Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC, Special Projects Coordinator at Eating Disorder Hope/Addiction Hope
For many students experiencing the college life, this time period can bring about many new changes and opportunities. The transition to college, the process of becoming more independent, and gaining new responsibilities can lead to increased pressure and anxiety. There is often a pressure to perform and achieve a certain standard in college as well, whether it is attaining a certain GPA, maintaining a scholarship, exceling in a collegiate sport, being involved in many activities, or simply fitting in with a group of friends. Whatever the situation may be, it is not uncommon for college students to experience increased stress as they undergo many of the transitions that come during this time period.
For the college student who may have an underlying anxiety disorder, such as generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety, the experiences in college can be overwhelming and triggering. The events or circumstances that a college student might experience can trigger a pre-existing anxiety disorder or make a condition more difficult to manage. Various triggers can arise during the college experience, whether internal or external, that can make anxiety an extremely difficult thing to manage.
While there are many healthy ways to address and cope with anxiety, students may commonly search for a way that offers instant relief, particularly for anxiety that is overwhelming. When anxiety becomes part of daily existence or inhibits a person from carrying on their normal schedules and daily activities, finding a way to manage and deal with anxiety is crucial. Unfortunately, many individuals may look for relief in ways that can be harmful and detrimental, such as through substance abuse.
Turning to Drug Use
Students may commonly turn to drug use as a means of escaping from a reality that is much too difficult to face or deal with. One such drug is LSD, or lysergic acid diethylamide. LSD is commonly known by the street names of Acid, Yellow Sunshine, Cid, Blue Heaven, Cubes, and Blotter. LSD is produced illegally in laboratories and sold illicitly on the streets in tablets, capsules, and sometimes liquid forms. LSD is one of the strongest hallucinogenic drugs, which can dramatically alter one’s thoughts, and perception of reality. The use of LSD distorts many common functions in the brain, including sensations, cognition, judgment, feelings, mood and more. The use of LSD can also influence the experience of delusions and hallucinations, particularly when taken in high doses.
Students struggling with anxiety and looking for a means of altering their reality may turn to the use of LSD as a means of a temporary escape. While this may offer a superficial sense of relief from the anxiety that is being experienced, the use of LSD can result in many short and long term consequences. When separated from what is reality under the influence of LSD, many unexpected situations may arise, including fatal accidents. The use of LSD can severely disrupt the normal development and growth of the brain and nervous system, which can lead to brain damage for college students in their late teens and early twenties.
The use of LSD can only lead to harmful consequences and cannot help address the root cause of anxiety. While it may feel as though it is offering escape and relief from anxiety, it can only lead to more complicated issues and problems. Anxiety is a harsh reality that many college students deal with, but it is important to take appropriate measures to dealing with and managing these conditions.
If you have been struggling with anxiety during your time as a college student, be sure to reach out to someone you trust about what you are experiencing. Many wellness centers on college campuses offer counseling or support groups to help students through mental health issues. You might also be able to find referral sources to therapists within your community that can also help assist you with management of anxiety. If you have been dealing with an addiction to LSD in addition to an anxiety disorder, be sure to inquire about treatment for co-occurring disorders.
Community Discussion – Share your thoughts here!
What circumstances on college make students more prone to dealing with anxiety?
The opinions and views of our guest contributors are shared to provide a broad perspective of addictions and co-occurring disorders. These are not necessarily the views of Addiction Hope, but an effort to offer a discussion of various issues by different concerned individuals. We at Addiction Hope understand that addictions result from a combination of environmental and genetic factors. If you or a loved one are suffering from an addiction, please know that there is hope for you, and seek immediate professional help.
Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on September 3, 2015. Published on AddictionHope.com