Drinking, Drug Abuse, and Greek Life
Greek Life and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse occurs when anyone takes drugs illegally or in doses more frequently or larger than prescribed. Substance abuse can also occur when the use of alcohol or other legal substances such as caffeine or nicotine interferes in daily life. Many people do not know how to differentiate between substance abuse and addiction.
The main difference is that substance abuse is not always an addiction, but addiction is always substance abuse. Substance abuse is an unhealthy behavior, but addiction is a disease that cannot be controlled. This means that even if you want to stop because your addiction is causing you legal trouble of physical or emotional harm, you cannot do so.
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Commonly Abused Drugs
There are many different forms of drugs that are used by those in Greek life and college. All of these forms of substance abuse change how your body and mind work. Although the use of these substances may give you a “high” or make you feel less stressed for the moment, many are illegal and quite dangerous, with negative long-term effects.
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Although alcohol affects everyone differently, it is a commonly abused substance for those in college and students involved in Greek life. And in the United States, alcohol is legal for students aged 21 and older.
Regardless of alcohol’s legality, alcohol use can lead to a substance abuse problem and addiction. Excessive drinking causes other health problems as well.
The threshold for alcohol substance abuse can be measured based on gender:
- Men: Four or more drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks in one week.
- Women: Three or more drinks in one day, or more than seven drinks in one week.
The definition of one drink differs based on the type of alcohol consumed. One drink is roughly equal to:
- 12 ounces of regular beer
- 8-9 ounces of malt liquor
- 5 ounces of wine
- 1.5 ounces of spirits, such as vodka or whiskey
Prescription and Over-the-Counter Medicine
Even though prescription and over-the-counter medications (OTC) are legal, these substances can be as addictive and dangerous as illegal drugs.
Substance abuse of OTC or prescription drugs includes:
- Taking medication prescribed for someone else.
- Taking more of your medicine than was prescribed.
- Taking a drug in any other way than how it was prescribed.
- Taking a prescription drug recreationally.
The most commonly abused prescription drugs include opioids, medication for ADHD, medication for anxiety, and sleep medication. Additionally, cough and cold medicines are often abused due to the ingredient dextromethorphan.
Heroin is an illegal drug that is made with the same original ingredient as prescription opioid narcotics. Heroin gives an intense high at first that also slows brain function. Additionally, heroin use can result in withdrawal symptoms even after only one use. These symptoms include chills, anxiety, and intense cravings for the drug.
A popular party drug, cocaine speeds up your body, brain, and world. Cocaine may make you feel full of energy, only to result in a crash later on. Additionally, your mood can easily change to anger or even paranoia when using this drug. Cocaine can easily lead to long-term dependence and abuse.
Chewable tobacco, cigarettes, and vape products are legal for anyone over 18 and are often not thought of as drugs. Tobacco contains nicotine which will give the user a rush when using. However, this effect wears off quickly, and tobacco use is proven to raise risks of cancer and other diseases. Tobacco users can develop a substance abuse problem very quickly.
Signs of a Substance Abuse Problem
When you first begin using a substance, whether it is alcohol, marijuana or another drug, you may see your use as recreational or a “one time only” event. But substance abuse is not always recognized, and addictions frequently develop. Over time, you will develop tolerance, which means you require more of a drug to obtain the same effect that you used to feel.
Signs you may have a substance abuse problem include:
- Losing interest in things you once loved
- Changing your friends based on the substance
- Forgetting to take care of yourself
- Spending more time alone than with friends and family
- Changing your eating habits
- Sleeping at odd hours, too much, or too little
- Experiencing problems at work or school
- Experiencing mood swings
- Feeling cravings for the substance
Substance Abuse in College
Greek Life drinking statistics are high due to a variety of factors. Other substance abuse problems can occur as well, for four main reasons:
- Stress: You may have a lot of work, a part-time job, and the need to balance your social schedule with your studies when you are in college. You may turn to drinking and drugs as a way to cope with these challenges.
- Too much work: Many students use stimulants or sleeping aids in order to stay awake to study and then sleep after cramming. Typically these drugs that are used are obtained without a prescription and used illegally.
- Experimentation: In college, there are many new experiences and opportunities. Personal exploration and experimentation are the norms. It is very common for students to experiment with different drugs, regardless of legality.
- Peer pressure: You may be surrounded by other individuals experimenting with drugs and alcohol, and you might feel pressured to do so as well.
Substance Abuse and Mental Illness
When an individual suffers from a mental illness along with a substance abuse disorder, it is called a dual diagnosis. Addressing both substance abuse as well as a mental illness in treatment has proven extremely effective. Without addressing mental issues as well as your substance abuse, you will not be able to conquer either of your problems.
Treatment For Substance Abuse
There are many different forms of treatment for substance abuse, but the three main forms of treatment are detox, inpatient treatment, and outpatient treatment. During medical detox, you will get rid of all the harmful substances in your body and manage withdrawal symptoms under medical supervision. Inpatient treatment is typically helpful in moderate to extreme cases of addiction and will include or follow a medical detox.
Outpatient programs allow you to live your daily life and maintain a typical schedule while undergoing treatment. Typically this is reserved for those with a mild to a moderate substance use disorder. You may go to treatment three to five times per week for around two to three hours each session.
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Choose The Right Treatment For You
Substance abuse affects every aspect of your life, but there are many treatments available to help you gain your life back. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we offer free insurance verification for treatment so that you can get started right away.
With many different treatment options for all levels of substance abuse and addiction, we will work with you to make the plan that works best for you. Contact Resurgence for more information. Get help today.