Adjusting to life in college can be challenging at times, and clinical disorders can intensify those challenges. Check out the following listing of psychological disorders. If you believe you have an issue based on the symptoms listed, contact UWA Counseling Services to arrange for free counseling sessions to help ease the burden you may be experiencing.

Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD)

If you experience excessive anxiety and worry that you are unable to control, you may have GAD. Everyone worries, but some experience such distress that it can cause physical symptoms. Symptoms of GAD include:

  • Restlessness or feeling keyed up or on edge
  • Being easily fatigued
  • Difficulty concentrating or mind going blank
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Sleep disturbance

If you have GAD, then the problems you experience cause significant distress in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning. If you can relate to these symptoms, and if your worry seems out of control, you may benefit from treatment.

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) is a disorder in which individuals experience either obsessions or compulsions that are unreasonable.

Symptoms of obsessions include:

  • Intrusive and inappropriate thoughts, impulses, or images that are recurrent and persistent
  • The thoughts, impulses, or images cause anxiety or distress
  • The thoughts, impulses, or images go beyond worry about real-life problems
  • Individuals attempt to ignore the thought, impulses, or images or suppress them with some other thought or action

Symptoms of compulsions include:

  • Repetitive behaviors or mental acts that one feels driven to perform. Examples include: hand washing, keeping things in order, checking to make sure the door is locked/oven is off, praying, counting, repeating words silently, etc.
  • The behaviors cause distress.

Panic Disorder

Panic Disorder is a real illness characterized by the following recurrent symptoms. If you experience one or many of these on a recurrent basis, you may have panic disorder. Symptoms include:

  • Palpitations, pounding heart, or accelerated heart rate
  • Sweating
  • Trembling or shaking
  • Shortness of breath or sensations of smothering
  • Feeling of choking
  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Nausea or abdominal distress
  • Feeling dizzy, unsteady, lightheaded, or faint
  • Feeling detached from oneself
  • Fear of losing control or going crazy
  • Fear of dying
  • Numbness or tingling sensations
  • Chills or hot flushes
  • Avoidance of places or situations from which escape might be difficult (i.e., being on a bridge, being in a crowd of people, etc.)


There are two general types of phobias: Social Phobia and Specific Phobias.

Social Phobia

Many people are afraid of social or performance situations, such as public speaking or giving a presentation in a college class. However, sometimes the fear is overwhelming. In fact, some people are so afraid of such situations that they experience genuine panic attacks. If you can relate to this, then you may have social phobia. If you experience any or all of these symptoms, treatment is available for you. Some other symptoms include:

  • Avoidance of social or performance situations, or endurance of situations with intense anxiety or distress
  • The avoidance, anxious anticipation, or distress interferes with your normal routine
  • The fear causes problems with functioning in academic, work, and/or social settings or relationships
  • Experience these symptoms for at least 6 months.

Specific Phobias

Many people admit that they are afraid of certain things. Common examples include fear of heights, snakes, needles, tight spaces, airplanes….and the list goes on and on. Such fears appear to be normal and are usually based upon personal experiences. However, the fear can get out of control. When a person experiences excessive or unreasonable fear of a specific object or situation, he or she may experience an anxiety disorder called specific phobia. Other symptoms include:

  • Exposure to an anxiety-provoking object or situation causes an immediate anxiety response, which may result in a Panic Attack
  • The phobic situation is avoided or endured with intense anxiety or distress
  • The avoidance interferes with the person’s routine and causes problems in academic, work, or social/relational functioning
  • Experience these symptoms for at least 6 months

If you experience any or all of these symptoms, treatment is available for you.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

PTSD involves recurring symptoms that can occur after experiencing a terrifying event such as a war, child abuse, rape, hostage situation or natural disaster. PTSD victims often experience such vivid memories of the trauma, it seems like the trauma is occurring over and over again.

Common PTSD symptoms include:

  • Frightening thoughts
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Numbing of emotions
  • Depression
  • Feeling angry
  • Easily distracted
  • Irritable
  • Easily startled

For any of the conditions described above, help is available for you at the UWA Counseling Center.