Alcoholism and Drug Addiction on College Campuses
Did you know that about 40 percent of college students binge drink, or that nearly 23 percent of college students meet criteria for addiction or chemical dependence? Drug and alcohol abuse on college campuses has risen steadily, with painkillers and other prescription drug abuse exploding. Although the drug and alcohol abuse cuts across every demographic, alcoholism and drug addiction among college students is serious and growing.
Facts to Consider
Despite the reputation of the 1960s as a time of wild drug-taking and experimentation, most college students during that time used alcohol, and sometimes, marijuana. Today, high school and college students are far more likely to use marijuana in addition to alcohol. They’re also much more likely to abuse prescription drugs they find at home or get from a friend. In particular, college students who abuse alcohol or drugs are more likely to:
- Die from drug- or alcohol-related injuries or overdose.
Some people think drugs and alcohol make them better and enhance their lives. The fact is, drug addicts and alcoholics live a pretty low high life.
Reaching the American dream and succeeding in life takes a measure of hard work and dedication that drugs simply cannot provide. There’s no well-laid career or life plan that an addiction won’t destroy.
You’ll likely never hear someone attribute their success in life to heavy drug use or drinking. The best way to make sure you limit your personal or professional life is to succumb to drug addiction.
How do Drugs Ruin Lives?
There really is no aspect of your life that drug abuse enhances. From your physical appearance to your mental state, drugs do a lot of damage.
Sound decision-making and responsible behavior do not coexist with a drug addiction. If you have built — or are trying to build — the life of your dreams, doing it sober will increase your chances of success.
Is Your Addictive Personality Genetic?
The genes you inherit from your natural parents make the code that defines everything, from your eye color to your blood type. But genes are so much more complex than physical characteristics, and every year addiction scientists come closer and closer to identifying the precise genes that can point to addiction.
Although we cannot entirely attribute addictive personality disorder to genetics, we do know that individuals with addicted family members are at least 50 percent more likely to develop addiction themselves. Does that mean you’ll automatically become addicted later in life if someone in your family has a chronic substance abuse problem? No, but it does mean you have to be a lot more careful with your choices.
Addiction and Genetics: Understanding the Statistics
Every year we understand a little bit more about how and why individuals develop addiction, but parents and children are often in the dark.
If you are recovering from alcohol or drug abuse, then you understand how challenging staying sober can be. Even though you know you don’t ever want to return to the addict’s lifestyle, you sometimes still feel the old urges, bad feelings and persistent cravings. You also know that addiction is a chronic brain disease requiring a lifetime of treatment, and that relapse rates for addiction resemble other chronic diseases, such as diabetes and high blood pressure.
The bottom line? Not only is relapse common — most people with addiction lapse or relapse — but tens of millions of Americans have recovered from chronic substance abuse. Relapse does not mean you have failed, but it does mean you need to reexamine the reasons you started using again.
Why Does Someone Relapse?
You might think that relapse begins the moment you take a drink of alcohol or a hit of drugs.