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Navigating Academia with Co-Occurring Use Disorders

Navigating Academia with Co-Occurring Use Disorders

Have you ever heard someone say, “just try harder”, or “suck it up that’s life?” This is the response we, as society, use for someone suffering with a substance use disorder or other mental health disorders. A lot of this has to do with the lack of knowledge or awareness of how prevalent substance use and mental health disorders are today.

Think back to when you were in college and remember that person that stands out as the “drug user” in your group of friends. How successful was that person? Now, imagine that person is suffering from an untreated mental health disorder such as generalized anxiety disorder and began using substances to “feel better” or be “more confident” in their daily life.

Co-occurring disorders can arise resulting in that student needing more and more substances in order to “feel better.” That student’s substance use now meets the criteria as a substance use disorder, along with the untreated generalized anxiety disorder. Some of you may be reading this thinking, how common could that actually be? The truth of the matter is that currently there are many students on a university campus living with an untreated mental health disorder self-medicating with any number of substances.

At Life of Purpose Middle Tennessee, we are a continuum of care that provides intensive outpatient services as well as academically focused aftercare to assist our clients with a slow re-integration into independent living. A person will usually go through a residential treatment setting or partial hospitalization before admitting into intensive outpatient. At this level of care, we are continuing to treat the co-occurring disorders by implementing group therapy, individual therapy, and case management.

A student in recovery with a properly treated mental health disorder has the ability to show a 180 degree turn in all aspects of life, including academia. We are building our clients self-esteem and creating a positive self-identity by simply allowing them to realize their true potential. The day a student passes their first college course in recovery you can physically see a difference in their demeanor and quality of life. However, this is an unlikely occurrence without properly addressing the needs of a student suffering from co-occurring disorders.

 

 

 

 

 

Benjamin Jones

Executive Director

Life of Purpose Tennessee

bjones@lifeofpurposetreatment.com

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