Do College Freshmen Have an Increased Risk of Addiction?

Do College Freshmen Have an Increased Risk of Addiction?

Being away from familiar surroundings, high school friends and family can lead to loneliness and depression

The first year of college brings with it a variety of challenges for new students. While this can be a very positive time focused on new opportunities, this is also a time many young men and women are at a high risk to develop addiction. If you or a loved one in California is facing additional pressure as a college freshman, be aware of the following reasons you may be at an increased risk of developing an addiction.

College Brings New Independence

For most individuals, college is the first extended time away from home. The strict schedule of high school is now gone, and students now can set their own schedules. Time is spent now at the student’s discretion. Depending on the individual, this can be overwhelming and lead toward a time of confusion and poor decision making. Many college professors do not pay attention if students attend class or not, so a student’s grades could be a potential indicator of substance abuse.

Freshmen Face New Pressures

Some freshman will act differently in a new environment with new people in order to fit in. This often leads to more stress. College is often a time of growth and development, so it is important that students have a support network in place. This could look different for each student, but at bare minimum every student must have someone to talk to about his or her feelings.

College Provides a Culture of Partying

Some schools and fraternities have a culture of partying, which encourages substance abuse such as binge drinking. This can not only lead to addiction, but also to a much greater chance of sexual assault as well. Alcohol abuse can escalate into to drug abuse. This happens when an individual’s inhibitions are lowered and decision-making becomes more difficult.

Freshman Face Undiagnosed Mental Health Issues

Being away from familiar surroundings, high school friends and family can lead to loneliness and depression. If an individual struggles with undiagnosed depression or anxiety, self-medication in the form of substance abuse can be an issue. It may not be clear to the student or his loved ones that he is suffering from mental illness.

Some steps to prevent addiction are to talk with incoming students and also to set clear, intentional boundaries. Parents must take the initiative and be proactive, not reactive to any situations.

Help for Addiction

If you or someone you care about in California struggles with addiction, call our toll-free helpline and our counselors will address your needs and guide you through various treatment methods. Lines are open 24 hours a day so call now.

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