University Students Ultimate Guide To Drugs, Alcohol And Addiction


Some of the volunteers were at Drink ‘n’ Drugs are students studying a wide range of courses that are somehow related to addiction and recovery. Plus, all of them have had issues with substance misuse or psychological and physical dependency to various substances. That means we know what it’s like to be in your shoes as you work your way through school. Our combination of real life experience and professional training and clinical experience makes it possible for us to provide you with reliable information about drugs, alcohol and addiction for students.

To get you started thinking in that direction, we have put together this student guide to alcohol, drugs and addiction.


Now You Have Freedom

Going to university is as much about experiencing your first taste of freedom and independence as it is about preparing for your career and any other postgraduate training you may need to do for your job of choice.

For many young adults, going to university is the first opportunity they have to live away from their parents. It can all be very exciting. Yet all of this new freedom and the experiences that you’ll shortly face means being suddenly faced with a lot of unfamiliar choices and new possible temptations, some involving the temptation or social pressure to use alcohol and drugs.

If you haven’t already been faced with such choices, you most likely will be at some point in your university life. We want you to be as well prepared as you can be so that you make good choices and avoid the negative consequences that come with drug and alcohol misuse or addiction.

We hope you will take the time to educate yourself about drug and alcohol misuse and addiction, including facing the reality of how harmful substance use can be. These include taking other peoples prescribed medications, over the counter medicines and others.


The University Drug Culture

For example, it is natural for a student to want to relax and chill out for a while. One might go for a few beers with friends at a local pub or student bar as a normal social exercise for this very purpose. But students can unwittingly start down the road of addiction if they don’t control their drinking, begin dabbling in drugs or become reliant on substances in order to relax and feel “normal”.

Once started, it can often be difficult to stop. This is combined with the pressures of exams, assignments and deadlines can also inadvertently lead them to seek relief from substances to help them cope.

Since the 1960s, the universities and colleges that have taught multiple generations of students that also have had a culture of drug and alcohol use. Students tend to be attracted to this culture inasmuch as they have free time they need to fill with something other than studying.

University is supposed to be a special place to enjoy a great educational experience, as well as a unique time in your life. Don’t throw it away by embracing the drug and alcohol culture. Your life and future are worth far more than the temporary relief or enjoyment that you may get from drug and alcohol use.


Classes of Drugs Commonly Misused At University

An important part of avoiding the alcohol and drug culture is understanding what kind of substances people are using. To that end, there are different classes of drugs commonly found on university campuses and the surrounding town or cities. The most often misused are listed below.

Stimulants

Stimulants are drugs that affect your central nervous system to increase alertness and energy levels. In many cases, stimulants also produce feelings of euphoria as well. The most prevalent stimulant drug is caffeine, a drug most of us take for granted. More dangerous stimulants also include cocaine, ecstasy, amphetamines and methamphetamine.

Students tend to gravitate toward stimulants out of a desire to want to party all night long or want to stay up all night cram in extra study time before important exams. They want to maximise their time away from studies, and stimulants make that possible.

Along those same lines, other students may use stimulants to help them stay awake for long periods so they can finish assignments or prepare for an exam. What students often do not understand is that stimulants are highly addictive.

Even using them 2,3 or 4 times can lead to a psychological and physical dependency upon these types of substances. This is even more so at universities that are located in big towns or cities, and those that have a large “party scene” like nightclubs and others. This can be where some students decide to try a line of cocaine because everyone else that they’re with is also doing it. This peer pressure can then lead to a heap of other issues associated with substance use.

Depressants

Depressants have the opposite effect of stimulants. In other words, they tend to slow everything down. These drugs can reduce energy levels and alertness; they can produce mellow feelings, encourage relaxation and cause feelings such as contentment.

If you use alcohol, you already use one of the most commonly misused depressants in the world. Alcohol and other similar drugs are dangerous in that they can trigger depression and anxiety, in addition to damaging vital body tissues such as the liver and kidneys.

Other substances in this category also include anxiety medications such as Pregabalin or Gabapentin or other prescribed medications or natural substances like mushrooms.

Hallucinogens

Hallucinogenic drugs take their name from the fact that they have the ability to induce hallucinations. LSD is probably the most well-known in this class during these modern times. Hallucinogens are experimental drugs at universities, presumably due to the mindset that university is a place to explore new ideas and to try new experiences.

