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Drug rehab and treatment for college and university students include traditional inpatient and outpatient rehab centers and resources offered on local college or university campuses. Most post-secondary institutions have behavioural health services, sober lifestyle activities, support groups, and sober dorms. Substance abuse, binge drinking, and drug addiction are not uncommon among college-age students. There are many reasons why college students begin to abuse drugs or alcohol. Peer pressure is a common reason and a significant factor in the development of an addiction.

Drug rehab and counselling approaches for students help to address this problem, ensuring they have the skills and tools to prevent peer pressure from being a factor again. Unfortunately, many students in post-secondary school end up using drugs or alcohol because they were introduced to these substances by their peers. Another reason for drug use among college students is self-medication, as college life is not easy and riddled with deadlines, expectations, and life-altering decisions. Students face significant pressure during college and, as a result, turn to drugs or alcohol to cope.

Drug rehab for college students helps to develop new healthy coping strategies and address underlying issues. There are some drug rehab centers that focus on treating college-age individuals. In addition, most post-secondary schools in Canada are adding more resources to help their student bodies address these problems. Drug rehab for college students involves drug detox, residential treatment, outpatient services, and aftercare support.

The rates of drug abuse among college students are attributed to a number of factors. For example, stress and pressure, as students face high demand with school, work, internships, social obligations, and use drugs or alcohol to cope. Course load becomes a significant factor, and some students misuse prescription stimulants to cope. Curiosity and peer pressure are also underlying reasons. College students explore new aspects of their lives in personal and professional realms.

Drug and alcohol rehabilitation for college students should help physically, mentally, and spiritually. Overall, no one form of drug rehab is right for every person; treatment settings and interventions should meet the needs of the addiction attending drug rehab. Many post-secondary schools offer options for peer support and recovery groups. It is important for college students to access these services and get the support they need.

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When is Drug Rehab for College Students the Best Option?

Drug rehab for college students is a good option at any point, especially when problems like binge drinking and recreational drug use begin to consume time and resources. During college years, it is not uncommon for students to turn to drugs or alcohol and become involved within the party scene. College students may begin to experiment with drugs or alcohol as they have little experience with their side effects. College life does tend to place college students at a higher risk due to their environment. Treatment and rehabilitation are accessible at any time during college and should always be considered an option.

Many of the problems with drug addiction begin with regular binge drinking. An obvious sign is drinking every weekend and during the week and becoming black-out drunk. When students begin to notice academic performance has been impacted, this is a clear sign there is a problem. Most college students who binge drink regularly, for example, perform poorly in their studies. Students that are abusing alcohol at least three times a week may begin to oversleep, miss class, and struggle with cognitive functioning.

A student that begins to abuse drugs will also experience changes in appearance. College students abuse stimulant pills to manage eating disorders, perform better with athletics, or attempt to improve their grades. In addition, there are many instances where assaults or criminal activity are linked back to college students and drug use. Drug use among college students also leads to decreased interest in extracurricular college activities. Friends, teachers, and peers may begin to notice poor performance and lack of interest.

Substance abuse also causes shifts in sleeping patterns; for example, alcohol and cocaine use interferes with REM sleep, leading to other issues physical and mental. College students with a drug or alcohol addiction begin to withdraw from healthy friends and peer groups. For example, they could be ashamed to let their friends know and want to avoid the whole social stigma. Students who are abusing drugs or alcohol will spend time with negative social circles and other substance abusers. Overall, there is no bad time to access drug rehab.

Substance abuse among college students can also result in reckless behaviour, such as acts of emotional, physical, and verbal abuse. A student may become illogical, more likely to drive while under the influence, or more prone to risky sexual activity. The best options for college students struggling with problems to reaching out to services provided by the college. In addition, local drug resources within the community are effective solutions to consider.

How Does Drug Rehab for College Students Work?

The drug rehabilitation process for college students involves many of the same steps as it does for adults or anyone else. The first step involves an assessment or reaching out to campus behavioural health services or a campus health center physician. Students can take advantage of on-campus mental health counselling as most colleges offer free counselling and support services. Local resources are also accessible through most colleges, for example, 12-step meetings, peer support groups, and drug rehabilitation programs.

The first step in treating drug addiction involves a drug detox to manage withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Typically, the severity of detox and withdrawal symptoms determine what method of drug detox is needed. Medical detox for college students manages dangerous withdrawal symptoms associated with prescription drug addiction, opiate addiction, or severe alcoholism. Clinical or standard drug detox programs manage less severe forms of drug addiction where medical support is not required.

Following drug detox, the next phase of treatment involves attending a residential or outpatient drug rehab program. However, this is not always an easy decision for college students to make. There is always the concern with missing classes and picking up where the person left off. Colleges and universities make it possible for any student who comes forward with an addiction to get the help they need and return to school to pick up where they left off. The problems begin when students do not ask for help and avoid consequences because of their drug addiction.

Post-secondary students want the best for their students and will accommodate to help students overcome problems like addiction. When completing a drug or alcohol treatment program, it is also important to follow through with aftercare support. Recovering addicts can have access to 12-step peer support groups, sober living accommodations on campus at some colleges, and access to student behavioural health services.

Are There Alternatives to Drug Rehab for College or University Students?

Most of the alternatives to drug rehab for college students involve individual counselling, group counselling, and drug abuse education and prevention campaigns. College Alcohol and Substance Education is a program that constitutes online educational resources, active parent involvement, peer education, and environmental management strategies. Some colleges and universities use screening and brief intervention or Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students.

Additionally, programs like Alcohol and other Drug preventative measures and programs work in collaboration with other groups responsible for developing a campus and community prevention strategy. Individual and group counselling would also be an option for students to consider. Most behavioural health services offer these services to help a student that is struggling. Regardless of the severity of drug addiction, it is important to find the right form of counselling and therapy.

Some of the most commonly abused drugs among college students are alcohol, cannabis, and prescription drugs. According to data, the past year use of marijuana is similar to college students and non-college peers. However, daily or near-daily use of marijuana is considerably higher among the non-college group. The annual prevalence of the non-medical use of prescription opioids continues to trend downward. In addition, there were significant gender differences in the non-medical use of Adderall; rates were much higher among college men than women.

According to the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction, alcohol use among underage youth has remained steady in the past few years. In 2016, 69.3% of students reported any use of alcohol within the last 30 days. Among college and university drinkers, 35% reported having five or more drinks of alcohol in one sitting. Overall, a higher proportion of males than females reported risking drinking habits. The average reported number of drinks consumed among men was 5.96, and among women, it was 4.67.


Marcel Gemme, DATS

Marcel Gemme, DATS


on March 28, 2022

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