Drug and alcohol abuse are common but detrimental habits of some of the college going students, which is indeed a growing concern. Marijuana, binge drinking and chemical drugs are often consumed in certain college parties. Excessive substance abuse in universities and colleges is leading to poor academic performance and lower grades, which is making parents and teachers equally worried. Many educators in consonance with federal and state agencies have recognized and mandated that schools provide health education classes to students, including content on drug and alcohol abuse. The “Safe and Drug-Free Schools Program” is one such initiative funded by the U.S. Department of Education. However, more such efforts are needed in order to completely exterminate the problem of substance abuse from schools and colleges.
Substance abuse is often used as a method of self-medication to alleviate symptoms of mental health disorders. But unfortunately, doing this often exacerbates the symptoms, causing more stress and damage to an individual’s physical, mental and emotional health. Suffering from alcoholism indicates a complex brain condition in which the latter develops an altered structure and function, causing continuous relapsing as a result of an obsessive fixation of the seeking and consumption of mind-numbing substances.
Why do students get involved in drug and alcohol abuse?
There are several factors behind this:
- Attraction for drugs: Students view smoking and drinking as the habits that are enjoyed by sophisticated, fun-loving and stylish people – what most adolescents long to become.
- Love for intoxication: The reality is if substance abuse weren’t pleasurable, it would have been easy to keep students from them. Since the young guns are often blinded by drugs’ long term consequences, they seek short term pleasure.
- Peer pressure: Peers play a significant role at every stage of their friends, especially in student life. So the need for peer acceptance is strong during these years, thereby overriding their values and commitments, thereby falling prey for drugs and alcohol.
- Curiosity: College students are curious and hold strong desire to try new things and explore what’s out there. In the act if this exploration, they often end with being addicts.
- Stress: College can be a very stressful time in a person’s life. Students dealing with high demands of coursework, social obligations, part-time jobs, and other personal things may turn to drugs as a way to cope.
- Thrill-seeking: Many students seek drug experiences to produce thrill in their life. This desire for excitement using drugs makes them addicts.
- Break-ups: Now this one reason is interesting. Love, break-ups and moving-on are part and parcel of teenage life, but some students just don’t accept this. They become so emotionally disturb that they turn to drugs and alcohol to find mental solace.
How to overcome drug and alcohol abuse in college students
If you want to quit drugs and alcohol, the following tips will be extremely helpful for you:
- Acknowledge the problem
The first step toward overcoming drug and alcohol abuse, especially for college students is to acknowledge that there’s a problem. Even if other students in your group also involved in drinking, don’t feel like these habits are normal. So, you need to understand there are numerous physical and emotional effects of alcoholism that you cannot escape from if you keep on abusing it. Recognizing it as a problem will help you get started on a right foot forward.
- Don’t hesitate to ask for help
There are plenty of resources and recourses available for professional help; you only need to ask from experts. You may be surprised to see how quickly you get it – the sooner the better! By the way, the treatment options for college students are more available now than ever before. These include on-campus aftercare and recovery programs such as cognitive behavioral therapy, group counseling, experimental therapy just to name a few.
- Find alternative pleasures
To overcome stress or to feel elated, drugs and alcohol are not the only answer. There are other healthier alternatives like engaging in mind calming activities like yoga, meditation or a morning walk. You can also pursue your hobbies or interests to stay busy and distracted from substance abuse. Moreover, it will serve you as an excellent career alternative as well.
- Stay away from places or situations where drugs and alcohol are present
Temptation is your nemesis when you are combating the irresistible cravings for drugs or alcohol. You may sometimes strongly desire to be with your drinking buddies or be in parties. You need to skip situations where drugs and alcohol are being offered. In these circumstances, do not think twice if you decide to turn down any invitation. Avoid stopping by bars and stay connected to friends who don’t drink.
- Develop self-control
Self-control is important to staying firm with your decision on cutting back or quitting drugs/alcohol. Therefore you need to learn to say no to them no matter what.
- Build support networks
Be with people who don’t drink or use drugs and try to befriend those who can help you develop confidence and self-esteem. Building a strong support network will also help you make necessary life changes that are required for maintaining long-term sobriety.