Binge Drinking by College Students: The Risks

A young man drinking a large mug of beer, looking sad, to illustrate the dangers of binge drinking by college students

Unfortunately, binge drinking by college students is relatively common, and comes with a host of worrying side effects for mental health.

According to the National Institutes of Health, a 2018 study found that 37% of college students had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month.

The National Institutes of Health also reports that binge drinking among college students is linked to suicide attempts.

A study in the Journal of American College Health found that students who engaged in heavy drinking were more likely to experience poor mental health.

Given the high prevalence of binge drinking among college students, some students may require rehab in order to stop drinking and avoid the poor mental health and suicide risk that can come with heavy alcohol use.

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Consequences of Binge Drinking Among College Students

Beyond the risk of suicide and mental health problems, heavy, frequent drinking among college students can have a variety of negative consequences, including increased chances of missing classes or earning low scores on tests or assignments.

Heavy binge drinking among college students is also associated with assault, sexual violence, and deaths from accidents and injuries.

Unfortunately, the research shows that every year, about 1,500 college students are involved in fatal accidents involving alcohol, including motor vehicle crashes.

Other consequences of binge drinking among college students include health problems, risky sexual behavior, and involvement with police.

Heavy alcohol use may be common and socially promoted on college campuses, but the reality is that it can have devastating effects.

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Binge Drinking Among College Students Can Lead to Addiction

As previously stated, over one-third of college students engage in binge drinking within a given month, placing them at risk of developing an alcohol abuse disorder.

As the National Institutes of Health explains, binge drinking occurs when a college male consumes five or more drinks within a two-hour period, or when a female consumes four or more drinks within the same time period.
Unfortunately, college students may not realize they are drinking in this way, because large portions of beer or mixed drinks consumed during college parties could actually exceed what is considered a single drink. This makes it easy for college students to lose track of the number of drinks consumed, resulting in high rates of binge drinking among college students.

What is even riskier is the fact that some college students drink twice the amount that is considered binge drinking, a pattern that experts call “high intensity drinking.” Over time, this can lead to an alcohol addiction or an alcohol use disorder. According to the latest research, nearly 10% of college students meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder within a given year.

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Signs of an Alcohol Use Disorder

Signs of an alcohol use disorder include being unable to cut back on drinking, giving up other activities in favor of alcohol use, or drinking larger quantities than intended. Other signs of an alcohol use disorder can include drinking in situations in which it is dangerous, continuing to drink despite relationship problems, and drinking to the extent that it is difficult to fulfill duties at work or school.

A college student who is struggling with an alcohol addiction may ruin friendships because of alcohol abuse, involve themselves in dangerous situations, such as drunk driving, and begin to fail classes because drinking interferes with studying and completing schoolwork.

Treatment for Binge Drinking Among College Students

If you are a college student who has become involved in drinking to excess on a regular basis, you may benefit from alcohol rehab. Excessive bouts of focused drinking among college students can lead to an alcohol use disorder, which is a brain disorder that negatively affects numerous areas of life.

Fortunately, treatment can help you to identify your triggers for alcohol abuse and develop strategies for living a life that is free from the grips of alcohol addiction. Experts recommend behavioral interventions and cognitive-behavioral treatments to address binge drinking among college students.
When you seek rehab for alcohol abuse, an addiction professional may provide a specific type of counseling called cognitive behavioral therapy, which can help you to think differently about alcohol and cope with situations that may trigger you to abuse alcohol in the future.

 

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Treatment for Mental Illness and Binge Drinking Among College Students

Excessive drinking among college students is linked to poor mental health, and it can even increase the risk of suicide. One study, published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, found that college students who were heavy drinkers scored significantly higher on a depression scale when compared to those who did not have drinking problems.
Alcohol abuse can worsen mental health among college students, leading to depression and even suicidal thoughts. Many college students who seek treatment for alcohol abuse may also be in need of mental health care to address mental health conditions like depression.
To ensure the best treatment outcomes, college students with both an alcohol addiction and depression should seek treatment at a dual diagnosis center, which can address both conditions. For example, if you get treatment for alcohol abuse but ignore the underlying depression, you may return to drinking in order to help you cope with mental health symptoms.

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Dual Diagnosis Treatment in Colorado and Arizona

If you are struggling with binge drinking and are in need of rehab, Pathfinders Recovery Center has facilities in both Colorado and Arizona, and we are happy to provide services to those in surrounding states.
We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so we can help with both alcohol addiction and mental health concerns. Our leadership team has over 25 years of experience in the addiction field, and we are proud to offer premier dual diagnosis rehab services.
We also have a range of treatment levels, including inpatient, partial hospitalization, detox, and outpatient services.

