Overview of College Addiction Detox Guide
Addiction is a very enigmatic disease that we’ve only recently begun to understand. Before this age of information technology, the consensus of opinion was that substance abuse problems were actually excessive indulgence, a lack of self-control, and it was even assumed that they were godless; in short, they were viewed as bad people. This made them worthy of punishment, and sure enough they were typically sent to prisons and asylums to force them into sobriety.
We’ve come a long way since those days. Although there’s a pervading stigma that still paints addicts as being bad people, the disease model of addiction — which states that addiction is a chronic, progressive disease of the brain — portrays addicts as victims, resulting in a greater level of empathy. Additionally, there’s a renewed interest in detecting factors of susceptibility and prevention, and this has made it important to take a closer look at some of the key demographics of substance abusers. For now, we turn our attention to the college-aged crowd. Why do we associate college students with alcohol and drug abuse?
Which Substances are the Greatest Threat to College Students?
Over the years, there have been new substances to be created or revived in popularity, resulting in a spike in abuse and addiction rates. Synthetic and so-called designer drugs have become extremely popular among college students, which is one of the age groups that has a reputation for being more willing to abuse mind-altering substances. Drugs like ecstasy and MDMA have been extremely popular among college students in addition to the club and rave circuits. These are drugs that are extremely dangerous because they alter perceptions, raise the body temperature, cause visual hallucinations, obscure judgement, and inspire reckless behaviors.
Most commonly abused substances in college
However, the substance that’s the biggest problem among college student is, as one might expect, alcohol. Being a mind-altering substance that can be accessed readily and legally — at the appropriate age, of course — alcohol is extremely common on college campuses. The consensus is that its legal status causes young adults to underestimate alcohol, making them more likely to abuse it. As a result, each year there are 150,000 college students who develop mental and/or physical health problems, which directly result from their alcohol abuse.
There are other substances that college students often abuse as well. Marijuana remains an extremely common drug of abuse for college students; whereas only one in fifty college students used marijuana regularly during the 1990s, today one (or more) in twenty use marijuana regularly. And much like the rest of the U.S., opioids — specifically prescription painkillers and heroin — have become a much greater problem on college campuses at well. But college students have also shown an affinity for stimulant drugs like cocaine and Adderall, which is a medication for attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. Stimulant drugs are favored by college students for their ability to enhance their academic performance and increased concentration.
Is College-Age Addiction a Major Problem Today?
When it comes to alcohol and drug addiction, the disease affects virtually the entire demographic spectrum. Men and women of all ages, demographics, religions, sexual orientations, and socioeconomic backgrounds have been rendered powerless this chronic, progressive brain disease. However, there are certain age groups and demographics that are associated with substance abuse and addiction more often than others, one of which is the college-aged demographic.
There have been numerous studies and surveys to investigate the issue of alcohol and drug abuse among college students; the findings have been quite enlightening. According to the statistics, about 80 percent of those who are college-aged — equating to four in five college students — regularly drink alcohol and admit to at least one episode of recent alcohol abuse. Additionally, approximately half of all college students who regularly drink alcohol consume much of that alcohol through binge drinking. Moreover, there are nearly 100,000 college-aged victims of alcohol-related sexual assault and date rape each year; and approximately 600,000 unintentional injuries occur among college-aged men and women each year as a direct result of alcohol abuse. Expectedly, there are consequences to academic performance due to one’s alcohol consumptions; at least one in four college students report experiencing some type of adverse effect to their academics and a significant decline in their performance as a direct result of their alcohol consumption. When it comes to alcohol and drug abuse among college students, there are some very significant effects to many other aspects of their lives and some major implications for mental and physical health.
Why College Students Abuse Alcohol and Drugs
The reasons why college-aged individuals abuse mind-altering drugs vary based on the substance and the situation. For instance, alcohol is often referred to as the social lubricant because of how it helps people to interact with one another. Especially for people with social anxieties, alcohol can help them to relax and enjoy social situations. College students often equate alcohol with socialization and fun enhancement, meaning that they abuse alcohol during social situations not because they have social anxiety, but because they believe it will increase their enjoyment of the social interactions, perhaps by lowering their inhibitions.
Common Symptoms of Drug Abuse in College
- Decreased interest in classes and extracurricular activities
- Shifts in sleeping patterns and fluctuations of weight
- Unexplained changes in behavior or personality
- Drastic change in grades or academic performance
- Time spent around people who have a reputation of drug abuse
- Uncharacteristic mood swings, depression or irritability
Meanwhile, stimulants are used primarily as performance enhancers, particularly when it comes to academics. Although Adderall and other stimulants are meant for people with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, college students have found that taking Adderall improves their focus and concentration, generally making them more productive. This is particularly common among college students who abuse other mind-altering substance and, therefore, fall behind in their academics.
As for other substances, studies have recently begun showing a major rise in marijuana use. Part of the reason for the spike in marijuana is because there have been several states to have passed laws for medicinal marijuana; plus, there are even a couple states to have legalized marijuana for recreational use, resulting in many college students seeing marijuana in much the same way as they see alcohol. Being a substance that’s legal and can be legally purchased has resulted in far more college students using marijuana; in fact, it’s been found that marijuana use now outweighs alcohol abuse among college students in the U.S.
Is College-Age Addiction a Major Problem Today?
It’s important to be aware of the effect that alcohol and drug abuse and addiction are having on the college-aged demographic. The abuse of alcohol and drugs are causing deaths, sexual assaults, injuries, car crashes, significantly reduced academic performance, and many other effects, putting not only their college careers in jeopardy, but their very lives as well.
When it comes to detection, there are a number of specific signs that a college-aged individual may exhibit if developing or suffering from a substance abuse problem. For instance, their grades will drop significantly and it’s very likely that their school attendance will decrease as well. Substance abuse also leaves these individuals extremely vulnerable, making it much more likely that they’d be victimized in assaults or even in sexual attacks such as date rape. Moreover, habitual substance abuse — especially when it is combined with the notorious stress of a college course load — is known to cause a number of mental and emotional effects, many of which are manifested by behaviors.
Prevention is less straightforward than detection, but there are still ways it can be done. First, it would be a good idea to offer encouragement to college students in the form of a peer support group or even by offering some type of counseling through the university health center. The families of college students should be wary of the extremely high potential for substance abuse in college so that they can monitor whether the student is exhibiting uncharacteristic behaviors, but the individual’s friends and cohorts are in a much better position to monitor a person’s behavior. In the event that a college student’s curiosity and experimentation turns into addiction, he or she should know that there are many options available with regard to addiction treatment.
- According to statistics, approximate one in three — 31 percent — of all college students regularly abuse alcohol.
- It’s estimated that 110,000 college-aged individuals are arrested each year for offenses that involve alcohol such as driving under the influence and public intoxication.
- Over a twelve-year period, the number of college students who abuse prescription sedatives and tranquilizers, including benzodiazepines like Valium and Xanax, increased by 450 percent.