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College is a time for experimentation for many young people.
Whether that is with their sexuality or with substances, both of these can be risky situations.
Binge drinking, prescription drug abuse, and recreational drug use are extremely common on college campuses across the world.
The reason that many students develop a substance abuse problem in college is that it seems like a method of coping with the stress of college.
There are ways to do this without turning to drugs or alcohol, but this can be difficult to teach to young adults.
Some college students are hesitant to get help for a drug or alcohol problem because they don’t think they have an addiction.
Sometimes the pressure to stay in school can also prevent them from getting help.
On top of that, societal pressures from their friends may continue to promote binge drinking and casual drugs as a “non-problem”.
Overall it is important to get addiction treatment to those who need it, especially while still in college.
College Students and Abuse
College students are typically from ages 18 to 24, and makeup one of the largest groups of drug abusers nationwide. Because young people are already at a heightened risk of addiction, this is dangerous for lifetime use.
What is even worse is that students who are enrolled full time are twice as likely to become drug abusers.
It shouldn’t be like this, because starting out in college should be exciting rather than something that produces social anxiety for many students.
The temptation to drink is always strong because college students are able to obtain alcohol even when underage.
Overall, many students immediately start binge drinking and doing drugs, but doing this often can lead to addiction.
Why College Students Turn to Drugs
The high rates of drug abuse among college students can be attributed to many factors.
- Stress: It makes sense that students have tons of work. They might also have part-time jobs, internships, social obligations, and more. Because of this, many turn to drugs as a way to cope.
- Course load: With huge amounts of work on their plates, more students are looking into taking stimulants, such as Adderall, to help them stay awake. Whether this is for studying, to complete assignments by their due dates, or even to be able to party after studying, most often these prescription drugs are obtained without a prescription.
- Curiosity: College is the first to be away from home for many. They are exploring many new aspects of their lives. It is common that in self-exploration drug experimentation occurs.
- Peer pressure: Being surrounded by others who are pressuring you to experiment with them pushes other students to do so as well.
Drugs Found in College
Although trends change over time, there are a few substances that are consistently abused.
- Alcohol: This should not be a surprise, because alcohol makes up the vast majority of substance-related problems on college campuses. Drinking, and even binge drinking is socially acceptable, so seeing a problem in students is difficult.
- Adderall: Often used as a drug to study, college students often use this drug in order to meet their tough academic requirements.
- Marijuana: Because this drug is incredibly popular and becoming legal, more college students use this drug than ever.
- Ecstasy: Known in many forms such as MDMA or molly, college students use this drug to escape the world and party. MDMA is very common at raves and concerts near college campuses.
The first step for many people in recovery is to go through detox. It is not always necessary, but if a college student is severely addicted, then they may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms when they have no substances in their body. Once again, this is specifically for serious addictions, and in these cases a medical detox can prevent many of these symptoms. Detox from alcohol and benzodiazepines can be dangerous, but going through the process with addiction professionals can keep you safe.
Some drugs require a detox more often than others:
- Alcohol: Many college students abuse alcohol because it is readily available and socially acceptable. Alcohol can take up to a week to detox from your system in severe cases. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms include fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and can actually be deadly. That is why severe cases need medical detox.
- Adderall: Most college students do not know how dangerous Adderall can be. It is a serious stimulant and can cause insomnia, or fever when detoxing.
- Ecstasy: Although thought of to be non-habit forming, ecstasy is addictive and can be very bad for your health. College students who go through an ecstasy withdrawal may go through insomnia, depression, and mood swings. This is because the brain is attempting to regulate without the drug.
- Benzodiazepines: Although Valium and Xanax are often prescribed, they are some of the most dangerous drugs to stop without a medical detox or taper down. If you have anxiety you must be aware that benzodiazepines and the withdrawal symptoms can cause death, hallucinations, and even seizures.
Immediate Placement in Rehab
Mental health counseling can help psychological behavioral issues that lead to addiction in college. Typically college counselors should be there for you if you are dealing with symptoms such as these, and recommend treatment other than drugs. Co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnosis, are when you suffer from a mental health issue at the same time as a substance abuse problem. Common co-occurring disorders that college students face include:
- Eating disorders
- Bipolar disorder
Inpatient vs. Outpatient Rehab
Some addicted college students need help when it comes to getting sober. There are both inpatient and outpatient treatment centers. Inpatient programs are perfect during summertime, while outpatient can help college students without interfering with classes.
Inpatient treatment centers offer an environment that is free from on-campus temptations. Many college students that are in rehab often improve their grades and are able to come out on the other side.
An outpatient rehab is an option for college students who want to continue classes at the same as their treatment. Outpatient centers provide withdrawal medication and counseling, along with the treatment that will not interfere with your schedule.
Paying for Treatment
Many college students may not feel that they have the means to pay for treatment. This is because most college students do not work, and are often on a budget. If you think you need help, then you can typically go to your college counselor. There are often programs to help you pay. Additionally, many colleges and universities offer free counseling or mental health resources on campuses.
It is rare that college students are able to admit they have a program with substance abuse.
If you are able to do so, then it is very big of you and a step in the right direction.
If you have ever considered that you have a problem, then you most likely need treatment.
At Resurgence Behavioral Health we can help you.
Not only do we offer free insurance verification for treatment, but we have the resources to help you stay in school and finish without compromising your sobriety.
It is more likely you will fail out of school as an alcoholic or drug addict than take time to get clean and sober in a facility.
Contact us today.