College Pressures and Substance Abuse
By: Lakeview Health Staff
Published: August 10, 2012

Ace College Pressure

For graduating students college life means freedom from parents and rules, and it is a sense of independence that is wildly anticipated throughout their senior year of high school. However, along with the excitement to attend college, students may also feel pressure to succeed, pressure to make new friends, and other self-inflicted stress. For many students this is their first time away from the guidance and support of their parents, and the excitement of freedom can sometimes be short lived by the expectations set. Students are often times catapulted into becoming adults rather quickly and are forced to adjust to being able to manage school, work, and a social life in perfect harmony. Getting familiar with these pressures will help to determine the best approach to minimize their affects.

Below are the 3 Common College Pressures:

  1. Parental Pressure – Don’t disappoint parents and loved ones.
  2. Social Pressure – Live alone without assistance and manage peer influence.
  3. Academic Pressure – Study all night if necessary to make the grade. Don’t fail.

Due to these pressures, many students will seek ways to obtain stress relief. Unfortunately, instead of opting for exercising to decompress, many will turn to the use of  alcohol and drugs. Students often find using alcohol or drugs as an escape or a coping mechanism. The risk, of course, is that they may sabotage their education, or worse their lives. If we can help them to manage the pressures, we may be able to help decrease the number of students that abuse of alcohol and drugs.

Substance Abuse for Relief

It is an unfortunate truth that college campuses are infested with alcohol and drugs. When trying to alleviate pressure or stress, the accessiblility of substances makes for a viable option.. In addition, college events may be surrounded by alcohol, such as social fraternity and sorority functions, or tailgating before football games. Freedom from rules, the watchful parental eye and less demanding teachers give students a sense of independence. This independence comes with a choice to either participate in substance abuse or find healthier ways to seek relief.

Turn Down the Pressure

Every college offers orientation weekends, however many colleges do not talk about how to successfully mange college stress. As parents and loved ones of college students, we want them to be successful and not succumb to the demands of college. It is important for us to be encouraging with a real perspective of college pressures. Students should have realistic expectations regarding parental, social and academic pressure to avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse and failure. Educating our students about alcohol and drug abuse consequences may only deter them for a little while. We must also offer additional options such as exercise programs, individual counseling and staying connected to family back home.