Who Is Impacted by Addiction: College Students

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 07/2/2021

Reading Time: 3 minutes

College students are yet another group of individuals who are disproportionately affected by substance abuse and addiction. Treatment is often necessary for those who become addicted to drugs, especially for those in their early adult years.

How Are College Students Impacted By Addiction?

Substance abuse among college students is, in many ways, becoming more and more of a problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “Daily marijuana use among college-aged young adults is at its highest since 1980, surpassing daily cigarette smoking for the first time in 2014.” In addition, the misuse of prescription stimulants has reached an all-time high in recent years, and the abuse of cocaine was actually on the rise in 2014 (NIDA).

The issue of substance abuse is a serious one affecting many college students and those in this particular age bracket. There are a number of reasons for this issue:

  • College students often turn to prescription stimulant abuse in order to perform better in school, to stay up later to work on projects or study, etc. Unfortunately, though, according to the NIDA, “Research has shown that students who abuse prescription stimulants actually have lower GPAS in high school and college than those who don’t.”
    • Stimulants are also abused by many college students hoping to become more social at parties, lose weight, or experience a cheap high.
  • Many college-aged individuals do not realize that abusing prescription drugs can be just as dangerous as taking illicit substances. This kind of misuse can also lead to illicit drug abuse, as prescription stimulant addiction has likely led to the use of cocaine in many people in this group.
  • Marijuana is also widely abused among college students. Many individuals in this age group do not realize the dangers of this particular type of substance abuse because they do not realize that marijuana can be addictive.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms that a College Student Is Using Drugs?

If your child or friend is a college student and starts to exhibit strange behavior you don’t recognize, there is a strong chance that they may be abusing drugs. Secretive behavior, hostility toward those who ask about substance abuse, and a decreased interest in activities that once mattered to them are all strong indicators of substance abuse. The individual may also

  • Exhibit extreme mood swings or be energetic one minute and exhausted the next
  • Show a downturn in their performance and grades
  • Not want to tell you where they’ve been, where they’re going, etc.
  • Show uncharacteristic signs of violence

When Should I Seek Help?

It is important to seek help if you believe something may be wrong. It can be beneficial to try to discuss the issue with your loved one and to see if they might be open to seeking treatment voluntarily. However, if they are hostile or not receptive to this idea, it is even more crucial that you find them help.

If you have been abusing drugs yourself as a college student, it is important to look at your life and how your substance use has affected you. Have you noticed severe negative effects associated with your drug abuse? Is it cutting you off from activities you used to love or your friends and family? If so, it is time to seek treatment.

What Treatment Options Exist for This Group?

Many individuals can find help on college campuses for just this issue. But there is a chance that you may also require more intensive treatment, such as the kind that can be found in a rehab center. Either way, behavioral therapies are some of the most effective treatment options for college student who are also struggling with addiction. These programs can help patients learn to view their substance abuse in a healthier way and to understand why they started using in the first place, which can help to minimize one’s chances of relapse.

Start Your Recovery Today

Addiction can be devastating to a person who is just starting out in the world. As a result, it is important to seek help if you are a college student struggling with substance abuse because this option can help you to start living a healthier, happier life again.