Addiction Doesn’t Discriminate

Anyone can be an addict. It doesn’t matter what kind of personality you have or what kind of person you are. Since drinking is so acceptable in our culture, alcoholism isn’t very difficult to fall victim to. Drug use also seems to have become more acceptable than in the past.

People in all age groups abuse drugs. Going to an NA meeting will make that very clear. There are people from all walks of life in all age groups. However, when it comes to those in the college-age group, there are much higher numbers.

Stats on College Student Drug Abuse

Drug abuse and college student statistics will tell you the full story. Young adult alcohol drinkers make up the highest percentage of all the alcoholic types. This group makes up over thirty-one percent of all alcoholics. The young adult alcoholic tends to begin drinking at an early age, typically in high school or college. Binge drinking refers to the excessive amount of alcohol intake at one time.

While people in this group tend to drink less often than other types of alcoholics, they are more likely to engage in binge drinking. Interestingly enough, young adult alcoholics are two and half times more likely to be male than female. Beyond alcohol abuse, drug abuse in college is just as bad.

Why do College Students Abuse Drugs?

There are many reasons for drug abuse in college. There is a lot of peer pressure. Also, when you are first away from your parents you tend to overdo it with everything. Having newfound independence can lead to risky behavior. It’s important to note the difference between drug abuse and drug addiction.

Defining abuse vs. addiction can be a bit murky, but there are obvious signs. Not all young people who abuse drugs will develop addictions. A lot of this is just experimentation. Letting your hair down and having a good time on the weekend. While not everyone who does drugs will develop an addiction, the risk is very great.


Antisocial Alcoholics in College

Like the previous group, young antisocial alcoholics begin drinking at a young age and are likely to develop alcohol dependence much earlier. They make up around twenty-one percent of all the alcoholic types. In this group, drinking usually begins around or before the age of sixteen.

Because our brains are not fully developed at this age, our brain chemistry can be greatly affected by drinking. This group is typically afflicted with mental and emotional disorders including depression, bipolar disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder. More than half of the people in this group have a family history of alcoholism.

Signs and Symptoms of Student Drug Abuse

The signs and symptoms of drug abuse vary from person to person. For the most part, addictive behavior is similar. Mood swings and a lack of appetite are common. When it comes to college or high school students, a lapse in the engagement at school is a tell-tale sign. You may notice a slip in grades.

A lot of students who drop out of college do so because they develop drug dependencies. It depends on the type of school you go to as well. Attending a fraternity creates a huge risk for overindulgence, specifically with alcohol.

Greek Life and Binge Drinking

There is a huge link between Greek life and binge drinking. The peer pressure that exists in fraternities is overwhelming. To be included in a fraternity, you have to prove yourself. Hazing has become a huge problem across the country and there are stories frequently of students who died of alcohol poisoning due to hazing.

I’ve read countless news pieces about students who could have been saved if someone just called an ambulance. Typically the other students won’t call for help due to fear of repercussions. It’s a heartbreaking circumstance that happens all too often.

Finding Treatment Options for Students

It can be difficult to get through to a college student who is suffering from drug abuse. Young people don’t want to listen to a lot of the time. They think they know what’s best and they want to figure things out on their own. This is just a part of growing up. Luckily, there is much more emphasis on drug abuse and many more resources available that weren’t years ago.

In some cases, there is insurance coverage for student treatment. A lot of universities offer recovery support programs. To get through to the younger generation, they must learn the basic foundations of addiction. Prevention measures on campus are also widespread at a lot of universities.


College Policies Toward Drinking and Drugs

There are a lot of zero-tolerance policies in place. I got kicked out of my dorm after getting caught drinking, and it ended up helping me seek help. My drinking was out of control after I began college. I was just doing what everyone else was doing.

When you’re in that environment, it’s hard to see the bigger picture. It all becomes normalized. The first few times I saw cocaine at a party, I had a rush of fear come over me. That slowly went away the more and more I saw it.

