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Rising number of Georgia students require psychological treatments

A University of Georgia student recently recounted her frustration at scheduling sessions with her local on-campus counselor. According to the student, the counselor's schedule was always full.

In fact, the counseling and psychiatric services provided by the university have seen a 30 percent growth in demand, serving 15,000 students in the 2012-13 academic year. That's up from 12,000 students who requested services in the previous academic year.

According to an associate director at the university, an increasing number of the students who are requesting counseling therapy are coming in with severe psychological issues. Many have a prior history that requires individualized treatment or intensive services. The director also reports that the rising demand for counseling therapy is a national trend.

Depression is a common complaint among students. With early treatment and antidepressant medications, many patients are able to continue their academic or work schedules. However, severe depression sometimes requires an outpatient treatment program, possibly with a cessation of an individual's normal schedules. In such cases, a loved one or guardian may also be required to take over a patient's decision-making duties. Such a patient may also be unable to work until his or her symptoms improve. During that time, a patient's impairment may also be severe enough to qualify for disability assistance, such as Social Security disability insurance payments.

Treating depression is not an exact science. Sometimes it takes several attempts before finding an antidepressant medication that works for a patient. Part of that delay may be attributable to side effects from certain medications, or simply not seeing an improvement in symptoms. Many doctors say that it can take a minimum of eight weeks to evaluate the full impact of a particular medication.

Source: redandblack.com, "Influx of patients causes scheduling difficulties for CAPS," Lauren McDonald, April 8, 2013

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