addictions and problem awareness on campus

Posted : December 4, 2006
Last Updated : December 17, 2019

addictions and problem awareness on campus

College campuses are breeding grounds for many addictions and problems. Three of the main addictions affecting college students include: Internet addiction, substance abuse, and gambling.

Internet Addiction

Being addicted to the Internet is a major problem among college campuses, so much so that it is an actual disorder, Internet Addiction Disorder (IAD). A student with IAD has developed a tolerance to the Internet, has developed withdrawal symptoms, has often surfed the Internet for longer than intended, and has socially isolated himself from family or friends. IAD is common among college campuses because of accessibility and problems with adapting to college life. First, college students have free and unlimited Internet access. They have no online services to pay, no limits for logging on, and round-the-clock computer labs, personal computers, tablets, or smart phones. Second, some students may have problems adapting to the social aspects of college, making the Internet seem like a safe haven. If a student doesn't make friends well in social situations, he may find it easier to communicate with people online. Signs of Internet addiction may include:

  • Slightly depressed mood
  • Changes in sleep schedule
  • Frequently missing classes
  • Poor academic performance
  • Conflict with parents

Substance Abuse

Substance abuse, particularly alcohol abuse, runs rampant on many college campuses. Because some alcohol (e.g. beer) is cheap and easily obtainable, binge drinking (the consumption of five or more drinks in one sitting) is common among underage and legal-age college students. Marijuana use is also fairly common among college students. It is the most frequently used illicit drug in the United States. The abundance of parties on many campuses makes substance abuse a potential problem for many students. Warning signs may include:

  • Mood swings
  • Change in physical appearance
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Frequently missing classes
  • Deteriorated academic performance


Gambling is a pretty common experience for college students. The occasional betting on a sports team or during a card game poses little harm. However, when a student starts gambling in excess and going into debt, it becomes a problem. College students may develop an addiction to gambling to win money, for excitement, for intellectual challenge, and to have something to do away from the regular routine of college life. Warning signs may include:

  • Using financial aid money for gambling or to replace money lost at gambling
  • Frequently missing classes
  • Decline in academic performance
  • Lying about the extent of gambling

As a parent, it is crucial for you to know about possible problems and addictions your student may be facing at college. If you have reason to believe that your student has an addiction, contact your child's school to find out what counseling resources they have available.

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