When you think of the college experience, what comes to mind? Is it weekends spent poring over textbooks and sleepless nights writing essays? Or is it the hard-partying and boozing college life? While it’s perfectly natural for college students to go a little buck-wild when they get their first taste of freedom, that carefree lifestyle can quickly turn into something more destructive.
Alcohol and drug abuse can affect anyone from any walk of life. Regardless of age, sex, or race, substance abuse is a concern that transcends identity.
Recognizing Substance Abuse
Although binge drinking is not the same as alcoholism, it is considered ‘alcohol abuse’ and is just one factor in a larger pattern of problematic substance misuse. Drinking “too much and too often,” along with the inability to control how much you drink once you’ve started, is a telltale sign of alcohol abuse.
Alcoholism is a literal dependency on alcohol, meaning the individual needs to drink to get through the day. However, most college students don’t see themselves reflected in these criteria. We often have an idea in our heads of what an alcoholic looks like, and if we don’t fit that image, we believe that everything is fine. But you don’t have to be an alcoholic to have an alcohol abuse problem.
At their most basic level, alcohol use disorders can affect an individual’s relationships and their physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If you find that alcohol use negatively impacts your quality of life, you may have a drinking problem. Alcohol abuse is not an all-or-nothing game, and you may still be at risk without realizing it.
The Dangers of Substance Abuse
According to Indiana University Bloomington, approximately 66 percent of students consume five or more drinks in a single sitting. The CDC defines this kind of consumption as ‘binge drinking,’ and it can be dangerous. Furthermore, around 15 percent of college students use prescription painkillers, sedatives, and/or stimulants that have not been prescribed to them.
Along with the ‘highs’ of alcohol and drug use come a plethora of hazards. These include risky sexual activity, driving while intoxicated, getting into trouble with the law, and continuing to drink and/or use drugs in an unsafe manner. Immediate risks to personal safety include nausea and vomiting, compromised motor function, impaired judgment and decision making, disorientation, blackouts, unconsciousness, and overdose/alcohol poisoning.
Seeking Help for Substance Abuse
College-aged students are at exceptionally high risk for substance abuse of all kinds. Whether that use is recreational or an attempt to cope with post-secondary education struggles and declining mental health, it compromises not only your education and prospects but also your overall well-being.
For these reasons, post-secondary establishments nationwide are pushing back against substance abuse. Indiana University offers assistance to its struggling students through its Substance Use Intervention Services. Through these programs, you can get the support you need, both on and off-campus.
Landmark Recovery is just one independent substance abuse clinic that Indiana’s campus services can refer you to. Our mission is to support individuals just like you on the road to recovery. It all starts when you ask for the help that you need – so don’t hesitate! Reach out today. We’re here for you, and we genuinely care.
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