It is common for college students to be reluctant to seek help when they suffer from a drug or alcohol problem. Many young people are under the mistaken assumption that they are simply too young to have an addiction. Others simply are so caught up in their school pressures that they consider it best to delay treating their substance abuse problems. They may worry that if they seek help for their substance use disorder, it may interfere with their school work, social life, or work.
Another common misconception is that addictions can be managed without outside help at all. Young people are often told by their peers, and even sometimes by older adults, that they simply need to work harder to exert self-control. The reality, however, is that addictions cannot be controlled through sheer will power.
Once a person has developed a drug or alcohol use disorder, they lose the ability to manage their substance use. They may sometimes be able to quit for short periods of time, but this period of time is generally followed by a relapse. Without outside help, most addictions get worse over time.
A large body of research demonstrates that young people who get help for their addictions early have better chances of remaining sober in the long term. It is important to recognize that seeking help for an addiction is not going to interfere in a college student’s life, academic goals, or social life. In fact, ending dangerous and disruptive patterns of substance abuse is likely to improve just about every aspect of their life.
At many college campuses, substance abuse is normalized and even expected. In fact, many colleges are famous precisely because of the high quantities of alcohol consumed there. Films and television shows often perpetuate stereotypes about drinking in college that lead young people to believe that they must drink in college.
Peer pressure, student organizations like fraternities and sororities, and even just the everyday academic pressures can drive college students to drink alcohol in excess. The majority of drinking that young people do in college can be characterized as binge drinking. Even if it’s expected, does not mean that it’s healthy!
Young people on college campuses abuse other substances alongside alcohol. These marijuana, prescription opioids, and cocaine. One type of drug that is increasingly common among college students is prescription stimulants. Prescription stimulants, such as Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse, are typically prescribed to treat the symptoms of attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
However, college students facing enormous academic pressure are often tempted to use them for their cognitive and focus-enhancing effects. Many young people are under the mistaken impression that these drugs are safe simply because they are legal prescription drugs. However, becoming addicted to prescription stimulants is no safer than developing an addiction to cocaine, crack, or crystal meth. It doesn’t take long for these drugs to take over a person’s life. When these stimulants are combined with the depressant alcohol in the context of polysubstance abuse, students also face an increased risk of overdose.
Students often go to great lengths to disguise or hide their substance abuse. However, if their problem has begun to interfere with their lives, it is difficult to conceal all of the physical and behavioral signs of an addiction. Family members and close friends can usually notice a distinct change.
Common physical signs of a drinking or drug problem include:
The behavioral signs of a drug or alcohol use disorder can be difficult to distinguish from the common behaviors of college students. After all, young people can be intense! They may sleep in a lot or have sudden mood changes, even if they are stone cold sober! However, if you are noticing a variety of behavioral changes and feel concerned, your gut instinct is often correct. Common behavioral symptoms of substance abuse include:
Outpatient treatment programs are designed to offer addiction treatment while guaranteeing flexibility. Because outpatient rehabs do not require clients to reside on the premises of the treatment facility, they are the ideal treatment programs for individuals who are enrolled in college, have jobs, or have other commitments.
Outpatient treatment programs not only help young people develop a strong program for sobriety, they help young people rebuild and manage their lives. As such, they do not disrupt a person’s college career. In fact, outpatient treatment programs are designed to support people’s goals in the outside world as much as possible.
NuView Treatment Center, an outpatient rehab in Los Angeles, is well-suited to college students suffering from any manner of addiction. We treat all addiction severity levels by providing every level of care, including partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), outpatient programs (OPs), and aftercare planning.
College students seeking addiction treatment can expect to receive individualized treatment plans that utilize the latest evidence-based treatment modalities. At NuView Treatment Center, our goal is not only to help young people get sober, but to ensure they have the social support system, tools, and life skills to lead lives that are happy, prosperous, and free.
You don’t have to do it alone. If you are ready to exit the vicious cycle of substance abuse, reach out to NuView Treatment Center today.