When kids go off to college, they are probably on their own for the first time in their lives. It’s their responsibility to make sound and careful decisions for themselves, but the new freedom of college is often too exciting to overlook. With the lack of rules and supervision, college kids discover new opportunities to experience new things, including alcohol and drugs. Unfortunately, for some college students, substance abuse and addiction follow.
College and Substance Use Disorder
Experimentation is very normal away at school, but many college students repeatedly use illicit drugs or abuse alcohol, and the rate of substance abuse in this age group has grown increasingly in recent years. College students are trying to adjust to a new and independent everyday life. Many students turn to substances to help them as they adapt in the following ways:
- Peer pressure. Everyone wants to fit in and be part of a group. This is strongest amongst males.
- Partying. Drinking and getting high are popular in social situations and students typically drink to relax up or feel confident.
- Fraternities and sororities. Those who pledge to join “Greek life” are at a higher risk of binge drinking and substance abuse.
- School stress. Anxiety about college performance can push a student to use study drugs to help them be successful. Poor college performance can be both a reason and an outcome of substance abuse.
The Most Commonly Abused Drugs in College
Most college students recreate with drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, LSD, Adderall, cocaine, painkillers, and opioids. However, what’s more alarming than the substance being abused, is why it’s being abused. It is tricky for some kids to cope with the negative feelings during the time of transition from high school to college. And for those who have a family history of addiction, college is a time when their own genes and probability of developing an addiction is tested, often with negative consequences.
Alcohol and drug use in college students has been closely linked to mental health conditions. Substance use disorder and mental health disorders are typically entangled, with one leading the other. Drugs and booze are frequently used to self-medicate and ease the symptoms of a co-occurring disorder, many of which are suffered by college kids learning to manage their life on their own for the first time.
Alcohol Abuse in College
Alcohol misuse can take different forms in college, and binge drinking is one of them. Binge drinking (or power drinking) is characterized as excessive drinking over a quick period with the objective to get drunk. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism discovered that heavy drinking is most popular within the first two months of the freshman year. Millions of college students embrace their new, unsupervised environment and consistently drink too much. They are at an elevated risk for an alcohol overdose. This kind of abuse lays the foundation for alcoholism.
About the Author
Matthew Koenig is the principal of Last Call Marketing, which devotes their efforts to Digital Marketing, Content Marketing, Website Design and SEO, primarily in healthcare and tourism concerns. Mr. Koenig is based out of South Florida. His sober date is June 10, 2013.