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Paying for Dual Diagnosis Treatment

As a college student, you may worry about covering the costs of treatment for alcohol abuse and mental health concerns.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we take some of the stress out of the process for you by offering a free insurance verification program.

Simply visit our website and provide us with your insurance information, and a member of our team will tell you what you can expect to pay for treatment.

If you are without insurance coverage, we will work with you to create a cash payment plan.

Call us today to discuss your options and begin your treatment journey, so you can move forward from the consequences of binge drinking among college students.

Drug Addiction and Hair Loss

Drug Addiction and Hair Loss

Is There a Link Between Drug Addiction and Hair Loss?

Hair loss is a natural part of life. We lose hair as we age, from genetic conditions, and under high levels of stress. But not all causes of hair loss are natural ones. Alcoholism and drug addiction, for example, are two conditions that few people know may also cause hair loss. 

How Does Drug Abuse Cause Hair Loss?

How Does Drug Abuse Cause Hair Loss

For many years, experts have examined the link between drug addiction and hair loss. While there aren’t many studies that prove a direct link, there are studies that show a connection. The connection lies with drug use and the body’s production of adrenaline. 

Adrenaline, in turn, affects the hair growth cycle. This is proof that drug addiction does not just impact one aspect of your life or another. It impacts all of them. Your mental health, physical health, relationships, career, and even criminal record can all be impaired by drug addiction. 

What to Know About Drug-Related Hair Loss

It is far more common to talk about the health impairments of drug abuse. Conditions like lung disease, liver damage, and problems with our mental health take priority, as they should. Our health should always be more important than our looks. 

But that does not mean that cosmetic issues are easy to ignore. Drug-related hair loss can damage your self-esteem and confidence. It can also be triggering for individuals who have or are prone to depression or anxiety. 

In turn, these negative feelings can lead you to continue abusing drugs to cope. It is the same with drinking to ease anxiety. Sometimes, we drink to feel better or boost our moods. But over time, drinking often does the opposite. 

So, we drink more to improve our moods. And as the alcohol impairs our moods rather than improving them, we come back around for another drink. On paper, these cycles are illogical. But they are much harder to identify and avoid when you are in them. 

We create these detrimental cycles for ourselves. And the longer we allow them to continue, the harder they become to break out of. From top to bottom, drug addiction can change you. But once you choose to live a better way, we can help you find it. 

Ways Addiction and Hair Loss Are Linked

We mentioned earlier that hair loss is triggered by an increase in adrenaline. Additionally, drug users regularly add harmful toxins to their bodies that may prevent them from getting the nutrients they need to stay healthy. 

And when they do get the nutrients they need, the drug use may interfere with the way the body uses them. Whether the lack of nutrients is from a poor diet or the inability to properly absorb and use those nutrients, drug abuse can damage your appearance, including your hair.

Addiction can cause hair loss or other changes in its growth. In long-term use, drugs can interrupt the hair’s growth cycle, causing them to pause temporarily or stop growing permanently. 

Drugs may enter hair from multiple sites through multiple mechanisms and at different times throughout the hair growth cycle. Strands of hair grow at different rates, and there is no way to tell where on the head or how much hair will be lost due to drug use. Everyone is different.  

How Bad Will Drug-Related Hair Loss Get?

The type and severity of hair loss that you experience can vary depending on many individual factors. Some of these factors include: 

  • The type of drug used. 
  • The frequency and dosages of the drug used.
  • Family history of hair loss. 
  • Other health conditions. 
  • Stress levels and age. 

Family history, certain health conditions, and high stress levels can make it more likely for you to lose your hair prematurely. And age is a factor that affects each of us when it comes to hair loss. 

While there is little we can do about aging or our family history, we can take steps to improve the other areas. Living an overall healthy life starts with ceasing drug abuse, eating nutritious foods, and learning how to cope with stress and other negative emotions. 

We can help you achieve each of these goals in any of our drug addiction treatment programs. We offer full-time and part-time programs, as well as support meetings, to ensure that you have access to the help you need when and where you need it.  

What Drugs Cause Hair Loss

A large number of drugs may interfere with the hair cycle and produce hair loss. Two of the most common and illicit drugs that cause hair loss are cocaine and LSD. One study tested hair samples from users of cocaine, heroin, cannabis, and LSD under electron microscopes. 

In this study, the drug-free hair shafts from the control group were intact, regular, and undamaged. However, when it came time to examine the hair from the cocaine users, the keratinized structures were damaged in 97.2% of the samples. 

