Students Seeking Help: Addiction in College Students

Students Seeking Help: Addiction in College Students

College can be a great experience. For many, this is a time of growth, learning, and evolving into the adult you are going to become. It is a time for making new friends, new hobbies, and trying new things. College serves as a transitional period, if you will, between young adulthood and a more mature version of you.

Unfortunately, for many, college can involve experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. As you are exposed to new people, places, and situations, you can be tempted to try drugs or alcohol. Peer pressure can be very powerful, particularly for college-aged students. For some, substance use may remain recreational or occasional. For many, however, this can spiral out of control quickly and become a problem. With no ill intent, you can end up trying to balance college courses while battling drug or alcohol addiction.

How the Problem Starts

What causes college students to begin using drugs or drinking? Is it a rebellious streak itching to get out after years of living under your parents' roof? Maybe it begins with a harmless effort to fit in at a party or a moment of desperation after flunking an impossible exam. While reasons may vary, a few common causes could be new friend groups or influences, the stress of school itself, or the financial difficulties that often accompany this chapter of life.

New Influences

Attending college can be a huge adjustment. Many are just moving out of their parents' house and are experiencing their first taste of real independence. Now being surrounded by tons of new people and a new way of life, college students are eager to exercise their newfound freedom.

Often desperate to make new friends and feel a sense of belonging, college students can be easily influenced by those they hope to connect with. Parties are in full swing, and drugs and alcohol are almost always accessible.

School Stress

College can be very stressful. Coursework is harder, the workload is larger, and tests are more difficult. College professors are far less likely to be concerned about student success. This means, for the most part, college students are responsible for their own success or failure. This pressure can be overwhelming, causing many to engage in drinking or drug use in an attempt to relax.

Financial Struggles

Have you heard the phrase "broke college student?" There is often some truth to this. College students are typically unable to work full-time jobs, or not well-paying ones at least. While working to earn a degree, most college students work part-time jobs in service industries, retail, or other entry-level positions, usually earning just enough to scrape by.

Often, jobs are short-lived or inconsistent, leaving students struggling to make ends meet. A diet of ramen noodles and Pop Tarts becomes all too familiar. When combined with the stress of attending classes and actually passing them, financial stress can lead to substance use in an attempt to escape.

Challenges and Risks

Addiction in college students has increased significantly over the last decade. With substances becoming more accessible and more widely used, students who struggle with substance abuse are missing out on the college experience they could otherwise have.

Drug or alcohol use among college students is associated with various challenges. These can include lower grades, higher rates of unemployment during and after college, and an increased risk of sexual assault. Many battling addiction struggle with focus and do not get quality sleep. As a result, class attendance lessens and priorities shift.

College students are also more likely to continue to use substances and have their misuse reinforced by the prevalence and acceptance of drugs and alcohol in this setting. As stated by Justine W. Welsh, M.D., Yujia Shentu, M.S., and Dana B. Sarvey, M.D. in the psychiatry journal Focus, "One of the most significant challenges with addressing substance use on college campuses is related to its history of integration into the normative tradition and fabric of the college experience." Take Greek life, for example. Most sororities and fraternities incorporate alcohol, at least, into every event or activity. This makes substance abuse that much more likely for those involved in these groups.

Tips for Avoiding Substance Abuse

While avoiding exposure to alcohol or other substances during college can be difficult. There are a few things you can do to decrease your vulnerability. A few tips for avoiding substance use in college include:

  • Choosing friends who are positive influences
  • Staying focused on your goals
  • Budgeting
  • Practicing self-care
  • Developing healthy habits
  • Prioritizing wellness and nutrition
  • Hobbies

College is meant to be a positive, memorable time. Battling addiction while in college not only takes away from your experience but also results in less learning, less positive friendships, and less personal growth. Going to college is a privilege and is an opportunity to make the most of.

College students can be particularly vulnerable to substance use and addiction. They are often excited about their new level of independence and eager to try new things. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol have become increasingly prevalent on college campuses, making substances easily accessible to anyone interested. Addiction takes so much away from the college experience and can result in wasted time, money, and effort. If you are a student struggling with substance abuse, consider seeking help to avoid missing out on what could be some of the most important years of your life. Enlightened Solutions offers a variety of treatment programs and services with a holistic approach. Let us help you get back on track so you are able to re-assess your priorities and reach your goals. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Seeking Treatment in College: Can You Overcome Addiction Over Summer Break?

