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What is the Leading Cause of Addiction Among College Students?

college students holding beer bottles while tapping them together
Written by CB Community

Substance abuse and addiction is a very serious thing that can cause a person’s life to quickly deteriorate. From spending tons of money just to get a fix, to falling behind in school or work, this problem can grow if left unattended. Fortunately, there are ways to identify what causes addiction and taking action towards curbing the behaviors.

Here are several of the leading causes of addiction among college students.

Party lifestyle

While college is supposed to be used to gain a higher education and prepare you for the workforce, it is often seen as a massive platform for partying by many students. Students are often seen drinking at weekly parties and are very excited for the next opportunity they have to drink.

Alcohol is not the only thing at play here either. Drugs are often seen at parties and can be used recreationally by many. How can this lead to addiction? By partaking in this kind of behavior every weekend, your body begins to become dependent on how the substance makes it feel and starts to want them more frequently. What started out as a simple party can quickly turn into a much more dangerous lifestyle. Luckily for you, there are ways you can go about treating your addiction if needed. One of the best and proven methods would be to look into an addiction counselor and employ their services. These professionals will try to find the root cause of the addiction and go about creating a strategic plan for you to get better. They are also great at understanding your brain and determining if you have an addictive personality or not.

Many people do not know this, but some people’s brains are genetically programmed to fall to addictions more frequently than others. Remember that when you go out, it is not a competition to see who can drink the most. Stay responsible and stay within your limits. It is perfectly fine to have a few beers, but to make it become a habit is where it can lead to addiction. Be careful and try to avoid developing a party lifestyle so you do not fall into addiction in college.


Stress is often the leading cause of addiction not only among students but among people in the workforce as well. College students have to deal with a plethora of stress; from grades to due dates, as well as, managing relationships. This is a lot to ask for from a person in their late teens and early twenties. As a result, these students can begin to turn to a method to cope with the overwhelming stress they are experiencing. Alcohol and marijuana are the two that are most often used to self medicate and create a distracting feeling for the student. The problem with this, however, is not only are you developing an addiction, but you are not actually dealing with any of the problems that are causing you to have stress in the first place.

Many student’s grades start to suffer due to poor time management and poor scheduling. Take the time to plan your weeks, figure out what is due (and when), so that you can tackle everything at a proper time instead of procrastinating. There is nothing worse than realizing that you have four assignments due the next day. While it is completely normal to be stressed out in school, the way you deal with it is what can make it worse.


Anxiety is similar to stress and is most often caused during exam time for students. Having to write one test that is worth 50 percent of your mark can be absolutely terrifying for some and they begin to develop anxiety attacks and are unable to study or work. Once again, they can turn to drugs and alcohol to medicate the problem, but then they are left in a position where they are unfit to study for the test. Anxiety is a crippling disorder and if you feel that you are suffering from it, you can go to a doctor and get it diagnosed and checked out. Don’t let your college career create new addictions in your life.

There are many pressures that college students have to face daily in their educational career. This can lead to a huge build-up of stress and anxiety leading students to turn to whatever method they can to feel better. Don’t be afraid to get help for an addiction and reclaim your life if you feel things are getting out of control.

For more great college tips, check out the other blogs on College Basics.

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.