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What Causes College Students To Abuse Alcohol?

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There are many reasons why college students turn to abusing drugs and alcohol which reach beyond the simple justification of “college”. Academic stress, a drinking culture, and immaturity which inhibits adaptability and proper coping skills can all contribute. Students who are in college full time are twice as likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.


College students today are under more stress than they ever have been before. Student loans are at a high, job prospects are low. In order to pay for school in order to get a better job, they have to get jobs during school. After school, they have to get a better job to pay for school. In addition to financial stress, students can face a rigorous academic load, extracurricular demands, and transitions in social systems. Most colleges don’t teach stress management techniques to help students cope and properly manage themselves.

Drinking Culture

College towns have the highest density of bars and liquor stores per capita than any other kind of area in America. Alcohol advertisements target college aged students specifically. College is known for being a time when young people can escape the watchful eye of their parents. In the media, college is sensationalized for wild parties full of drug experimentation and excessive alcohol consumption. Thinking that this is “normal” for the college experience, many students begin to use alcohol unknowing that they are prone to developing a chemical dependency.

Poor Coping Skills

Living independently and making one’s own decisions can be equally as debilitating as it can be liberating. For young people who had “helicopter parents” or never developed independent life skills, the freedom and responsibility of college can be too much. To cope, they turn to drugs and alcohol.

Genetic Predisposition

Some addicts and alcoholics are just waiting for their first drink or drug. People have reported knowing from their first sip or hit that they were going to have a problem. Many young people don’t discover their genetic tendency toward addiction until they get to college and start abusing substances.

Working with a part time treatment program while you are in school is possible and is manageable. Design For Change offers specialized treatment programs for students currently enrolled who are seeking refuge in recovery. If you are a student and need help recovering from substance abuse issues, call us today at (877) 267-3646.

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