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Addiction & Mental Health Treatment for College Students

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Addiction and Mental Health treatment for College Students

Students today are under incredible pressure to succeed. Between full class loads, cramming for exams, and anxiety about college debt, it’s a stressful time.

Away from the watchful eye of their parents, many students experiment with drugs or binge drink for the first time in college. The statistics back up this claim. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA):

“On an average day, 2,179 full-time college students drank alcohol for the first time, and 1,326 used an illicit drug for the first time.”

Party culture is alive and well at most universities and colleges today. Students are at high risk of abusing substances at school, a problem compounded by social anxiety and the stress of college life.


Drug Abuse in College

Certain drugs are especially common on college campuses, including:

  • Alcohol: Still the most widely abused substance by college kids, alcohol is hard to avoid, especially for those who live on campus. Sorority and fraternity culture glorify binge drinking, and alcohol is a central feature of most college parties.
  • Adderall: A stimulant meant to treat attention disorders, Adderall is common on college campuses. Kids often use it as a study aid to stay up all night cramming for exams. It’s easy to become addicted without realizing it. Warning signs include needing more to get the same effect, and withdrawal symptoms can include headache, upset stomach, dry mouth, restlessness and reduced appetite.
  • Benzodiazepines: Designed to treat anxiety, benzodiazepines (benzos) include Valium and Xanax. Benzodiazepines are one of the commonly abused drugs on college campuses. They’re addictive and easy to abuse. Overuse can cause hallucinations and even seizures.                                  
  • Ecstasy: Another common party drug, ecstasy (“molly” or MDMA) is known as the “love drug” because it causes a surge of the bonding hormone oxytocin. Researchers aren’t sure whether ecstasy is addictive, but they do know it affects the same neurotransmitter systems in the brain that other addictive drugs target. They also know that regular MDMA use can cause addiction-like behavior, such as increased impulsivity.


Substance Abuse vs. Addiction

The terms substance abuse and addiction are often used interchangeably, but they’re not the same. Substance abuse is behavioral and refers to continued use/overuse of a substance. Addiction refers to a state of physical dependence on a drug.

You can abuse a substance without being addicted or be addicted to a substance without intentionally abusing it (as with certain prescribed drugs).

Signs of addiction can be both physical and behavioral. Needing more of the drug to have the same effect, changes in behavior or personality, mood swings, depression, irritability, and withdrawal from friends and family are all signs of addiction.


Addiction and Mental Health Treatment for College Students

Drug and alcohol abuse among college students is common. Students face peer pressure, party culture, and stress at school. Having anxiety, depression or another mental health issue increase a student’s risk of abusing drugs and alcohol.

If you’re a college student or have a loved one in college who’s struggling with addiction, it’s time to get help.

BriteLife Recovery offers a range of specialized alcohol and drug rehab programs for college students. Our outpatient programs are ideal for students who aren’t physically dependent on drugs or alcohol but who need help quitting. Our inpatient programs are designed for students who need medically assisted detoxification followed by intensive on-site care.

If you or someone you know is a student suffering with a drug or alcohol addiction, please reach out to our support team at 201.464.4040. Our addiction specialists are available to provide confidential help 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

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