College students undergo a great deal of change, experimentation, stress, and social influence while they are attending school. This is usually a rite of passage for most students, and everything tends to go the way that those students intend for it to. For others, life can take a wrong turn along the way; sending the student down a bad path that they may feel like they cannot come back from. College students may find that addiction is what leads them down that path, and they may not notice it until it is too late.
Via: Ocean Breeze Recovery
Experimentation While In College
Experimentation is a perfectly normal process in college. Many kids will experiment with their career goals, style choices, social groups, extracurricular activities, social activities, and even recreational drugs and alcohol. While many students say that this experimentation has been harmless in their experience, it doesn’t always end that way. Experimentation could lead to finding a drug that significantly alters one’s mentality to the point of utter euphoria. They may then seek this drug out from time to time when they need to eliminate stress or let loose. As the drug use increases, it becomes more of a habit, eventually forming an addiction that the student may not realize is there.
If a student already sees a recreational drug (this includes alcohol) as the best method for stress reduction, it is likely he or she will abuse it. Unlike other students who have found other methods of relieving stress, they choose what might be considered the “easy way out”. Many students tend to use exercise, music, walks in the park, or nights out with friends to relieve stress in a safer way. Addiction can heavily affect loners as well. These students tend to avoid social activities, and will find themselves stressing out severely over studying, homework, midterms, and finals as they don’t utilize as many avenues of relaxation.
Addiction recovery is important to start as soon as the first signs of addiction have been realized, as minor as they might be. Addiction usually starts off as a harmless recreational activity, moves its way into a habit that continues to increase in frequency, and ends in complete dependence upon the substance. At first, it may be as simple as sacrificing that new purse or wallet that the student may have been saving for so that he or she could get the drug of choice. Later, they might be skimping out on important purchases such as groceries or toiletries. As it continues, grades will begin to drop and his or her dorm, apartment, or room may become messier than normal. Students may steer clear of once close friends, as they may feel embarrassed or judged. Students’ lives will drastically change, especially in favor of the drug.
Ways Students Can Find Help
First, a student should confide in a friend, family member, or counselor. These people are almost always available to talk to and are usually more than willing to help. This support group wants to see the student get better, refocus on the important things in life, and succeed. There is inpatient and outpatient treatment available for students who have addictions that are nearly impossible to reverse without medical intervention. If an addiction is caught early, a solid support group may be all that’s needed to turn it around. However, many students fail to recognize the signs of addiction, and require professional help to become healthy, clean, and happy again.
A solid support group is needed for every step of the recovery process when drugs are involved. Students with hefty addictions tend to forget what is important in life, and may sabotage education, careers, health, family relationships, and friendships all in an effort to get their fix. Their brains have prioritized needs based upon drugs. When drugs are abused, there is an excessive production of “feel good” chemicals in the brain such as Dopamine and Oxytocin. These chemicals overload the “reward” section of the brain, making it hard for the individual to find as much pleasure in activities that once made them happy (such as seeing friends, going to see movies, or taking trips). This makes a support group important, as they are capable of being there for the student and reintroducing the student to the things he or she once loved.
There Is Always Hope
Even though addiction can bounce between extremes as far as treatment is concerned, it is important to remember that rehabilitation can be highly successful. Once a student hits rock bottom, they tend to seek help. It’s always a good idea for those struggling with addictions to get help before this point, but it’s readily available at any point within a struggle of addiction. There will always be hope for the afflicted.