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Affluent College Students and Addiction

Nov 10, 2023

Affluent college students, who are often sheltered by status, face substance misuse problems that go unnoticed. The obstacles that this population faces over the course of a school year vary greatly and may leave them without adequate support. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the underlying causes that drive their substance use and point you in the direction of the treatment assistance your college-aged loved one may need.

Due to academic demands, accessibility of substances on campus, and unlimited resources to pay for them, affluent college students face increased addiction risks. Alcohol, prescription stimulants like Adderall, marijuana, and, on rare occasions, illicit drugs like cocaine are commonly abused substances by this student population. Parents of college-age students should recognize the warning signs of addiction, keep open lines of communication, and explore private and personalized treatment like the kind offered by Headwaters. In an environment catering to this demographic, a student can safely detox under medical supervision and learn coping skills to begin recovery and successfully meet their academic goals.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

10 Reasons Affluent College Students Use Drugs or Alcohol

Affluent college students may misuse drugs or alcohol for various reasons, including academic pressure, mental health issues, and the partying culture on campus.

1. Academic Pressure: High expectations and competitive environments drive the need for coping mechanisms that many students do not yet possess.
2. Peer Pressure: Affluent students’ social groups frequently involve substance use, making it more difficult to resist.
3. Boredom: A college student with a light course load and no extra-curricular activities may use excess free time for experimentation.
4. Access to Funds: A student from an affluent household with unlimited financial means can purchase both legal and illegal substances at any time.
5. Stress Relief: Students from prosperous backgrounds may turn to substances for relaxation in situations with greater demands and high expectations from parents and classmates.
6. Image and Peer Acceptance: Substance use may be viewed as a way to blend in, appear cool, or rebel against the family’s public image within their peer group.
7. Mental Health Issues: Students who are anxious or depressed may self-medicate. They may be unaware that they have a mental health condition if it’s never been diagnosed, or they may not take prescribed medications for anxiety or depression regularly.
8. Curiosity: Students from families of wealth may become interested in the effects of using drugs and begin experimenting.
9. Perception of Invulnerability: A student who believes that wealth will protect them from consequences may be more ready to use drugs or drink excessively.
10. Partying Culture: Some affluent colleges and universities have a strong party scene that encourages substance abuse.

These factors, combined with financial resources and the ability to avoid legal consequences, create a complex landscape that contributes to substance misuse among affluent college students.

What to Look for as a Parent

Parents should be on the lookout for minor behavioral changes in their college-age children that could indicate a drug or alcohol addiction. These include sudden declines in academic performance, withdrawal from social interactions and family, erratic mood swings, physical changes such as weight loss or bloodshot eyes, recurring requests for money without clear explanations, neglect of responsibilities such as missed classes or work, secretive behavior surrounding their whereabouts and activities, a loss of interest in hobbies they once enjoyed, legal issues related to substance use, and shifts in personality. Recognizing these warning signals and obtaining expert help early on is critical for treating potential addiction issues.

If you or a loved one need help, call our admissions team today at 561-270-1753.

Help for a College Student at Headwaters

By discreetly seeking help at Headwaters, parents can provide crucial assistance to their college student who is struggling with addiction. Our private treatment facility provides a serene and welcoming setting where students can address substance misuse issues without fear of judgment or stigma. Headwaters specializes in individualized treatment, focusing on both addiction recovery and meeting mental health needs. A parent’s role in treatment can continue through active participation from assessment to continuing care as part of family healing. Once a student is working on their sober goals and ready to return to academic pursuits, additional support will be valuable in helping them stay in recovery.

Tour Headwaters
Bedroom at HeadwatersHanley Foundation’s Headwaters is a non-profit addiction treatment program for executives, public figures, other affluent individuals, and their loved ones. Headwaters offers leading-edge, personalized clinical care for mental health and substance use disorders, and our professional and compassionate staff can help you achieve holistic wellness. To start your healing journey, call 561-270-1753 today.

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