The #5 mental health problem? Addictive behaviors. Partying and engaging in alcohol and drug use has become commonplace on many college campuses. But what often starts as a social behavior can escalate into addiction. Think of an additive behavior as a dependency on and repeated abuse of something. People tend to think of addiction primarily in terms of drugs and alcohol but it can include food, gambling, sex, and almost anything that gives the brain a reward (even over-exercising). In terms of alcohol, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that:
- About 80% of college students drink
- About 50% of those are binge drinkers
- 1,825 students, ages 18 to 24, die from alcohol-related injuries annually
- Students are more likely to be assaulted, sexually abused or injured by someone who’s been drinking
- About 25% of students who drink regularly report academic problems
- Do you feel uncomfortable when drugs or alcohol are not available?
- Do you drink heavily when you are disappointed, distressed or get in a fight?
- Have you ever been unable to remember part of the previous evening, even though your friends say you did not pass out?
- Has a friend or family member expressed concern about your alcohol or drug use?
- Have any of your blood relatives had an addiction to drugs or alcohol?
- Do you sometimes want to continue your drug and alcohol use when you’re by yourself?
If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions or think you might have an addictive behavior related to something else, contact your student health care center today and find out what your options for treatment are on campus. Following are additional resources: