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Colleges have often been associated with the prevalent use of drugs and alcohol, and where the substance abuse can be a serious problem. Young people will experience the freedom and independence of making decisions on their own for the first time as they live on campus many miles from home and unfortunately there can be danger in some of those decisions.
Counselors, parents, and guardians should consider how culture influences drug use has college students. College drinking culture may leave students more vulnerable to drug abuse.
College culture tends to influence drug abuse in the following ways:
- Exploration: Young adults are curious about exploring new aspects of their lives. Without proper guidance, students are more likely to fall into alcoholism and drug use.
- Peer Pressure: College students may be anxious about facing a new life and may seek the company of peers as a social safety net. Unfortunately, this may slowly lead the individual into a path of substance abuse and binge drinking if they are not following the proper crowd.
- Course Work Pressure: Students face a lot of pressure to succeed and ace their exams. The use of prescription drugs has become widespread as students try to ensure they complete their coursework. One study found that 35% of undergraduates had used amphetamines, primarily for academic reasons. This is in contrast to 20% of students who had used similar prescription drugs for recreational purposes.
- Stress: High expectations, course load, and adjustments to living situations can make students feel anxious, stressed and depressed. Research from Harvard Medical School carried out in more than 100 institutions shows that stress and depression are prevalent in colleges. The study also showed that one in five students experienced suicidal thoughts at least on one occasion in the previous year.
Strategies on addiction treatment for college students have a positive impact on the student’s course completion. Early intervention is particularly impactful in ensuring that college students complete their course. One study indicates that 77% of college students successfully completed a preparatory course compared to 68% of the control group.
Treatment for addiction can be categorized into two main groups, inpatient and outpatient. It is important to understand these two options when seeking addiction treatment for college students.
An inpatient rehabilitation program can be defined as a program that requires the patient to be checked into a facility for a specified duration of time. This duration will depend on certain factors such as the extent of the addiction and the type of substances abused. Typically, the duration is between 3 weeks and 3 months.
Pros for Inpatient Addiction Treatment for College Students:
- In inpatient care, the individual is cut off from external influences. This is advantageous for college students who may experience relapses due to peer pressure.
- Inpatient care is considered to be more intensive and therefore reduce chances of a relapse.
- Even though luxury rehabilitation is more expensive than other inpatient programs, it offers more amenities that enhance the comfort level of the patient undergoing addiction treatment.
- Inpatient programs utilize alternative therapies such as art, music, meditation, and adventure therapy. These therapies help to reduce stress and keep the patient’s mind occupied from distractions and effects of withdrawal.
Another option for individuals seeking addiction treatment for college students is outpatient rehabilitation. The patient attends the program, typically for a specified number of hours per week.
- The biggest advantage is flexibility. The program allows the patient to go on with their day-to-day activities, allowing college students to get treatment and still work on completing their course.
- Another advantage is that this option is often less costly than inpatient rehabilitation. This may prove to be a better option for students who already have student loans and have limited options when it comes to raising funds for their rehabilitation.
- Even though it is more affordable, credible programs incorporate evidence-based strategies that include group and one-on-one counseling, as well as CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and dual diagnosis.
There are several options suitable for individuals seeking addiction treatment for college students. Some of the programs include:
- Detox Centers: Individuals working towards recovery from substance and alcohol abuse require detoxification to remove the substances that are still within their system. Detox centers help to reduce the effects of withdrawal by implementing a suitable treatment protocol as well as round the clock monitoring by qualified professionals.
- Holistic Drug Rehabilitation: Seeks to address the mind, body and spirit in order to ensure better outcomes for people who have not been adequately served by traditional programs such as AA and NA. While traditional programs have been useful in treating addictions, there are many people who feel these programs have not been effective for them and therefore require a different approach.
- SMART Recovery: Is based on a modern approach that equips addicts with tools that they can use to make independent decisions about their recovery. It involves meetings both in person and online that may prove to be convenient for college students seeking rehabilitation.
- Dual Diagnosis: This form of therapy is considered to be an integral part of any rehabilitation program as it addresses both the substance abuse problem and any underlying mental health issue.
After addiction treatment, you need to take certain steps to get back on track academically:
- Define Your Goals: Before rehabilitation, alcohol and drug addiction may have taken over your life to the extent that you lost track of your goals. As you start a new chapter, take time to redefine your academic goals. This can help you get a better sense of what you need to prioritize so as that you can stay away from the drugs that had taken over your life.
- Find Positive Influence: You will be better off if you cut off the negative influences in your social circle that propelled you into addiction. Find new friends who share your dreams and similar goals to prevent you from losing focus as you work on your academics.
- Take Care of Your Body and Mind: Exercise, good nutrition, and adopting a positive outlook on life will reduce chances of distress. You also need to ensure you get a good night sleep to keep both your mind and body healthy.
- Relapse: It is important to understand that relapses are not uncommon and rehabilitation is a continuous process. Relapses can cause feelings of shame and regret which intensify distress. The most important thing is to ensure you get back on track after your relapse.
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