a good relationship with them or if you have to give up your independence.
  • If you’ve already found a job, you might have trouble transitioning to the strict structure and expectations of the workplace.

Whether one of these is true for you or not, post grad depression should never be ignored or brushed off. By working with a therapist, you can find the underlying causes and develop coping strategies.

Symptoms of Depression After Graduating From College

It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of post-grad depression, so that you can seek help if needed. These may include low mood, loss of interest in activities you used to enjoy, changes in appetite or sleep patterns, feelings of worthlessness or hopelessness, and thoughts of death or suicide.

These symptoms are often confusing because most people expect to feel relieved or excited after graduation. So it’s important to acknowledge and validate your own feelings, rather than brush them off or ignore them. Try not to think there is something wrong with you – everyone processes life changes differently.

How Long Does Post-College Depression Last?

There is no set timeline for post grad depression. It can last a few weeks or months, or it may continue for longer if not addressed. It’s important to seek help and support, rather than try to struggle through the feelings of depression on your own.

How to Avoid Post Graduation Depression?

One thing you can do while you’re still in college is to start thinking about post-grad life and planning for it. This can include networking, finding internships, exploring career options, and saving money. By giving you a sense of direction and purpose, these activities can help prevent post grad depression.

It’s also important to maintain social connections and support systems post-graduation, whether that means keeping in touch with friends and classmates or finding a community in your new location. Seeking therapy before graduation can also be a preventative measure, as it can provide coping skills and support in navigating changes.

Finally, try to be kind to yourself and have realistic expectations about life after college. It’s normal for there to be a transition period, and it may take time to figure out your path as a college graduate. Avoid substance use and seek mental health services if you’re feeling overwhelmed.

There are many reasons of depression – read our article about post vacation depression.

how to avoid post graduation depression

Life After Graduation – Find a Support System

If you are experiencing post grad depression, know that you are not alone and there is help available. Reach out to friends, family, and mental health professionals for support. Remember to prioritize self-care, whether that means practicing relaxation techniques, engaging in hobbies or activities you enjoy, or seeking therapy.

It’s also important to have realistic expectations and boundaries in post-grad life, with yourself and with others. Don’t compare yourself to others and try to focus on your own journey and job search. Post-graduation can be a difficult time, but by seeking support and taking care of yourself, you can find ways to cope and thrive.

Our Reader’s Story

After graduating from college, I was filled with excitement for the future. But soon, that feeling faded away and I found myself feeling overwhelmed and anxious. I was suffering from post-grad depression.
I knew I needed to make a plan to help me feel better. I started by creating a daily schedule that included time for exercise, hobbies, and socializing. I also reached out to my family and friends for support.
I also made sure to take care of my mental health. I started seeing a therapist, and I made sure to take time to relax and practice self-care. This helped me to feel more in control of my emotions and to start feeling better.
By creating a plan and taking action, I was able to get through post-grad depression. It wasn’t easy, but it was worth it. I now feel more confident and ready to take on the future.
life after graduation - find a support system

Seek Professional Help If Depression After College Is Overwhelming

If post grad depression (depression, unspecified – ICD-10) starts to interfere with your daily life and relationships, it may be time to seek counseling services. A therapist can work with you to address the root causes and develop coping strategies. By seeking help, you can begin to heal and move forward after graduating from college.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do People Get Depressed After Graduating?

After college graduation, many people suddenly face a daunting adulthood that can leave them feeling overwhelmed and depressed; this is normal in the wake of such monumental changes. Stress levels rise as lifestyles abruptly shift from student to professional, creating an all-too common sense of uncertainty about one’s future prospects.

How Do You Fix Post Graduate Depression?

The most important step in treating post graduate depression is to identify the root cause of the depression. This could include addressing any underlying issues such as stress, lack of direction, or financial concerns. Additionally, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional to help manage symptoms and develop coping strategies.

What Is PhD Syndrome?

PhD Syndrome is a term used to describe the feelings of depression, anxiety, and burnout experienced by PhD students and graduates. It is often caused by the pressure to succeed, a lack of job security, and the feeling of being overwhelmed by the amount of work.

How Do You Deal With Post Graduate Loneliness?

After graduation, loneliness can be a daunting feeling. But there are ways to combat it and stay connected! Branch out by joining clubs or organizations that share your interests; lend a helping hand at local volunteer opportunities; make time for yourself through relaxing breaks from work or school – these simple solutions could help you find meaningful friendships alongside newfound independence post-graduation.

Are People Who Graduate College Happier?

Research suggests that people who graduate college are generally more satisfied with their lives than those who do not. College graduates tend to have higher incomes, better job prospects, and more opportunities for professional growth than those without a college degree. Additionally, college graduates often have better social networks and access to more resources than those without a college degree. 

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