And the outer layer of the hair was damaged in 95.8% of the samples, as well. They found that hair shafts from cocaine abusers are very thin and fragile. Meanwhile, the hair samples tested from the heroin and cannabis abusers were intact and regular. 

The LSD samples told a different story. In nearly all the tested samples (97.9%), the cuticle layer was destroyed, and cuticle cells were lifted from the hair shaft. In 95.8% of the samples, the hair was fragile, broken, and detached. 

The hair fibers from the LSD users were very weak and fragile, similar to the results of the tests on the hair from the cocaine users. The researchers who performed these studies maintain that further research and a more comprehensive analysis of hair samples from different illicit drug abusers is necessary to gain more information. 

How Do the Drugs Get to Your Hair?

Illicit drugs, through any method, accumulate in the hair in a few different ways. They may build up there by entering the bloodstream, absorbing through the sweat, or attaching to the strands from smoke vapors. However they get there, it is clear that certain illicit drugs can cause hair loss, no matter what method you use to ingest them. 

Treating Your Addiction to Prevent Hair Loss

Treating Your Addiction to Prevent Hair Loss

Addiction programs like the ones that we offer can help you address and overcome a wide variety of issues. Cosmetic concerns, like hair loss and weight changes, often improve as you work on building an overall healthier lifestyle. 

From there, there are several different options for treatment for hair loss if it is still needed. But one of the best ways to reverse the damage done and prevent further damage is to stop abusing drugs first. As you detox, you flush toxins from your body. 

Your body learns how to find its balance, regulate itself, and return to normal. The effects of building a healthy, sober life will be felt from top to bottom. 

Getting Started at Pathfinders Recovery Center

At Pathfinders, we offer a unique variety of personalized addiction care programs to help you meet your goals and improve your quality of life. With a helping hand, recovery is possible. And a new life is just a phone call away. 

With centers in Arizona and Colorado, we make it easy to get the help you need where and when you need it. Our addiction counselors are available now to answer your questions, perform your intake, or verify your insurance. Call them at 866-576-4892 to get started.

What is a Functioning Alcoholic?

What is a Functioning Alcoholic

Functioning Alcoholics

Across the country, nearly 18 million adults have an alcohol use disorder. With such a high number, it would be impossible for each of these disorders to look the same. Before we talk about the different types of alcoholism and signs of functioning alcoholism, let’s go over what it means to be a functioning alcoholic. 

Unlike the defeated scenes we see on TV, many alcoholics in real life aren’t living at rock bottom. They are getting up and going to work each day, often in high-paying careers. They have meaningful relationships and are generally well-educated. 

Functioning alcoholics can appear, on the surface, to have their lives in order. Many maintain a relatively normal life, including a full social circle, home life, and career. You may not ever know that functioning alcoholics were averaging five drinks or more just about every other day

While people in this category may function better than others, that does not mean that this is a sustainable way to live. Alcoholism is a severe, chronic disease. The disease and its side effects only get worse over time. 

Other Types of Alcoholism

Other Types of Alcoholism

We talk a lot about functioning alcoholics, but did you know that this is only one type of five? The other four are young adult, young antisocial, intermediate familial, and chronic severe alcoholics. You may notice that two out of five of these categories mention a specific age group. 

That is because young adults account for over half of the total number of alcoholics in the country. In the past, alcoholics were generally imagined to be middle-aged, divorced, and otherwise down on their luck. 

But this is not always the case. In fact, it is not even the case half of the time. In the same way that every person is unique, every addiction is, too. It is time for us all to learn more about alcoholism so that we can be better prepared to overcome it, no matter how it looks for you. 

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

As we mentioned above, functioning alcoholics average five drinks in a day about every other day. They are generally working, older adults with stable social and familial relationships, more education, and higher incomes. 

Additionally, they will carry out daily tasks of living with minimal disruptions. Work, hygiene, childcare, bill paying, and social activities can be completed without exhibiting the impairments that are normally associated with an alcohol use disorder. 

But the compulsive drinking of a functioning alcoholic can make it harder to tell when you’ve crossed a line. If your drinking tolerance has increased, you have started to hide your drinking from others, or you become defensive when your drinking is questioned, these are all signs of a functioning alcoholic. 