Other substances in this category include magic mushrooms which are becoming more and more popular in the last 5 years. However using magic mushrooms can be extremely dangerous because most people experience either positive “trips” or negative ones. Negative trips can seem so real and frightening that they can actually trigger psychotic episodes or worsen any pre-existing mental health conditions that you may already have.

The good news about hallucinogens is that they do not tend to be physically addictive. However, they can be psychologically addictive and physically dangerous. They can induce terrifying hallucinations that can lead to violent or risky behaviours. Many of them produce harmful side effects such as increased heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.

Other kinds of drugs you need to be aware of include cannabinoids, benzodiazepines, and legal highs. Each of these classes involves different drugs with varying levels of addictiveness and the potential to harm human health. Make yourself familiar with the possible dangers before you are tempted to use them.

Opioids/Opiates

Opioids are mainly used for the treatment of severe acute pain and for long term chronic pain (however this isn’t best practice, but it is still being done). These drugs include: heroin, fentanyl, codeine, morphine, oxycodone and tramadol.

They produce a feeling of contentment, relaxation and peace. They also suppress your central nervous system which means they lower your blood pressure and breathing. They are highly addictive and should only be used in extreme circumstances and for the shortest possible time in order to mitigate most of the risk of becoming addicted to them. However this is still possible as it is with any substance.


No Drug Is Safe & Free From Risk

The last thing we want you to know before closing this guide is a very simple truth: no drug is safe. You will undoubtedly hear people tell you that there are certain substances you can take that are completely harmless, drugs that can be used indiscriminately and with no serious risk. Do not believe them.

Every substance you put into your body affects you in some way. Is that not why we consider taking them in the first place, or why we sometimes look down on smoking or drug use? Of course it is. If smoking cigarettes is bad for your health, does it not stand to reason that smoking marijuana is equally bad? Absolutely.

In addition to the damage that can be caused to your physical health, you also need to consider your mental health. Any drug that has psychoactive effects is capable of creating psychological dependence. And whether you know it or not, psychological dependence can be harder in certain situations to break than physical dependency.

Your time at university should be a time marked by learning new things and gaining new experiences. You don’t need the experiences related to the drug and alcohol use. If you already have a problem that you are trying to deal with, it is important that you reach out to your universities mental health team who will be able to provide some extra support for you so that you can get the most out of your time studying at university.

Never take anyone else’s medication, even if you take the same medication and the same dose as someone else if you’ve ran out of your own. Using medications that aren’t prescribed to you can have serious, or even life threatening consequences!


Drunken Behaviour

Most students will end up having one too many drinks on nights out, especially during freshers week. We’ve all experienced those moments when we feel like death warmed up! And we know that they aren’t pleasant to go through. To find out how hangovers work, check out our article on the topic here.

If you can avoid experiencing hangovers, your body will thank you for it!

TIP: Set yourself a drink limit and stick to it. If you say that you’ll only have 4 alcoholic drinks, then stick to 4 no matter what. The fun doesn’t have to stop, you just need to swap to nonalcoholic drinks!

You could also only take enough money with you for those 4 drinks, food and a taxi home if you don’t feel that you will be able to stick to it.

Drink ‘n’ Drugs

Also, don’t forget that when you’ve drunk alcohol, your inhibitions and decision making will be affected. This leaves you at risk of getting into fights/assaults, falls, theft/loss of property, rape and others. To help reduce the risk of these incidents happening:

  • Try to stay in a group if a few of you are going out.
  • Set a drinking limit and stick to it.
  • Have an emergency plan in place should something go wrong whilst your out.
  • Only take out the absolute bare minimum you need so reduce the risk of things being lost or stolen.
  • Tell someone else who isn’t out with you and who aren’t drinking where you’re going and what time you’ll be back. keep these people on speed dial or in your favourites list so that you can call them easily in an emergency.

Using Substances To Cope With Home Sick & Exam Stress

All students experience feelings such as home sickness, exam stress and nerves during graduation ceremonies throughout their time at university. It may be all to easy to turn to a substance to provide an instant chemical change to alter the way that they feel. We’d highly recommend that if you’re struggling with your mental health, stress or home sickness, that you speak to others at your university, including student welfare officers, those who run the student union or your universities welfare team.

Don’t feel ashamed, they are there to help you and you’d be surprised just how many people are also experiencing similar feelings or issues as you! Don’t put off seeing them until tomorrow, make sure that you speak to them today. After all, why suffer for longer than you have to!?


