Signs of Addiction in College Students

Patient Support

If you are the parent or caregiver of a young, college-bound adult, this time of year may be bring on feelings of worry. Going to college – whether hundreds of miles away, to a technical school or in your own community – feels like a right of passage to adulthood for many young adults, and brings opportunities for exploration. Some good, some not so good.

Unfortunately, alcohol and substance use is rampant in these communities and because of the stressors that new adult responsibilities bring, some students lean too heavily on substance use to cope. If you are the caregiver of a young adult, it’s important to know he signs of addiction in college students so that you can be aware and step in to guide them when needed.

Signs of Addiction in College Students

Here are 6 signs of addiction in college students that you can watch out for:

  1. Failing Grades
    A student’s academics often are the first thing to suffer when a young person is struggling with addiction. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause lifestyle problems – such as sleep issues – which quickly disrupt regular life.
  2. Missed Classes
    Unfortunately, when alcohol and other addictive substances are involved, priorities shift. A college student struggling with addiction may shift attending class down their priority list.
  3. Unexplained Financial Difficulties
    Financial difficulty is often a telltale sign for many families that their college student is battling addiction. If your college student is experiencing financial struggles and are unable to explain them, it may be a sign of substance abuse.
  4. Disheveled Hygiene and Appearance Changes
    One of the first signs that family and friends from home may notice is a change in appearance during weekend visits. Different substances may cause students to lose or gain weight, cause discoloration in their face, dark circles around their eyes, etc. Some students may even find a lack of motivation for hygiene.
  5. Lack of Motivation
    If your college student was highly motivated before they left for college, but are no longer finding ways to be involved at school – clubs and organizations, major groups, attending events, etc… – this could be a sign of addiction.
  6. Inability to Make Contact
    Social withdrawal is a sign of addiction in all ages. If your college student begins to withdraw, act secretive or is difficult to get ahold of – this could be a sign of addiction. Generally, people battling addiction will withdraw because they aren’t ready to confront their addiction, or even more – what is causing them to use substances.

Early Intervention for Addiction in College Students

This age is a critical time for development of substance use disorders, as the brain is still developing and a young person is shaping their life, responses to varying situations, and relationships with others. And while many young adults won’t progress past the experimental stage, it’s important for family and friends to be aware of the signs of addiction in college students so they can intervene when needed.

Evidence shows that early intervention produces the best outcomes when dealing with SUD. Early identification and intervention is key when it comes to addiction at all ages – but arguably even more critical when a young person is at this stage in their life.

Getting Support

College years can be some of the best of a young person’s life – but there are so many more wonderful years to be lived! That’s why mental health at this young age matters and getting treatment is crucial. If you know a student that may be struggling, learn more about admission at Wellbridge.