Additional Functioning Alcoholic Symptoms

An increased tolerance to alcohol, the compulsion to hide your drinking, and becoming emotional when asked about your drinking habits are three signs of trouble. Other behaviors that you or someone you love has high-functioning alcoholism include: 

  • Regularly experiencing blackouts after drinking. 
  • Going to work in the morning still drunk or hungover. 
  • Sneaking drinks before or after a social event or at an event that doesn’t involve alcohol.
  • Getting drunk alone at home or hiding alcohol from your loved ones in the house.
  • Drinking even after you have developed mental or physical health problems. 
  • Denying that you have a problem because you still go to work and or perform other important tasks. 
  • Drinking at work or in settings that could be dangerous, including while or before you are driving. 
  • Drinking excessively to cope with stress
  • Getting overwhelming alcohol cravings when you are not drinking. 
  • Lying about the extent of your drinking to yourself or those who care about you. 
  • Comparing yourself to others who have experienced more severe alcohol-related problems. 

Are You a High Functioning Alcoholic?

As you can see, there are many signs that you may be a functioning alcoholic. You may experience a few of these events or circumstances or many of them. No two functioning alcoholics will have exactly the same experience. 

But chances are good that if you see yourself in this list, it is time to seek help. Our expert medical staff can help evaluate your concerns and look objectively at your drinking habits. They will help you determine which of your behaviors are problematic and how to fix them from there. 

You do not have to face high functioning alcoholism alone. And the ability to carry out daily responsibilities does not mean that you will be safe from more serious side effects down the line. Over time, alcoholism impairs your mental and physical health. 

Living with alcoholism long-term will not do. The sooner you decide to change your life, the sooner your life can begin to change. 

How to Help a Functioning Alcoholic in Denial

If your spouse, parent, child, or sibling is exhibiting concerning drinking behaviors, you would not be the first person to wonder how to live with a high functioning alcoholic. Many people who battle alcoholism will hide their drinking and become defensive or angry when questioned. 

These are two signs of an alcoholic in denial. It is not always easy to approach someone who is battling addiction. But early interference and treatment can save someone from years of struggles. 

It can help prevent further mental or physical health complications and ensure that your loved one can live a happy, healthy, sober life. For a mild alcohol use disorder, treatment is minimally disruptive. 

They can attend outpatient treatments, including behavioral therapy sessions, stress management training, and support groups. This type of program is ideal for those who have work and family obligations to attend to at home. 

Before considering a professional intervention, consider having an open, honest conversation with them about their drinking habits. Calmly and supportively encourage them to speak to a professional about these habits. 

It can be a counselor at our facility or their regular doctor. Getting them talking is a great first step. Talk to them about what you have learned here. And know that denial is normal at first. 

Seeking Help for Yourself

If you are seeking help for yourself instead of a loved one, the suggestions listed above also apply. Outpatient care is ideal for those with milder addictions, full-time jobs, or family obligations that make it difficult to commit to a full-time program. 

Because you have already demonstrated that you can maintain a relatively normal life and schedule as a high functioning alcoholic, full-time care isn’t typically necessary. But it is available if you need it. 

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Functioning Alcoholic Treatments

Behavioral therapy and medication are two of the most common treatment methods for functioning alcoholics. The medication will help ease withdrawal symptoms, including alcohol cravings, to help set you up for success. 

And behavioral therapy will help you understand and overcome the stressors, situations, and feelings that lead you to drink in the first place. 

Choosing Pathfinders Recovery Center

If you or someone you love is battling high functioning alcoholism, help is available. Through various personalized addiction programs and treatments, we provide everything you need to build a better life. 

Call our addiction counselors today at 866-576-4892 to get started. Today is a good day for a fresh start.

What is the Importance of Mental Health?

How to Improve Mental Health

If you want to know how to improve mental health, the key may be halting your substance use.

In any given month, over 165 million Americans use an addictive substance.

That is more than half of the teen and adult population.

And whether or not you realize it, your drug or alcohol use may be damaging your mental health.

In fact, substance problems are a major source of mental health issues.

And without a sound mental state, it is impossible to maximize your sense of well-being.

No one should be left to deal with these kinds of issues on their own.

If you feel that your substance use is impacting your mental health, seek help as soon as possible.

This is by far the best way to avoid further problems and return to a healthier, happier way of living.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Addiction as a Mental Illness

When thinking about how to improve mental health, it is important to keep something in mind.

Today, experts classify substance addiction itself as a form of mental illness. The term for this illness is a substance use disorder, or SUD.

You also qualify for a diagnosis of the same illness if you suffer from major, non-addicted substance abuse. Tens of millions of Americans have a substance use disorder.

The SUD category is an umbrella for multiple types of mental illness. Each of these illnesses is named for a class of addictive substances.

Examples of these names include:

  • Alcohol use disorder, or AUD
  • Stimulant use disorder
  • Opioid use disorder, or OUD
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • Sedative, hypnotic or anxiolytic use disorder

Why are these conditions considered to be forms of mental illness? Because they significantly alter your state of mind and reduce your ability to function. They also change the way your brain works, and may physically damage your brain. In addition, SUDs alter your behavior and cause you to do harmful things you would not normally do.