Mental Health Conditions & Self Harm

If you have a diagnosed mental health condition, it is important that you declare it when you apply to your chosen university, or as soon as you become diagnosed so that they can provide the most appropriate support for you to maximise your time and experience whilst at your university.

If you have prior instances where you have self harmed, overdosed or intentionally tried to take your own life, it is also vital that you let your student welfare team know, as well as the current mental health team that helps you before you leave for university. They can then provide you with the best advice and support before you leave and ensure that support from local mental health teams near to your chosen university can then take over your care.

If you have a diagnosed mental health condition then we would highly recommend that you avoid experimenting or taking substances whilst your at university as it may have unintended consequences when it’s mixed with your medication and cause harmful or even a life threatening situation.

You can learn a load of new coping strategies and techniques that you can use to help you when times get tough on our blog here.

REMEMBER IF YOU DO OVERDOSE, SELF HARM OR FEEL SUICIDAL, CONTACT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH TEAM OR CALL 999 AND ASK FOR AN AMBULANCE IMMEDIATELY!


Mixing Alcohol & Cocaine

Mixing alcohol with cocaine (including crack cocaine) causes a third chemical to be produced in your body. This chemical is called cocaethylene.

People who use cocaine often combine it with alcohol. When looking at substance-related emergency department visits, the combination of alcohol and cocaine has been historically common.

cocaine and drinking

Drinking alcohol can also intensify feelings of euphoria due to cocaine use, while simultaneously helping to ease the discomfort of “coming down” from the high. Unfortunately, users often don’t understand the deadly combination of the two substances and the life-threatening effects it can have.

The combination of both alcohol and cocaine produce a new third substance called Cocaethylene. This new substance is highly toxic, harmful for your body and may even be fatal, even when you’ve only tried cocaine combined with alcohol once!

Risks of harm from Cocaethylene include:

  1. Increased Toxic Effects.
  2. Increased Risk Of Cardiovascular Issues, Including Heart Attack.
  3. Increased Risk For Stroke.
  4. Increased Potential For Liver Damage.
  5. Increased Impulsivity.
  6. Increased risk of instant death.

Prescribed & Un-prescribed Medications

It is important that you have enough of your medication to hand so that if you’re moving into halls of residence or away from home, that you have enough of your medication to last until you can register with a new GP practice and get new repeat prescriptions set up.

Medications are for thousands of different medical conditions and come in different form and strengths. This why you should never take someone else’s medication, even if you’re normally prescribed the same dose and it has ran out.

Medication can have known side effects which vary depending on the medication. Taking medicines that aren’t prescribed for you may do more harm than good as unintended side effects can occur as everyone’s physiology, list of medications they take, the health conditions they have and others.

If in doubt, contact your local GP practice, NHS 111 or your campus medical practice if it has one.

TIP: Remember to put your medications in a safe, secure location away from others who may want to abuse it. If you take controlled medications (CD’s) like morphine, codeine, tramadol, methadone, subutex or buprenorphine for example, you are entitled to a free lock box to keep your medicines locked away. Simply ask your pharmacy or local drug and alcohol service for one.

If you don’t take controlled medications, we’d still recommend that you buy a lockbox of your own to keep your medications in one place that’s safe and secure. These can be found cheaply online or bought from your local pharmacy for a relatively cheap price.

Drink ‘n’ Drugs
Example Larger Medicine Lockbox
Example Of A Tiny Travel size Medicine Lockbox

Combining other substances like benzodiazepines (diazepam or temazepam ect), opioids (codeine, morphine, heroin ect) combined with alcohol can also be fatal, even in small amounts. Contact your GP if you feel that you will be unable to stop drinking whilst taking medication so that they can prescribe an alternative that may have less risks when combined with alcohol.


Smoking Marijuana/Nicotine Or Vaping

Smoking cannabis may seem like a harmless thing to do with others when you want to relax and have some fun. However marijuana, also known as weed is still a drug just like heroin or cocaine is. If you continue to smoke drugs at university, you may get into trouble with the university or police which may have an effect on your future career or educational prospects. Is it really worth it?

If you can stop smoking it before you start at university then you will be much better off both emotionally and physically. Other benefits for quitting can be found below. Most universities or local doctors surgeries offer free smoking cessation help if you want to quit. Contact your GP practice or on campus medical centre for more information.


