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What Kind Of Addiction Treatment Options Are There For College Students?

Dr. Gerardo Sison

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Gerardo Sison

April 1, 2019

Many college students often find themselves turning to drugs or alcohol as a way to cope with the high amounts of stress that they are constantly under. This repeated use of harmful substances can lead to dependence or even addiction. If you or someone you love is a college student suffering from addiction, there are ways that they can be helped.

The statistics surrounding college addiction are troubling: in 2013, 36 percent of college students used marijuana, 35 percent said they enjoyed binge drinking, and nearly 11 percent admitted to using stimulants. The actual rate of addiction among these students is harder to gauge since so many of them will go through college without ever admitting they have a problem, let alone getting it treated.

Breaking Through Denial

Denial often haunts college-aged addicted individuals. Many will simply feel they “know better” than their parents or their friends and claim they’re just having some fun or like “cutting loose.” Sometimes a lack of health insurance or class commitment will be touted as excuses not to attend rehabilitation, which ignores the obvious solution of attending during summer break.

Breaking through these excuses is difficult, but it can be done. The best approach is to come at them with nothing but love and concern. No accusations; no anger. Try to get the addicted person to understand how much their addiction is hurting them and the ones they love. That usually does the trick, but even this approach can take a long time.

Common Factors That Contribute To College Addiction

Factors that often contribute to college student drug use and college student addiction include:

  • Curiosity – College students are often alone for the first time in their lives and they want to experience the world, regardless of the consequences.
  • Stress – Often drugs seem to alleviate the stress that comes from doing difficult school work, working part-time jobs, competing in sports, or dealing with social demands.
  • Peer Pressure – Peer pressure can make it nearly impossible for students to say no. Especially as they’re making new friends who have exposed them to intriguing new ideas and concepts.
  • The Partying Phase – When students hit the magic age of 21, they often embrace their new-found freedom by partying as much as possible, whenever possible, a phase which may introduce them to other drugs.

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Locating Specialized Treatment Centers

There are several drug treatment groups that specialize in helping college students, the most popular of which may be the “Task Force On College Drinking.” Created in 1998 by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is designed to provide guidance for students who may be experiencing addiction.

Although “detention center” style rehabilitation centers are available for severe cases, these aren’t recommended because they are often too restrictive for college students. Instead, positive support systems, such as on-campus addiction centers, should be utilized. Often, these services provide partial inpatient treatments, which give students the freedom to attend class, take online courses, and go to work and a carefully designed and monitored rehabilitation program.

A Typical College Student Rehabilitation Plan

Most rehabilitation plans follow a similar path, though it may vary depending on the center attended as well as the needs of the student. Typical stages in college student rehabilitation include:

  • Assessment – An addiction specialist diagnoses the addiction and creates a specialized plan of treatment, including detoxification plan, and mental health diagnoses.
  • Detoxification – The removal of addictive substances from the body, which includes suffering through the pain of withdrawal. These symptoms are sometimes treated with replacement medicines.
  • Treatment – Therapy treatments, including behavioral adjustments, group sessions, and family therapy will diagnose and treat underlying problems that contribute to addiction and educate the student on the dangers of addiction.
  • Aftercare – Outpatient care that helps students deal with the temptation of relapsing, especially after they are thrust right back into the environment in which they developed their addiction.

College students suffering from addiction also have unique access to a support group known as the Sober College. This center designed to help treat college-aged students that are suffering from addiction. get them back on track if they’ve failed or dropped out of college, and even teach classes that offer transferable credits.

Finding More Help

If you or someone you love is ready to seek out help for their addiction, please contact us as soon as possible. We have years of experience helping college-aged people get the help they need to recover from their debilitating addiction. Please contact us at to get help finding the best rehab choice for yourself or a loved one in need.

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