The movies aren’t a total lie: College is obviously a time when many students experiment with drugs and alcohol. If you’re in college, you might start using to escape the stress of school. Or, you might pick it up to fit in with your new friends, or to deal with social anxiety. Unfortunately, this simple “partying” can be the start of a crippling addiction – one that could derail your education and your entire life. For some, the spiral spins out quickly, and those college students enter rehab or detox. Why?
In an environment where binge drinking and drug use is common, it’s often hard for those who may need to seek treatment the most to admit they have a problem. In fact, one study found that less than four percent of college kids who had substance abuse issues actually realized they needed help to quit drinking or doing drugs.
Compounding the issue, college-age adults often suffer co-occurring disorders with their substance use problems. Some examples include anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder and eating disorders.
Unsurprisingly, the substance college students tend to abuse most is alcohol. It’s also one of the toughest substances to detox from the system. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms, such as vomiting and nausea, can last for as long as a week. It’s also super dangerous to attempt alone. Detoxing from alcohol without medical support can lead to heart attack, coma, or even death.
Both inpatient and outpatient rehab can be viable options for college students, depending on the severity of the addiction. Outpatient treatment allows the student to withdraw from alcohol and receive counseling while maintaining their normal schedule.
In more extreme instances, inpatient treatment may be a better option since the student won’t face the temptations of using and risk of relapse they would if going about their usual day-to-day routine in a familiar environment.
In both cases, the good news is that researchers have found that the earlier a person receives treatment for an addiction, the more likely it is they’ll successfully maintain a sober lifestyle for the long term.
Or, if you’re not sure whether it’s time to quit, try our 10-question quiz HERE.