Accessing Help At Your Uni

If you already have been diagnosed as having an addiction, attending university provides you with a great opportunity to start afresh, better use your time, gain friends that aren’t solely there when you use or drink and allows you to study a subject that you’re passionate about.

Addiction is a recognised medical condition and not because the person in question is immoral or choosing to be an addict. Addiction is due to a number of factors including genetics, environment, upbringing, past traumatic events, PTSD and others.

It is important that you let your university know if you currently have, or previously had an addiction to drugs, alcohol, shopping, sex, gambling, food, adrenaline sports/activities or any others as it may mean that you would not be an appropriate candidate to do certain professions.

For example those who have a history of addiction with prescribed opioids like codeine or heroin, would be unable to become a paramedic since they are responsible and carry controlled drugs, including morphine.

Your university can also ensure that you get the most appropriate care and support possible to get the most from your time at university.


Making A Fresh Start At Uni & Continuing Your Recovery Plan

Going to university provides you with a great opportunity to start again and leave your previous life in active addiction behind in which you developed your addiction by being around certain places or people that were triggers for you to use or drink. Find some of our tips and tricks below, and for those who are already in recovery.


Survival Tips & Tricks

Here are some of our tips and tricks to help you while you’re at university:

  • Let you university know about your addiction. Unless you tell them, they won’t know and can’t provide any help and support you need. It may also affect your eligibility to study certain courses or content such as Paramedic science, medicine, pharmacology, midwifery or others, however speak to your university about this as they may be able to put certain things in place so that you can still do the course safely.
  • Make sure you give your current community drug and alcohol service (if you have one) enough time to transfer you to a new service that is closer to your chosen university. This will also include transferring any medication assisted treatment (MAT) medicines such as methadone or acamprosate to the new service/pharmacy.
  • If you don’t already have a daily recovery plan/routine in place, we highly recommend that you create one. This allows you to create a daily schedule that ensures that you have enough time in each day to take care of personal hygiene, food, hydration, recovery activities such as attending fellowship meetings such as AA, NA, CA ect, hobbies and sports/exercise without leaving you feeling overwhelmed. You can find our comprehensive guide to creating an implementing your own daily recovery plan here.
  • Likewise, having a relapse prevention plan in place is just as important, if not more so. A relapse prevention plan provides you with a plan to recognise your personal warning signs or triggers that may cause you to relapse. These plans also include a structured plan which tells you what to do if you feel that you’re likely to relapse imminently. You can find our ultimate guide to creating and using your own relapse prevention plan here.
  • Know your limits and don’t push them. These include knowing that you need around 8 hours of sleep per night, eating a balanced diet and exercising, even if it’s just a walk for an hour or so each day.
  • Find yourself a “safe space”. This safe space could be under a particular tree, library area, room, chair, bed or anywhere else that you can go when you feel like things are getting too much and provides you with a place to slowly relax and calm down.
  • Try to implement some mindfulness or meditation exercises into your daily routine. They provide you with a great opportunity to relax from stressful situations, illnesses and also if don’t once in the morning and once at night, provide you with a good way to mentally prepare yourself for he says ahead, and then unwind and process the days events before you go to bed.
  • Make the most of all of the various opportunities that will present themselves over your time at university. These include sports, clubs, hobbies or days out. These provide excellent ways to socialise and meet new people that isn’t solely planned around drugs or alcohol.
  • Consider ongoing therapies such as counselling, hypnotherapy, massage or acupuncture to help with physical or emotional problems. They can also help with spiritual problems (if you’re religious). Many of these types of therapies can be stress relieving, reduce emotional and physical pain as well as improve your mood, sleep and focus.
  • Don’t take any drug or alcohol paraphernalia with you such as bongs, crack pipes or needles (unless you’re diabetic and on insulin). If it isn’t there, you can’t be tempted to use it.
  • Listen to your body. Your mind is great at getting what it wants via coercion, suggestion, anxiety or cravings ect. if you tell yourself that no matter what, drugs and alcohol is out of the question, your body may kick and scream like a toddler does. This is normal and over time, your body won’t keep sending you these signals as it knows that it won’t get what it wants. After all, your body can’t argue or convince you when you say “I’m having nothing, zero, ever again, no matter what, end of, case closed!”
  • Consider including candles, aromatherapy or incense sticks in your meditation/mindfulness sessions (where safe and permitted to do so obviously) these provide an extra sensory bonus which can be calming, especially if you used them at home and they remind you of home if you are homesick.
  • Try using various addiction and recovery apps, podcasts, blogs and articles, these are easy to use and can be helpful, especially in these technological times.
infographic with high school drug use statistics

For Recovering Addicts Continuing With Your Recovery Whilst Studying

If you are already in recovery by the time you start university, it’s important that you carry on doing the same recovery activities that you were doing before. Just because you’re moving to a new university or away from home doesn’t mean that you should suddenly stop doing the things that you were doing so successfully before.

