How does ADHD in college students impact their mental health? 

October 12, 2023

How does ADHD in college students impact their mental health? 

Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D.
Chief Clinical Officer

With the abundance of social opportunities and being on their own for the first time, it’s understandable that almost all college students will get sidetracked or distracted periodically. However, for some students, inattentiveness goes beyond the occasional night of skipping studying to hang out with a friend or putting off writing that paper to binge a new TV show.  

For individuals who experience extreme levels of difficulty paying attention, hyperactivity, and/or impulsive behavior, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) may be to blame. Symptoms of ADHD can make studying and completing assignments harder for students with ADHD than those without. At least one study indicated college students with ADHD obtained significantly lower GPAs than their peers.  

In addition to difficulty with academics, those with ADHD may also be more prone to other mental health challenges. In an international study of nearly 16,000 freshmen at 24 colleges worldwide, close to 16% had ADHD, and of that group, 58% had at least one comorbid condition such as depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), or learning disabilities. Students with ADHD may also be at a higher risk for substance misuse.  

Students with ADHD entering college for the first time face a host of new hurdles and challenges when they arrive on campus. Experts believe a three-pronged approach of medication, education, and psychotherapy can be effective for adults in managing their ADHD symptoms. Because they are more vulnerable to other mental health challenges, it is crucial that students with ADHD have the tools and resources they need to thrive in an academic setting, especially access to medical services and support with organization.  

For those who are finding it hard to thrive in college because of their ADHD symptoms, Christie Campus Health can be a critical addition to the services already offered through the college/university. Whether they are overwhelmed with schoolwork or feeling down and need someone to talk to, Christie offers support for a wide range of needs. Christie’s services include a 24/7 clinical support line; psychiatric prescribing; Navigators to assist with referrals and specialty care; science-backed meditation and mindfulness tools through the Headspace app; and SilverCloud, a self-directed and clinically validated Internet-based cognitive behavioral therapy (ICBT). Contact Christie Campus Health to learn more. 


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