Families across the country are opening their doors as College campuses and dorms close for the Summer. While students are returning home, families anticipate their trips, getaways and reconnecting. During this time, parents often overlook their young adults’ current state of mind. In the short time since schools have released, Prescott House has spoken to several parents with a major concern for their son’s well-being. It has come to our attention that College Students’ opioid addiction has turned into stimulant misuse.
College Commitment Can Be Overwhelming
School semesters are hectic. Most students are juggling full-term class schedules(15 credit hours can be around 45-48 real hours) and part-time work(10-20 hours). Add in scholastic athletics(15-30 hours), fraternities, clubs, while also maintaining a social agenda, you can see how much time is spent as a full-time student (source: University of Michigan-Flint). The first year and even the initial semester is a true test of one’s willpower and mental fortitude. This can also be the breaking point.
For those coming straight out of High School and the security of a family unit can find this added responsibility rewarding. Yet in a short amount of time, it can prove to be overwhelming. This new found stress and anxiety often leads to finding ways to release this pressure.
With the natural instinct of fight-or-flight, it can become a major personal conflict and struggle to decide which is the correct response. Escaping the school environment usually isn’t an option as there is a risk of losing achieved scholarships or the tuition invested by the parents. “Flight” is chosen by some and often leads to dropping out of college. However, fighting back and finding ways to cope without breaking is the response we often see.
Addressing Opioid Addiction
The United States government has been addressing the well documented opioid epidemic that has been plaguing our country (source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Many users explain the reason behind opioid use is due to a heightened anxiety sensitivity (AS). Becoming dependent on non-medical benzodiazepine is a way to dull the senses (source: National Center for Biotechnology Information). The use of these sedatives reduce AS and serve as a short-term coping mechanism, which can then lead to a long-term addiction.
Through nationwide outreach and awareness, college students have reduced prescription narcotic use from over 8 percent in 2006 to less than 4 percent in 2015. This decrease has led to an increase in the use of marijuana as an anxiety depressant (source: CBS News). In most cases, the fact is that weed doesn’t lead to more productivity and actually decreases dopamine, which can lead to less motivation (source: Psychology Today).
Increase in Stimulant Misuse
Dulling down the senses has recently become less popular in college students. Some are now relying on stimulants to reduce the stress and keep up with the workload. Recently we have seen an increase in psychiatric issues that stem from stimulant misuse and dependence. Most are using ADHD and sleep disorder prescription drugs such as; Ritalin®, Adderall®, Dexedrine® and Focalin® (source: West Virginia University).
Associated with this misuse, negative side effects and health conditions become a concern. Heart problems and overdosing have become immediate issues to address. A well-informed student can understand the risks they are taking. Being young, impressionable and forced to produce at a Universities highest level, doesn’t always lead to making the right choices. During the off-time of Summer is a great opportunity to reintegrate students into a healthy lifestyle.
Getting Back on Track
If you, as a college student, classmate or are the parent of someone who is facing stimulant misuse or opioid addiction to cope with the pressure of college, please reach out to us. We can start the process of recovery this Summer. Let’s get students back on track to successfully complete their degree and provide the tools to healthy productivity for years to come.
Please call (866) 425-4673 or fill out our confidential contact form here.