College is an important time in a person's life because of the transition from being a teenager to a young adult. In addition to taking on a course load that is generally more difficult than they might have faced in high school, college freshmen are experiencing a completely new level of freedom. Some students will handle this transition flawlessly, while others may turn to drugs or alcohol as coping mechanisms or because of peer pressure. If you or someone close to you will be in college soon, take a look at a few of the ways that stress, drugs and alcohol can sneak their way into anyone’s life. By preparing for these intrusions, it makes it easier to fight temptation and find better ways to cope with stress — to maintain a healthy, drug-free life.
This could be the one reason that many young people wind up trying drugs or abusing alcohol at college. When older teens are away from home for the first time, the freedom can be exciting. When there is no one looking over their shoulder, why shouldn’t they say yes when friends offer a drink or drug? This is when understanding the dangers and risks of addictive behavior is so important.
Many students don’t realize it until they begin, but college classes are difficult! The added stress of these more difficult classes can cause anxiety. Add in the responsibility of driving to and from school or keeping up a dorm room, and the stress can sometimes feel like too much. Remember that there is always someone available to help, whether it's an RA (resident advisor), counselor, parent or therapist. These stresses don’t have to lead to drinking or drugs.
Taking on additional responsibilities such as leadership roles in clubs or athletic teams or getting a job to help pay your way through school can be a big stressor. If you feel like you’re taking on too much, make sure you have someone you can talk to about the situation. You may find a better solution, and at the very least, there is always a better option than turning to drugs or alcohol.
There has been a lot of news coverage about drugs and alcohol in the fraternities and sororities of colleges across the United States. One benefit is that this has helped many clean up their act. However, some still have those wild parties where anything and everything is available. Realize that not every Greek house is alike, and there are plenty that do not embrace drinking and may even ask known drug users to step down from membership.
Not every student will decide to “rush” or participate in the Greek system. However, college parties are still part of the day-to-day life on many campuses. There will be alcohol, and drugs may also be available. Preparing for the availability by having “excuses” at the ready can be key. In addition, learning which parties are better geared toward a healthy lifestyle can help you to have fun while still staying healthy and safe.
One thing to remember is that stress can have an impact on anyone, from straight A students to those who succeed in athletics to those who may have to work a little harder to succeed. In addition, sometimes people don't realize they have a problem with drugs or alcohol until they are in too deep to stop on their own. If you feel like you need help with stress, drugs, alcohol or any medical problem, all of PORT Health's locations offer services on a walk-in basis. Stop in or give us a call today. We look forward to helping you be the best you can be!