Seeking Treatment in College: Can You Overcome Addiction Over Summer Break?

There is an epidemic of substance use in colleges across the nation, and there are multiple related risk factors for students. Many students may not even be willing to address their substance use problem until it has reached a point that it is affecting multiple facets of their life. While dealing with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances may seem overwhelming, help is available. You can overcome your addiction by seeking support from those who care about you and looking into treatment. These summer months, when students are off from school, are an ideal time to enter treatment for substance use issues.

Substance use disorder (SUD) is a real problem on college campuses and requires treatment. Although there are sometimes campus options for limited treatment, a treatment setting off-campus might be ideal for maintaining full privacy. Remembering that you are not alone and that help is available is key to developing a healthy mindset and getting the help you need. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize that you need privacy in your treatment and want to help you achieve success in your academics, social life, and recovery.

4 Risk Factors for Substance Use Disorders

There are four risk factors for SUD found on college campuses and even in high school and lower grades. One must recognize that the risk for SUD is always there and that exposure to these risk factors can increase your likelihood of developing a SUD and make it difficult to battle and pursue recovery.

#1. Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is found in every college. It is not uncommon for universities to host parties with alcohol served. There is pressure to engage in the college scene and many college freshmen believe there are limited risks involved as they see so many other students engaging in drinking or using other substances. Students want to “fit in” with their peers, and avoiding situations where substances are used can be difficult for many students.

Standing up for oneself in college is one of the most difficult lessons to learn, and many students fear reprisal from their friends or classmates if they refuse substances.

#2. Involvement in Greek Life

“Members of fraternities and sororities have some of the highest rates of substance use on college campuses,” explains one study on substance use among college students. Not only is there an increased amount of peer pressure and academic pressure, but individuals involved in greek life are at greater risk of memory loss, sexual assault, and traumatic accidents as a result of substance use and misuse.

#3. Limited Understanding of Risks

For some college students, there is a limited understanding of the inherent dangers of substance use, and many students believe they can use intermittently without risk of developing tolerance (need for more and more of a substance to achieve the desired effect) or dependence. As a result, many students develop SUD and struggle with its effects long before they are aware of their problem.

#4. Perceived Academic Pressure

College is full of pressures, and peer pressure can be overwhelming, but another critical pressure is the need to succeed academically. Between parents and test scores, feeling a need to be the best in your classes can seem daunting, and you may have felt you needed substances to help you focus, calm down, or just ease your nerves. Now, you are struggling with SUD and don't know where to turn. You are not alone. Academic pressure is real and can be a cause for the development of SUD, but help is available.

Treatment Options

SUD is a serious illness that requires treatment as soon as possible to avoid lifelong consequences. Treatment can be a part of your campus experience, but in many cases, you may want the privacy of a treatment program separate from your college or university.

Enlightened Solutions offers treatment based on who you are as an individual and your specific needs. We offer holistic treatment and mentorship and focus on sustainability, not just in the treatment setting but after you leave our facility. We want to see you succeed in your recovery. We offer individual therapy to help meet your specific needs and develop goals appropriate to your success in school and life. We will help you learn how to balance your expectations at school and in your personal life so that you can avoid those “people, places, and things.” We know you can achieve anything you set your mind to and want to help you along your path.

Choose recovery today and learn how to make better decisions for what some refer to as the best years of your life. Seek recovery over summer break and return to school ready to achieve success.

Battling substance use disorder should not be the end of your college career. You need to know that you are not alone in your struggle. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or other substances, help is available. At Enlightened Solutions, we know how hard it is to balance school and social life without giving in to the pressures of your peers and the need for success in the classroom. We offer real solutions that will help you manage your responsibilities while maintaining privacy for your treatment. Reach out to us and learn how we can help you achieve recovery and return to school this fall with renewed purpose. Call Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE and learn how we can help you overcome SUD and live your best life. We are dedicated to your success in recovery.