Depression is pervasive amongst US college students with as many as 22% suffering from it. Suicide is the second leading cause of death in this population. In the midst of a pivotal developmental transition rife with challenges, incoming freshmen are often maladjusted in establishing a new social support system, meeting academic expectations, and living in a new environment.
Those with previous depressive symptoms are the most at risk. Depressive symptoms are associated with a variety of consequences such as poor GPA, attrition, less satisfying relationships, and poor coping skills. Studies have shown that the first year of college is when the most psychological problems surface and when the highest levels of distress are typically reported.
The higher the rates of drug and alcohol abuse and depression indicate a high rate of comorbidity between the two issues. College students with increased depressive symptoms report increased rates of drug and alcohol consumption.
While there are several studies that have not found differences in alcohol consumption rates between depressed and non-depressed college students, others have revealed that individuals experiencing problems like depression, have a greater likelihood in engaging in drug and alcohol abuse as a mood stabilizer.
College is a huge transition for most young people, often accompanied by a great deal of stress. It is important for parents, friends, counselors and faculty to step in if they suspect a student is suffering from depression and drug and alcohol abuse.
Students themselves are often reluctant to seek help due to social stigmas surrounding depression. While the best treatments may be minor lifestyle adjustments including more exercise, meditation and relaxation, they can’t help everyone. Those who are at serious risk in their struggle with drug and alcohol abuse, should seek a professional drug and alcohol abuse treatment program.
Don’t face addiction alone. New England Recovery Center can help you or a loved one overcome drug and alcohol abuse.