How To Manage Academic Anxiety With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

Two people sitting in a therapy session.

How To Manage Academic Anxiety With Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy?

It can be challenging for some men to cope with the negative symptoms associated with their anxiety. Signs of academic anxiety may arise from triggers such as an upcoming test, a new classroom, and unmet expectations. If left untreated, the factors that play into one’s anxiety can manifest in different areas of their life. For example, one may have a higher risk of developing substance use disorder (SUD). They may also experience negative work performance or impaired relationships with loved ones. Participating in cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) at a chosen facility can improve an individual’s ability to effectively function in an academic setting while promoting a successful future. CBT may also benefit all aspects of one’s life. 

What Is Academic Anxiety?

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA), in recent years, mental health diagnoses have been prevalent in a number of college students. Intense social and academic pressure has been shown to interfere with many individuals’ lives significantly. Increased access to substances has led many to abuse drugs and alcohol. SUD has been shown to impact an individual’s mental well-being negatively. 

It was estimated that approximately 60% of individuals reported having difficulty coping with anxiety, whereas 40% of students were facing problems with depression. These are the most common mental health conditions among college students. Respondents came forth about their suicidal thoughts and impaired ability to function on a day-to-day basis. Over the past decade, these rates have increased over time, leaving a demand for professional intervention.

Negative Impact of Untreated Academic Anxiety

The pressure to maintain success can lead one on the wrong trajectory. If academic anxiety is left untreated, many individuals are at an increased risk of experiencing worsened effects. Therefore, an individual may most likely turn to inappropriate ways to self-medicate for relief from built-up stress. An individual may experience intense demotivation due to a decline in their mental health, causing their grades to slip. Thus magnifying their anxiety and fear related to failure. Academic anxiety and co-occurring mental health conditions may feel different for every student but most commonly lead to several different symptoms, such as: 

  • Impaired ability to concentrate in an academic setting
  • Irregular sleep patterns such as insomnia 
  • Intense fatigue
  • Substance abuse or misuse
  • Tension headaches and migraines
  • Panic attacks
  • Depressive thoughts
  • Financial stressors (student loans)
  • Feelings of hopelessness

Self-Help Strategies to Overcome Academic Anxiety

It can be difficult to navigate the challenges that come with academic anxiety. Focusing on self-care and reaching out for support when needed can greatly improve an individual’s academic performance. Taking a few different steps can significantly improve one’s anxiety and help one easily cope in an academic setting despite social and academic pressure. Utilizing the strategies learned in treatment with these self-help strategies can make for a positive future. Self-help techniques may consist of: 

  • Avoiding caffeine
  • Staying abstinent from drugs and alcohol
  • Practicing mindfulness and meditation
  • Developing strong studying skills
  • Communicate concerns with a school counselor
  • Reach out for community support
  • Prioritize tasks

How Can CBT Help One Overcome Anxiety?

Based on Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience, a significant amount of research has proven the efficacy of CBT for individuals with anxiety problems. This type of therapy has shown major life improvement for those with an anxiety diagnosis. CBT works to alter an individual’s emotional response by changing their thought patterns and behaviors led by their anxiety. It has been widely implemented over the years for those facing challenges with their diagnosis. One may not know what to expect in a typical CBT session. CBT treatment may consist of: 

  • Understanding that negative thinking can create further problems
  • Gained self-esteem and increased overall confidence
  • Learning how to face fears by gaining new strategies for improved behavior
  • Calming techniques and unique methods to better cope with academic anxiety
  • Learned problem-solving strategies 

Moving Forward With CBT for Academic Success

Some men quite commonly refuse to seek mental health treatment as it may be a sign of overall weakness. Although this may be perceived this way due to negative gender stigma, academic success is crucial for a professional future. Many men are expected to be the providers of the household. This can bring on a great deal of anxiety and stress. An individual’s career maps out their entire life. Their financial state widely depends on their level of success throughout their lifetime.

The ability to maintain a stable lifestyle strongly depends on their ability to focus in an academic setting and build the knowledge needed to achieve specific goals for their future. Participating in CBT can help an individual safely navigate college without depending on drugs or alcohol for relief. CBT can help individuals with academic anxiety better focus to maintain mental stability and overall success for a better future.