Any person of any age can be affected by a substance use disorder, and college students are no exception. Addiction among college students is an issue that commonly gets brushed under the rug, or dismissed as part of the normal university experience. At a time when exploration, self-searching and achievement are encouraged, this newfound freedom and variety of social and personal experiences can usher in problematic substance use, or make an existing issue worse. Read on to learn about the risk factors for addiction in college students including co-existing mental health concerns, and the resources available for young adult addiction treatment.
Addiction in college students
Addiction can develop prior to college or in the midst of it. Addiction existing previously to high school graduation may be a deterrent to attending college. Young adults may wonder whether advanced education can be balanced with treatment or that they’ll be unable to strive in school burdened by problematic drinking or drug use.Addiction can also emerge during college for numerous reasons. Unsupervised activity may open opportunities for experimentation for young people who previously refrained due to parent and caregiver oversight. The stress of academics and socializing in college often leads young people to abuse performance-enhancing drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs or other illicit substances.There are numerous reasons for students to use or abuse substances for the first time. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, on an average day, an average of 2,179 full-time college students consumed alcohol for the first time and 1,326 consumed an illicit drug for the first time. Perhaps one of the most common reasons for addiction in college students stems from mental health disorders. According to the American Psychological Association, mental health in college students is a serious concern. Half of American university students meet the diagnostic criteria for at least one mental health issue.Due to the high rates of overlap between addiction and mental health, it’s likely that exacerbated mental health commonly devolves into drug or alcohol abuse during this vulnerable age.Moreover, young people attending college for the first time often feel isolated. Living in a new environment with no established community can surely be an impetus for the development of an addiction. Strenuous self-imposed expectations or the expectations of others in demanding collegiate programs or athletics can also be a risk factor for addiction in college students.Statistics affirm that drug and alcohol use among college students is alarmingly high. The American Addictions Centers states that roughly half of the surveyed college students met the criteria for a substance use disorder, with alcohol, marijuana, MDMA, opioids and stimulant medications making up the most commonly abused substances.
Substance use recovery programs for college students
Seeking treatment for substance use before or during college is your best bet for your health, well-being and educational achievements. Until you start recovery and create a lifestyle that supports sobriety, you’ll find you’re unable to regain control of your life. Don’t let the business of college prevent you from seeking help, and don’t let an addiction hold you back from pursuing the future you want.Substance use recovery programs for college students vary, but you have numerous options available to you regardless of the college you attend. Most campuses have assistance in accessing treatment for addiction through counseling and on and off-campus resources. Look on your university’s website or visit student support services to access help.Teletherapy is also a reasonable program for college students who don’t have transportation from campus or have busy academic schedules. Teletherapy can help with comorbid mental health issues, too. Outpatient treatment, like teletherapy, also offers flexible scheduling options so you can attend later in the day or on weekends.Inpatient therapy is necessary in many cases for individuals to detox. In cases when treatment interferes with your class schedule, check in your student handbook for how you can address rehab with your professors and the options you have. You may find taking a semester off or taking online classes is the best option.The important thing is to avoid putting your recovery on hold. You can always return to school after a short hiatus. Letting an addiction continue untreated could be dangerous and contribute to serious long-term consequences. If a break is necessary, you’ll find that you’re much more equipped to handle academics and college life anyway.
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