As most students will confirm, making it through college is not a walk in the park with an endless amount of assignments, living independently, and learning how to cope with all the struggles. In addition to anxiety and depression, substance abuse and alcohol addiction represent a serious issue. According to statistics, 70% have tried alcohol by reaching their senior high school year, while 50% had trouble with illicit drugs. A reason for such a situation lies in socio-cultural factors that force individuals to believe that substance abuse will help them to fit within social circles and boost their energy levels.
Why Drug and Alcohol Addiction Represents a Problem
Besides obvious reasons related to mental and physical harm, there are also social factors that make up a negative culture of college life and represent substance abuse as something easily accessible and helpful. It is a common mistake believing that drug addiction is only typical for depressed students, which is very far from the truth. In reality, most drug and alcohol addiction issues start with a student trying to get rid of tiredness and anxiety with the help of a seemingly harmless pill. Although it does provide immediate energy boost and clarity, drawbacks come at a later stage when typical drug addiction symptoms come to surface. The same relates to alcohol, which is often used as a way to decrease stress levels and overcome negative emotions. Even if there are moderate amounts during college parties, it still represents a serious problem.
Another major issue is a mental factor, which affects the way addicted students behave, make decisions, study, communicate with others, control their impulses, and understand the dangers. As stated by Clinical EEG and Neuroscience medical research, changes in still-developing brains may have a long-lasting effect and bring significant damage even in case of mild substances.
How to Help Students with Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Regardless of whether you are yourself a student trying to cope with an addiction or have a friend going through such a challenge, it is crucial to understand that it is impossible to battle this problem alone. There’re things to remember when dealing with people in recovery.
- Refer to School-based Drug Prevention Program. It is important to search for professional help as soon as possible at special help centers that grant sufficient anonymity. There are trained psychologists, educators, and healthcare specialists who will choose the best solution and will explain all possible recovery routes.
- Keep an open mind and talk. Without an understanding that there’s a problem, there won’t be a solution. Be honest about what you think the problem is, and make sure you ask for their opinion. Talk about the negative effects of addiction and about things they care about like getting through college or their loved ones who may suffer because of their addiction.
- Be positive and let them know you’re there to help. Try to focus on positive goals that don’t include drugs. Support and acknowledge their effort and don’t abandon them when they slip up – it usually takes time to turn things around.
Resources for Drug and Alcohol Addicted Students
Those concerned about privacy or need more practical information regarding resources for students battling a drug and alcohol addiction can refer to one or several of the following resources:
A good part about these forums is that they deal with anxiety and depression which are the most damaging factors that lead to substance abuse. Running with the participation of professional healthcare specialists, it is a good resource to ask a question and find detailed information.
Another working tool for peer-to-peer online support that takes care of confidentiality and lets you talk to other students who have similar problems.
Amazing resource where you can read about those college students who are still recovering or have already gone through a recovery treatment program.
Another source that recreates a typical campus environment while delivering treatment services and explains how to deal with all the challenges while you are recovering. The site offers great options like sports, volunteering, or even creative projects you can join.
This source is designed by the National Institute on Drug Abuse and provides survey data on drug use in the United States within college-age groups. You can also look into to learn more about career opportunities in Addiction Science and Addiction Study Programs.
Developed by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), this one-stop resource comes up with comprehensive information on harmful drinking among college students with online tools for parents, students, and more.
The mission of this source is not only to share the facts about alcohol and other drugs to students and professionals but to bring the tools and knowledge needed to prevent substance misuse on campuses.
A non-federal resource representing collegiate recovery programs (CRPs) and collegiate recovery communities (CRCs). This network of professionals explains the steps of an average addiction treatment plan, helps to create a life-long focus on recovery, and provides community connection needed.
Another non-federal source, a coalition of higher education associations and organizations that seeks to eradicate the abuse of legal and illegal drugs and other substances by college students. Its goal is to inspire students to review their lifestyle and help them avoid wrong choices.
It is important to connect with the ones who understand you well. Join one of the local communities as you go through the healing process. On this website provides readers can learn about the risks of various substances, the latest approaches to treatment, and real stories of recovery.
Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Recovery Process
While there is no universal recovery process formula for any college student with an addiction due to diverse mental processes and substance types, there are still a few stages involved:
- Discussing your situation with a recovery specialist to identify the case and seek immediate resources relevant to each particular abuse case.
- Recovery plan creation that involves special activities, medical help, and the college curriculum adjustment.
- Finding a personal place, joining a transitional living, or a roommate referral program to provide you with 24/7 support during the first weeks.
- Joining counselling meetings and special campus activities.
- Peer support activities and psychologist meetings.
Tips for Avoiding Alcohol in College
The best strategy would be joining a recovery housing for the entire length of treatment, though to make such a commitment is not always possible. There may be risks involved, such as bars nearby or frequent college parties. If living in a “sober” residence seems unreal, the best suggestion would be joining a local peer support program.
You might want to consider applying to a school that is part of the Association for Recovery in Higher Education (ARHE).
It’s worth researching available collegiate recovery communities (CRC) as well to see all the recovery activities and support they offer. Seeking out sober activities like a part-time job, art groups, or a gymnasium may become a great alternative to parties. A sense of belonging somewhere makes us motivated to work hard and recover. It is also important to maintain a healthy lifestyle, exercise regularly and drink plenty of water.
Scholarships for Students with Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Just when you think that no one understands all the challenges of making it through the college assignments while being a student battling addiction and trying to heal, there are special scholarships that offer their help and acknowledgment. Even though very few people choose a wrong path of substance abuse intentionally, no one is immune to addiction, which is why going through recovery and winning the battle is quite an achievement that is worth admiration and recognition. Take a moment to study these scholarships to choose the program that fits your academic situation best:
Addiction Awareness Scholarship - share your substance recovery story and win a $10,000 award scholarship to support your education and the housing. Just share your vision and help others.
RCA Hope for Addiction - if you are interested in helping others who have an addiction or making a valuable contribution, this is your chance to join a rewarding program that makes a positive change.
Peterson’s Social Media Story - if you know Facebook or LinkedIn well, join the opportunity to share your drug or alcohol addiction story on social media or tell about your friend or a family member.
SAMHSA Grant Funding for Substance Abuse & Mental Health Recovery Students - a flexible student help program that will study your particular situation and offer a scholarship based on your immediate college needs. It also includes a future employment referral program and peer support groups.
Making the Right Choice
Seeking immediate help when facing woes of alcohol or drug addiction or seeking to help your college friend is always difficult, yet it is important to act timely because professional help is always there. Do not be afraid of making your first step towards recovery since walking makes the road complete. Seek help now and you will always overcome it! No matter how challenging our life path may be, there is always a chance to make the right choice and take control of our future.