A doctor can check if you have the symptoms of a substance use disorder. There are 11 different possible problems in affected people, including:

  • Losing control of how much or how often you use drugs or drink
  • Making substance use and related behaviors the focus of your daily routine
  • Growing less and less sensitive to the effects of drugs or alcohol
  • Having a habit of using addictive substances in risky or dangerous situations
  • Not being able to quit drug use or drinking, even with repeated efforts
  • Failing to meet your responsibilities because of your level of substance use
  • Substituting drinking or drug use for other activities you once loved to do
  • Experiencing social or relationship issues as a direct result of your substance use
  • Feeling powerful urges to drink or take drugs throughout your day
  • Developing symptoms of substance withdrawal if you quit or cut your consumption

Some of these problems are strictly related to addiction. Others reflect the presence of non-addicted abuse. From a mental health standpoint, addiction and major, non-addicted substance abuse are equally serious. What is more, they often occur simultaneously.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Dual Diagnosis

Unfortunately, some people with SUDs also have other mental health issues to deal with. This is not a rare problem. In fact, for every two people with a SUD, roughly one will be affected by an additional mental illness. The same statistic holds true in reverse. In other words, roughly one out of every two people with a mental illness also has a SUD.

What kinds of mental illnesses are most likely in people with drug- or alcohol-related SUD? The list of these conditions includes anxiety-based disorders such as:

  • Panic disorder
  • Generalized anxiety disorder
  • Posttraumatic stress disorder, or PTSD

Other commonly found illnesses include:

  • Depressive illnesses like major depression
  • Bipolar illnesses like bipolar I disorder
  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Psychotic illnesses like schizophrenia and related conditions
  • Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD

The current standard term for co-occurring SUDs and additional mental illness is dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis is a serious concern because it often has a double negative impact on your well-being. This is why it is so vital to understand the importance of mental health.

When it is present, it can make both your SUD and additional mental illness symptoms worse than normal. This double whammy on your mental health poses significant treatment challenges. For this reason, the question of how to improve mental health in people with dual diagnoses is vital.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for SUDs

If you have a SUD, professional treatment should be a top priority. There is a range of treatment environments available, including:

  • Medically supervised detox, or detoxification
  • Inpatient programs
  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs
  • Standard outpatient programs

Your doctor can help you find the right option for your particular SUD symptoms. Once you are enrolled in the right kind of program, you will receive help tailored to your needs and understand the importance of mental health. This help may include:

  • General supportive care
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapy or counseling

While in treatment, you will benefit from the experience of addiction specialists. You will also learn how to improve mental health through your own efforts. As a rule, you should pursue some kind of follow-up treatment once your primary rehab program is over. You can also further your recovery by joining a mutual self-help group.

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How to Improve Mental Health: Treatment for Dual Diagnosis

It takes a special effort to improve mental health if you have a dual diagnosis. Why? Not only must you get help for your SUD symptoms. You must also get help for your particular form of additional mental illness. This two-part treatment is essential. Without it, your mental health will likely continue to suffer.

Mental health and addiction facilities may use medication for two aspects of your dual diagnosis treatment. First, you may receive a medication targeted at your SUD symptoms. In addition, you may receive something targeted at your other mental illness symptoms.

Other forms of treatment are also used in dual diagnosis programs. For example, you will almost certainly be treated with behavioral therapy or counseling. There are specialized therapy options available for people with dual diagnoses. One such option is called Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT. You may also receive a more widespread use SUD therapy such as:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy
  • 12-Step Facilitation Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Contingency Management Intervention

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Get More Information on How to Improve Your Mental Health

More than 20 million Americans suffer from mental illnesses called substance use disorders. And many of those affected must also cope with additional, serious mental health issues. If you feel you may have a SUD or dual diagnosis, professional treatment is a must. Otherwise, you may find yourself caught in a worsening spiral of mental and physical despair.

Most people with SUDs do not seek help. It is crucial that you do what you can to escape the ranks of the untreated. Every day, mental health and addiction facilities support recovery from SUDs and dual diagnoses. Some of the very best facilities provide all of the services you need in a single location.

Need more information on how to improve your mental health and protect your well-being? After all, the importance of mental health is crucial during and after recovery. If your concerns are substance-related, just called the specialists at Pathfinders. Our deep expertise gives us the ability to answer any question you may have. Pathfinders is also a top destination for the treatment of SUDs and dual diagnosis. We offer programs suited to anyone affected by these pressing mental health issues and the importance of mental health overall.

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