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Will I Fall Behind in College if I Go to Drug Rehab?

young college manIf you’re struggling with drug and alcohol abuse in college, you’re far from alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse Monitoring the Future Report (which assess drug and alcohol use in adolescents and young adults, primarily in secondary education) shows that 51% of students use alcohol, 42% use drugs like cannabis, and 7.2% use stimulant drugs like Adderall without a prescription. Millions of Americans use drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress and anxiety of college, heavy workloads, and changing social lives around the pandemic – meaning that a significant amount of college students end up with symptoms of substance use disorder, known as addiction.

The answer to addiction is to go to rehab. But, if you’re facing a busy college schedule, it can be difficult to set aside the time to go to rehab now. Many of us are tempted to go “I’ll finish college and go to rehab later”. But, continued drug abuse actually reduces your chances of graduating, harms your grade, and puts you at risk of physical and mental health disorders. Getting help and as soon as possible is the best option for your health and your future – but will it mean you fall behind in college?

The short answer is, “not necessarily”, but it may. And, that might be okay if it means you graduate as a happier and healthier version of yourself.

Options to Go to Treatment While You Study

Outpatient treatment is a type of rehab where you go to addiction treatment during the week and spend your days at home or in your dorm. Here, you typically have an evening schedule, where you’ll show up to the rehabilitation clinic at 4 or 5 PM and stay until 9 or even 10 PM. You’ll have a daily course of treatment including therapy, group therapy, and counseling. However, you’ll also have the opportunity to continue going to college at the same time.

Outpatient rehab can be a great option because:

  • It’s as effective as inpatient care if you have a light or mild drug abuse problem
  • You can study during the day and attend your classes and then go to therapy at night
  • Outpatient care takes up your social time, so you don’t hang out with people who use or drink

It also has a significant number of disadvantages:

  • Outpatient care is much less effective because patients are three times less likely to finish treatment, because it’s too easy to drop out.
  • It reduces time you have to study
  • You’ll have to split focus between study and your therapy
  • If you already have a demanding schedule, you could quickly become overwhelmed

In short, outpatient care can give you opportunities to get help with your substance abuse while going to college. As long as you can keep up, you won’t fall behind. But, it’s important to keep in mind that this is a demanding schedule and it may be overwhelming. And, if one of your problems is that the people in your dorm use or drink, you might want to look for a sober living solution as well.

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Timing Your Rehab Visit

a young college lady creating a schedule for rehab visitAnother option is to time your visit to rehab with a college break. For example, winter break, spring break, and summer break each give you several weeks to go to rehab without impeding college.

  • Winter Break – typically two weeks – so you’ll only need two weeks off from college to go to rehab
  • Spring Break – Typically you’ll need two weeks off
  • Summer Break – You can attend a full course of rehab, including a longer-term program lasting up to 90 days, without impeding your college schedule

Here, the question is always, “is it safe to wait that long”. Here, you may want to opt for something like outpatient rehab until the break comes around, and then move into inpatient care.

Aligning rehab with a break may also mean that you’ll have more options to go to rehab with an entirely college-based group. That means finding a group that is roughly your age and with your own experiences, which may benefit your recovery experience. However, this won’t always be available. In addition, you’ll have to call rehab centers to determine if they have treatment programs starting in alignment with your study schedule.

In addition, it’s important to keep in mind that if you need help you need help. Waiting 3 weeks for a break to start may mean you don’t end up going. And, that could have disastrous impacts on your study and your future quality of life. So, trying to protect your study deadlines now won’t always be the best thing for the future.

Taking the College Delay

It’s important to keep in mind that substance use disorders are considered a temporary disability. You’ll be able to get support for a delay – typically in the form of counseling or a student advisor who can help you decide to limit or catch up on your studies. If you take a 30-day break for a standard rehab program, you’ll likely still be able to catch up. That’s especially true if you were still doing well on studies despite your substance use disorder. However, it’s also very likely that the drug addiction is already interfering with your studies anyway, your performance isn’t as good as it could be, and you might have to study to catch up anyway.

Here, most colleges offer support programs to help you manage substance use disorders and other mental health disorders. You’ll be able to discuss your circumstances, your performance, and your goals with a counselor and then make a study plan with them. That may mean delaying graduation by a year so you have time to get treatment, recover, and fully dedicate yourself to study. It may also mean taking on counseling or tutoring to catch up and avoid having a delay. However, that advice will entirely depend on you, your mental health, and your current performance at your college.

In every case, the most important step is that you get into treatment. Substance use disorders damage your mental health, impede your ability to graduate at all, create risks of physical health problems and conditions, and greatly impact your quality of life. Getting treatment and getting back in control should be your first goal – so you can get back on track with your studies and your life.

f you or your loved-one struggles from alcoholism or other substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. 10 Acre Ranch also has specialty tracks like our pet friendly drug rehab and couples substance abuse treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.