Addiction treatment is a vital step in helping people who suffer from substance use disorder to regain control of their lives. Addiction to drugs or alcohol can have a serious impact on the lives of those who are addicted, including people who are in college. Students in recovery face arguably greater problems in staying sober after rehab than people who are not pursuing education. This is because a significant number of their peers are likely to be abusing drugs or alcohol, and the peer pressure on those in recovery is intense.
The Importance of Treatment
The most important consideration should be to get any young person with a substance abuse disorder to stop taking addictive substances, even if this means taking time out of college. Apart from the serious health consequences of abusing drugs or alcohol, any student with an a problem will have little chance of performing well at college unless they can get sober.
Problems Students in Recovery Face
Young people in college are under immense peer pressure to experiment with drugs or alcohol. Binge drinking and drug use are at epidemic levels in higher-education institutions. Figures from the 2014 National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that about 40 percent of college students admit to binge drinking within the previous month.1 The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s fact sheet lists many of the reasons why binge-drinking is a problem for students.2 Many of those students began drinking or taking drugs before they entered third-level education.
The general mindset is to study hard and party hard. A lot of the social activities associated with college life involve heavy drinking and drugs. This can make life very difficult for students returning from rehab.
Options to Reinforce Long-Term Sobriety
All colleges provide access to counselors experienced in helping people with addiction problems. Many of them also facilitate support groups which people in recovery can sign up for. Many colleges also try to provide a sober environment to help people, for example by providing substance-free living accommodations.
Most colleges also have fraternities and sororities in which drugs and alcohol are not permitted. Students in recovery should seek these out as a way of having social interaction without temptation. Parents can encourage children with addiction to engage in extracurricular activities that are focused on healthy pursuits.
Getting sober without professional help is extremely difficult. Recovery from addiction is not simply a matter of getting sober. Although getting sober can be traumatic, most people can do so relatively easily. The biggest challenge is staying sober, and that is where rehab plays such a vital role.
Where on-campus support groups are not available, students in recovery should seek help off campus. During rehab, students will learn about the various types of recovery groups that can help them stay off drugs or alcohol. They will also learn about the part their environment plays in their addiction and will learn ways to avoid situations that might lead them to relapse.