When Outpatient Treatment is Not Enough: What are my Options as a College Student?

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope

The recovery process from substance abuse addiction is one through progresses and changes over time.  Difficult circumstances can present challenges and obstacles to the individual striving for recovery and attempting to remain sober from an addiction to drugs or alcohol.  Part of the recovery process is being able to recognize when and if more help and treatment is necessary.  Relapses and struggles are part of the process of recovering from addiction, and utilizing the resources available for treatment can help an individual get through difficult patches that arise through the journey.

College Setbacks are Common

Sad female teenagerAs a college student, it is not uncommon to experience setbacks in addiction recovery.  What is important is knowing when a higher level of care is needed to continue the treatment process and sustain ongoing recovery.  For the college student in recovery, outpatient care is typically appropriate and doable for the individual who needs support while returning to a regular schedule (including classes, work, etc.).  However, if a student finds themselves needing more structure to sustain sobriety or perhaps has relapsed into drug or alcohol use, a higher level of care may be necessary.  This may possibly include residential care, partial hospitalization, or intensive outpatient care.

mother with  adult daughter having serious conversationIf you are a college student and have found yourself in a relapse or struggling with addiction behaviors, be sure to reach out for support to get the appropriate care you need.  A professional counselor or therapist who specializes in addiction recovery can help assess what level of treatment might be most effective for you, given any symptoms you are experiencing or destructive addiction behaviors.

While it can be difficult to move to a higher level of treatment, especially while in college, remember that your life is on the line.  Even if it is necessary for you to take a leave of absence from school to receive treatment for addiction, this is an important and necessary step for you to find the freedom you need to live life to your fullest potential. 


Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!

Are you a college student in recovery from addiction and substance abuse?  What resources were helpful to you when you needed extra support during your recovery journey?  How did you know if you needed a higher level of care for treatment?


Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on August 20, 2015. Published on AddictionHope.com