Young adults tend to begin a pattern of substance use while they are in college. It is a period of time when they are away from their family and surrounded by their peers, many of whom have reached the legal drinking age. There may be many reasons why young adults in college drink or experiment with drugs but often it can become problematic for their mental and physical health as they struggle to make it through school.
College drug and alcohol abuse can be a very serious problem on many campuses throughout the U.S. Students tend to have more open attitudes about drug abuse because of the culture of partying and experimentation while in college. Unfortunately, many students can develop addictions which can continue even after they graduate and will jeopardize their success in the future.
Studies have shown that 37 percent of college students have used an illicit drug and abused alcohol on a regular basis. Even though drinking and using drugs may seem normal for young adults, it can escalate over time and lead to serious consequences.
Vulnerability and Triggers in College
There are many factors working against sobriety when a person going to college. They are often dealing with a lot of stress and pressure to succeed academically. They usually have busy schedules and difficult classes that can cause feelings of anxiety and depression.
People in college are also in an environment where drinking and using drugs is the norm. Students may use drinking and partying as a way to socialize, connect and burn off stress. With the new personal freedom that many college students experience it can also be a chance for them to rebel or let loose from the expectations of their parents and families.
With all of these factors involved, it can be difficult for college students to resist the temptation to drink heavily and use drugs on a regular basis. They may feel compelled to fit in with their peers or they may be dealing with stress and even mental health issues that drive them to abuse substances.
Student Drug Abuse and the Dangers Involved
The most common drugs abused among college students are substances like alcohol, marijuana and stimulants like ritalin and adderall. However, many students also get involved with more illicit drugs like cocaine and hallucinogens. They may use marijuana and alcohol to cope with stress, stimulants to help them stay awake and study or hallucinogens to go through new experiences.
Marijuana abuse can have a profound impact on a student’s ability to make academic progress and stay focused on all their responsibilities. The percentage of college students who abuse marijuana continues to increase over the years and it is the most widely used drug on campuses in the U.S. Marijuana abuse can lead to short term memory problems, impaired motor skills, reduced decision making,
Stimulant abuse is a major problem for students in college as they often turn to substances like adderall to help them get through difficult exams or papers. Many don’t realize that even these prescription drugs can be highly addictive. College students who get involved with the use of stimulants can develop addictions and continue to use them to cope with stress in the workplace as they get older.
One of the biggest issues in college is alcohol abuse which comes with many inherent risks and problems. Those who abuse alcohol are putting themselves at risk for physical harm due to loss of control and decreased inhibitions. Alcohol abuse in college can lead to violence, injury and other physical and mental problems.
Getting Help in College
It can be hard for college students to admit that they need help with their substance abuse issues. Partying and abusing drugs is a normal part of the environment in college and it can be difficult for students to see that they are hurting themselves. Acknowledging that they have a problem can take a lot of courage, especially when everyone around them is using substances on a regular basis.
The stigma surrounding sobriety can be significant for people in college. Others may view being sober as boring or uncool. Students may need to quit their substance abuse however, if it is interfering with their studies or their mental and physical health.
It is important to reach out for help when a college student is struggling with addiction. Finding a counselor on campus can be a good first step to talking about what you are going through and maybe being referred to a treatment program for recovery.
Many college campuses offer support for students who need to quit an addiction or are struggling to be sober. Finding group meetings or a sponsor can help make the process of recovery easier in the college environment.