Be Smart About The Fun You Have


Substance abuse seems like a very scary topic because of the media’s portrayal and people’s individual perceptions. This is a major issue for college students because of the abuse of multiple substances. So how much is too much? As a college student, I have witnessed the abuse of one or multiple substances as well as an inability to stop. The top three most abused substances on college campuses according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse are alcohol, marijuana, and stimulant drugs (i.e. Adderall, cocaine, etc). There are a variety of reasons for using any of these drugs from stress to just plain old curiosity. Throughout this post I plan to focus on the substance abuse of stimulant drugs and alcohol.

 Alcohol is seen as the biggest substance issue on campuses because it is socially acceptable; making it difficult to see when drinking is problematic. Many of us see drinking in college as a right of passage and underage drinking is no big deal. Acceptable social drinking includes a few beers, mixed drinks, or a glass of wine. The problem is when people binge drink to achieve intoxication. Problematic drinking (abuse or alcoholism) is hard to point out during the college years. Some of the signs to determine alcohol abuse or addiction are: engaging in dangerous activity (drinking and driving), increased tolerance and drinking more than normal to get a buzz, and drinking even though you know it is causing problems. Overall, many of us believe drinking in college is what makes it fun right? Being educated when you do drink and inform your friends so they know when enough is truly enough. Help a friend or yourself if you see some of these signs. If you are not sure where to turn or how to help using Help Guide is a great place to start.

Stimulant drugs are the second most abused substance on college campuses because of the effects they have. They can give you an increased alertness, attention span, and energy. According to “Get the Facts”, a few of the reasons college students report misusing/abusing prescription drugs is to improve their grades, enhance concentration in class and/or focus during late-night study sessions or all nightiers, and reduce stress. Some of the easy physical and behavioral signs that show if someone might be abusing stimulant drugs (Adderall, Ritalin, and etc.) are hyperactivity, paranoia/nervousness, and sudden mood changes. I do not want to bore you with all the facts, but these are essential to figuring out if you or someone you know needs help.

Helping others takes a willingness to change. I do know a few college students who do not necessarily abuse stimulant drugs, but engage in a lot of binge drinking. Personally, I do not drink, but when I see this I do make an attempt to keep them safe by making sure there is no drinking and driving. As a college student, I do not think negatively of drinking, but I do believe people should educate themselves for safety during a fun night out.



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It’s A Disorder, Not A Decision

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Mental health is just as vital as your physical health. Why are so many afraid of the mental health diagnosis? A diagnosis of mental illness may seem scary, but a misdiagnosis or no treatment at all is worse. The mental illnesses that seem to plague college students the most are depression and anxiety, but there are many more. According to National Alliance on Mental Illness, 1 in 5 young adults live with a mental health condition. The growing concern of students with a mental illness should be one of the main concerns on college campuses. The consistency of good health for a student body is important for their success. The main mental illnesses I will focus on are depression and anxiety as they are the most severe and plague about 60% of college students.

What is depression? Many people do not even think of depression as an illness. People say things like “ you are mentally weak” or “you are just sad because you want to be.” No one chooses to have a mental illness and depression is definitely one of them. Depression can have a number of symptoms including physical ones. One thing most people do not know about depression is that there are many different types. The most common types are: major depression, persistent depressive disorder, and psychotic depression. A few of the many identifying factors of depression are: persistent sadness, anxiousness or “empty” moods, feelings of hopelessness, decreased energy, and fatigue. There are many other symptoms besides these that you or someone else can be dealing with. The Treatment of depression is limited, which is why research continues to discover new techniques to combat depression. The most effective treatments are psychotherapy or a combination of therapy and medication.

Anxiety also plagues many college students and is now at the top of the list for the most common mental health issue. Anxiety is generally defined as a feeling of fear or panic, but there are physical and mental differences. Increased heart rate, dry mouth, and muscle tension are some of the common physical symptoms while fatigue, lack of sleep or concentration, and irritability are mental symptoms of anxiety. This mental illness can be confused with stress because they are very similar, but stress can sometimes be considered a reaction to anxiety. The treatments for anxiety are somewhat similar to those for depression in that therapy and medication are also used. Additionally, there are self-help methods such as therapy groups and talking with someone are two examples.

I have personally known someone who struggles with depression and they are good at hiding their true feelings until everything comes tumbling down. I see the symptoms they struggle with everyday and try to help them by giving them someone to talk with openly. If you know someone or you yourself might be struggling with one of these two mental issues or think that it is another one visit National Health Institute of Mental Health to help you or a friend.

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Eating Disorders are Like Being Stopped at a Green Light

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Eating disorders affect people of all ages and both men and women. Do you believe that you have ever suffered from an eating disorder at some point in your life? There are three main types of eating disorders the plague college students: Anorexia, Bulimia, and Binge-Eating. According to Daniel Eisenberg’s article in Journal of American College Health, 8% to 17% of college students are victims of eating disorders. To apply these numbers to Longwood’s student population, 400 (8%) of our 5000 students could potentially suffer from an eating disorder. We will be exploring two of these eating disorders and how they are different as well as many helpful tips to aid and prevent these issues.

Bulimia, the most dangerous of these eating disorders, is a cycle of compulsive eating followed by self-induced vomiting. Similarly to anorexia, victims of bulimia are overly consumed by their body image. Signs also include frequent periods of uncontrollable eating and regurgitation. Tips for bulimia are limited because of how dangerous of an eating disorder this is. The most important tip for victims of bulimia is to find and work with specialists within a treatment program.

Binge-Eating is the consumption of large amounts of food in a short period of time. We all have that one favorite food that we believe we could eat for days, but this eating disorder can be seen as more of an addiction. Binge eaters uncontrollably eat massive amounts of food, sometimes in secret. Some tips to avoid this are to stop eating before you get stuffed, eat slowly and only when hungry.

Eating disorders plague many young adults who have a misguided view of themselves and just want to fit in. Many of the causes of these eating disorders result from mental health issues as well as social pressures. The more aware everyone is about eating disorders, the more likely we are to avoid suffering from these issues as well as help those who are already victims. Victims of eating disorders should not be criticized or condemned for what they are dealing with. If you or anyone you know suffers from an eating disorder, talk to them, educate them, and potentially save a life. To find additional information on any of these orders and or to find more ways to help yourself or someone else check out the Walden Center.


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