When Abuse Turns Into Addiction

It’s easy to start doing drugs and think that it’s all fun and games. This is usually how it always starts. The fun wears off once you develop a physical addiction. This isn’t something that’s talked about too much. If we were more honest with young people, they’d be more likely to listen.

Yes, engaging in drug use can be fun for young people. It can be a lot of fun. It’s vital that we tell kids the truth about drugs. While they may be fun and seem like the cool thing to do, they are an accident waiting to happen. It can be a very quick process from experimentation into addiction.

There are certain predictive factors that can help you determine who is at risk. Having friends with drug addiction can be a predictive factor. Having a family history of drug abuse is another one.

Dual Diagnosis and Student Drug Abuse

I first learned of dual diagnosis when I entered Pathfinders for treatment, and it all made a lot of sense. Dual diagnosis refers to the process of trying to tackle all of your issues at once when you enter recovery.

A lot of us who develop addictions had contributing factors. Family history, past trauma, there are a lot of reasons people can become addicted. The prevalence of dual diagnosis can be found with college students as well. There is a lot of stress and anxiety that college students suffer from.

This is a big risk factor for drug abuse. Uppers have become very popular on college campuses, particularly the drug Adderall. For kids who need to stay up and study, stimulants like Adderall can not only help you study but are also used to enhance drinking and other drug use.

If you or someone you love struggles with drug abuse or drinking in an unhealthy way, whether they are a college student or not, please reach out now to our compassionate, experienced Admissions team. The clinical staff at Pathfinders Recovery Centers have helped hundreds of people suffering and into a new way of life, call us today to find out more about our programs and get started on the path to recovery.


A Bad Childhood Makes for A Bad Adulthood

I personally feel that the reason addiction has become such a huge issue for so many people can be attributed to your upbringing. Bad parenting is a gigantic reason why there are so many addicts in this country and on this planet.

We are shaped by our upbringings. The way that we view the world is a result of what we learn growing up. If you have parents who are consistently in a negative frame of mind, it rubs off. If you are the child of addicts, it rubs off.

My parents were alcoholics. Basically, my entire family was alcoholics. Alcoholism was the norm in my world. It seemed like a natural progression for me to become one as well. It was predetermined. I became an alcoholic because I viewed alcoholism as normal. Once I got out into the world and realized that not everyone else was an alcoholic, it came as a huge shock.

The people I associated with all my life were in the thick of some kind of addiction. Once I met people who weren’t it was a totally alien concept to me. You can actually go through life not drunk all the time? It didn’t seem real at all.

That’s not to say that if you have a great childhood you aren’t going to have issues. I’ve met plenty of people in rehab who had everything they wanted growing up, and they still became addicts. As a matter of fact, them getting everything they wanted was a contributing factor to their addiction.

The Right Resources for Student Recovery

When you are spoiled and are led to believe you’ll have whatever you want in life, it can be a huge detriment to your development. Once you get out in the world and realize not everything will be handed to you, one way to cope with that is through drugs and alcohol. This is what led to all of my issues in college. My family tried to get me into sober living dorms and sober spaces, but I didn’t want to deal with any of that until my addiction was totally out of control.

Let’s face it. Having kids is a challenge. You do the best you can, but ultimately everyone is in control of their own destiny. I’ve known a lot of addicts who had good parents. Their parents did everything they could to steer their kids the right way, but it’s not always going to work out. You do the best you can and that’s really all it comes down to.

We all make up our own minds, and the best you can do is offer college students the best available resources and let them choose their own path to recovery. Start by showing them this article, and see if it opens up any questions about seeking help. If you start with willingness, you can address any addiction problem. Please reach out today to our dedicated staff at Pathfinders Recovery and call us with your questions and concerns, and to find out more about treatment at our acclaimed facilities.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

Our Newsletter

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Contact Us

See how much of your treatment is covered by insurance

(877) 224-0761


Skip to content