Every day, heartbreaking stories emerge about young adults lost to drug addiction and drug overdose. Families are making their private tragedies public to educate others about the prevalence of substance use disorders in young adults, most often between the ages of 18 to 25. In fact, recent studies show that college-age young adults are the biggest abusers of opioid pain relievers, anti-anxiety medicine, and ADHD medication. There are a variety of factors that contribute to addiction in college students, some having to do with bodily chemistry at college age, others with the common demographic pressures and expectations.
Drug abuse, especially at an age where the brain and body are still developing, can pose serious health risks in both the long and short term. Finding the most suitable treatment for college students with drug or alcohol addictions can make all the difference in their lives. At Promises Behavioral Health, we strive to provide that level of care, both with our guided personal assessments and all of the faculties at our substance abuse treatment center. Contact us at 844.875.5609 to find out how we can help aid in recovery.
College Students and Addiction
College students are in a uniquely vulnerable spot for engaging in drug abuse, seeing as many who live on campus have access to a network of peers and parties that can provide illegal drugs. Opioids are the fastest-growing and hardest-hitting drug problem, but they are not the only route to addiction for college students. Marijuana use has also seen a considerable increase, as well as a variety of THC-infused substances.
Well aware of these situations, colleges have been taking action to curb exceptionally high drug use, including creating on-campus recovery programs and counseling.
7 Factors that Contribute to Addiction
How vulnerable is your child to drug or alcohol addiction?
Here are seven factors that can contribute to addiction in college students:
1. Family History
It’s common for people with addiction to have a family history of drug or alcohol problems. While not everyone who is predisposed to addiction follows that path, college students with parents and grandparents who have a substance abuse problem may have more of a predilection toward use. They may also be more vulnerable when stressed or under peer pressure.
2. Mental Health Concerns
Drugs and alcohol are frequently used to manage symptoms of mental illnesses such as bipolar disorder, depression, and anxiety. Sometimes these issues have yet to be diagnosed in young people. In other cases, young adults may be frightened by or unable to cope with their symptoms, or they may go off their medications.
3. Unresolved Trauma
Studies have shown that trauma can lead to self-destructive and addictive behaviors. It helps to use the analogy of a tornado. It starts like a small storm and, if not attended to or worked through, gets bigger and bigger until it grows into a tornado.
Research has shown that some people are more likely to have issues with alcohol based on their metabolism. While many chemical factors are involved with the breakdown and elimination of alcohol in the body, some individuals inherit enzymes that can make them more vulnerable to alcohol-related problems. This might explain why one student can drink more alcohol more frequently and not develop a problem while another student succumbs to addiction.
5. College Environment and Peer Influence
Students often come to big universities from smaller towns and have to figure out how to succeed academically and socially. Partying is a daily part of college life, and students’ social lives often revolve around drinking or using drugs.
6. Academic Pressure and Performance
College students may take drugs to keep up with schoolwork, improve focus or get better grades. They may take Adderall, a drug prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, to help cram for exams or stay up and write papers. Using Adderall and other illicit study drugs has become a trend on college campuses.
7. Failure to Thrive
Some students haven’t yet developed the life skills or emotional maturity to thrive in the college arena. This hampers their ability to make wise choices. College, for them, is a smorgasbord of temptations, and they end up following the lead of others and getting easily distracted. Without family there to support and guide them, they may not have the anchoring needed to resist drugs and alcohol.
Catching Up on Emotional Development at Promises Behavioral Health
Families must be aware of the factors that contribute to addiction in college students and take action to address it at the first sign of trouble. Young adults who abuse substances in college may drop out or struggle to launch into adulthood. The good news is that, with youth on their side, the future can be reclaimed with treatment. If addressed quickly, parents can help their children develop the skill set needed to forge their way in the world independently and responsibly. To ensure college is a place to advance and not disrupt your child’s growth, reach out to Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609 for more information.