Attending college has become a serious mental health challenge for many Americans. Anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation are widespread among today’s students. So is substance use. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about a quarter of college students report “academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, falling behind in class, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.” A troubling 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder. The misuse of marijuana, prescription drugs, and illicit drugs is on the rise as well.

Addiction has derailed many a college degree. Students who are self-medicating academic stress or underlying mental health issues may end up developing a substance use disorder, and academic achievement is likely to suffer as a result.

Going back to college after treatment could be an important recovery goal. For young adults, in particular, a key element of recovery should be identifying and working on a career—including getting a degree. This can be a difficult challenge for people with substance use disorder, though, as they may have missed out on education, and going back into an environment infused with drug and alcohol use may seem dangerous.

Acquiring life skills during treatment is key. Successful students need to be able to manage their emotions, recognize addiction triggers, and rely on their support system. With good coping skills and appropriate time management, they have a much better chance to resist any temptations to use drugs or alcohol and not succumb to stress.

Many Encore clients in the DC metro area are motivated to achieve educational success, but need additional support and resources. Our academic coaches work with our clients to acquire transcripts, support retroactive withdrawals, complete applications, prepare for interviews, ensure appropriate study habits and test-taking skills, and monitor progress.