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Signs of Addiction in College Students

Leaving home for the first time places many immature teens at the mercy of tremendous peer pressure. Wanting to fit in and be part of a group has led many college students to experiment with drugs. The rate of addiction in college students is growing rapidly, and it includes opioids, heroin, crack, and the so called “study” drugs of Adderall, Ritalin, and Vyvanse.

3 Minute Read | Published Aug 12 2023 | Updated Feb 21 2024 Expert Verified
Emma Collins
Written by
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by
Emma Collins
Written by
Edwin Gomez
Reviewed by

Signs Of Addiction In College Students

Parents, siblings, and teachers, need to be aware of the signs of addiction in college students. Early discovery can prevent the type of abuse to the body’s organs that can cause life-long health problems. If your child is acting differently since starting college, it’s important to know if those changes are just due to new-found independence or because of drugs. There are some specific warning signs that signal a dependence on drugs exists in your child.

  • If the student’s grades begin to drop, assignments are not completed, and classes are skipped, that is a strong signal that your child is involved in drugs.
  • Drug and alcohol abusers have a disruptive sleeping pattern. They may stay up all night and sleep all day, which interferes in class attendance and study time. Some drugs interfere with the ability to sleep, and the student is in a perpetual state of exhaustion.
  • Students caught up in addiction tend to avoid their friends. He or she doesn’t want to be known as an addict, and hides the condition by abandoning former friendships and making new less-desirable acquaintances.
  • Appearance is less important to the student using drugs. Clothing may look disheveled, hair is uncombed, and even his or her oral health is neglected.
  • If you observe strong character changes and mood swings in your child, drugs should be suspected.

Alcohol Addiction In College Students

Some students arrive at college already having a drinking problem. College has long been the stronghold of binge drinking. Weekend parties are all about the “ritual” of drinking, and they last from Friday afternoon until Sunday night. Some students can barely drag themselves to classes on Monday morning. Alcohol addiction in college students can have drastic consequences.

  • According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH), approximately 1,825 college students (18 to 24) die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries including car crashes. A drunk driving accident can result in the death or life-altering injury to the driver and to innocent victims.
  • Sexual assault is another result of college drinking, as is date rape.
  • Aggressive physical assaults also take place as a result of campus drinking. Nearly 700,000 students (18 to 24) are assaulted by a drunk classmate.

Is your daughter or son abusing alcohol at college? What are the signs you should watch for? Students abusing alcohol start missing classes, are always needing money, stop answering your phone calls, are always tired, experience feelings of hopelessness, express feelings of failure, and may harm themselves by cutting.

College Students Mental Health

According to the National Alliance on Mental Health Illness (NAMI), research show one in four students have a diagnoseable mental illness. College students mental health is often ignored. Of the students with problems, forty-percent do not seek help for their illness, eighty-percent are overwhelmed by school responsibilities, and fifty-percent suffer from anxiousness it causes them to struggle in school. Depression is common among college students. Depression symptoms vary, and the causes are diverse.

Symptoms can include, but are not limited to, loss of pleasure in activities once enjoyed, skipping social events, experiencing extremes in anger or sadness, having negative reactions most of the time, and frequently talking about death or suicide.

If you are concerned with the behavior of your college son or daughter, call Better Addiction Care (BAC) and ask about their free referral service to the best addiction treatment facility to meet your child’s needs.

Every day without treatment is a day closer to an overdose, alcohol poisoning, or a crime that can result in prison. Call (800) 429-7690 today, and help your child to get back on track with their education and future.


bullet National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism
"Harmful and Underage College Drinking"
Retrieved on May 04, 2018
bullet CNN
"Just say yes? The rise of ‘study drugs’ in college"
Retrieved on May 04, 2018
"11 Facts about Prescription drug abuse on college campuses"
Retrieved on May 04, 2018
bullet Substance Abuse and Mental Services Administration
"Prescription Drug Misuse Among College Students"
Retrieved on May 04, 2018

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