For example:

  1. If you were attending fellowship meetings such as AA, NA, CA ect and have a home group, it is highly advisable that you carry on doing so at a meeting nearby your new home or university if it’s a long way from home for you to commute to each time a meeting is taking place.
  2. If you have a sponsor, make sure that you keep in regular contact with them. If most of your meetings were face to face, you may want to consider moving to online meetings using apps such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. If this won’t work for you, you may wish to consider getting a new sponsor at your new home meeting group.
  3. Make sure that the new friends you make at university won’t pull you back down again and risk a relapse. If you do end up relapsing at university, try to see them as learning experiences. If you’re struggling with making new friends and feel lonely, remember that there are 24/7 online fellowship meetings that you can join at any time of the day or night if you feel that you’re struggling at times. It’s better to get things off your chest than allow them to fester and cause emotional/psychological harm in your recovery efforts.
  4. If you have/carry a naloxone kit with you, make sure that you get a newer one before you move. That way you know that the new naloxone kit will be in date when you arrive at university should you need to use it.
  5. Continue to do the same beneficial activities that you did before, such as volunteering, attending hobby or special interest groups for example. If you want to find out more information as to how you can help yourself as well as those around you, check out our article about accepting and giving help to others by clicking here.

Peer Pressure

Other people at university may want to use drugs or drink to excess, but that doesn’t mean that you have to, especially if you have a history of substance use. Learning to say no in polite ways can really help. In a previous article that we wrote, we looked at 60 different ways that you can say no without leaving you feeling guilty, embarrassed or upset, or causing offence to others in your group. You can check that out here!

TIP: Remember, ultimately you are solely responsible for the things that you put into your own body, and you ALWAYS have the right to say no thank you!

Drink ‘n’ Drugs

Remember, ultimately you are solely responsible for the things that you put into your own body, and you ALWAYS have the right to say no thank you!


The Effects That Addiction Can Cause

Developing an addiction doesn’t just suddenly make you aware that you’re an addict. It tends to creep up on you over time as you need more and more of the same substance to feel the way you did when you first took it, this is known as developing a tolerance. However with certain substances, individuals have been known to become addicted to the substance in as little at 2-3 uses, sometimes even after just 1 use in certain cases!

Impact: What is the Impact of Addiction? - Recovery Research Institute

You can find out more about addiction, and whether you may be prone to developing an addiction, or whether you are already addicted without even knowing it. By reading our article and taking the addiction test here.


Overdoses, Naloxone & What You Should Do In An Emergency

Take home Naloxone kits are saving lives – Voices of Stoke
Naloxone Injectable Kit

Drug use always carries the risk of serious side effects, including overdose and death.

Whether you use alcohol, an illegal drug such as cocaine, heroin or medications prescribed by a doctor—such as opioid painkillers, anti-psychotics, neuropathic painkillers, benzodiazepines or any other type of medication, developing an addiction will always be a real concern and possibility each and every time you choose to use drugs or drink alcohol.

In many cases, if substance use behaviours persist, there remains a real possibility of a drug and/or alcohol overdose, death from combining multiple substances and ultimately, death from an overdose or from the physical & mental damage you do to yourself when you use or drink!

FDA approves nasal spray that reverses opioid overdose - STAT
Naloxone Nasal Spray Version

Remember that any overdose from any substance can be either accidental or intentional. You can learn more about overdoses, using naloxone and how to apply first aid to people who may have overdosed from drugs and/or alcohol here.

Naloxone is an emergency medicine that some addicts carry just in case they overdose on an opioid based drug (illicit or prescribed). It works by blocking certain receptors in the brain to stop anymore of the substance entering the body, whilst also reversing the immediate dose of drugs that were taken immediately before. ewufh

If you currently take opioid medications, illicit opioid based substances, have taken them in the past or if you live or socialise with others who do take them, then it’s worth carrying your own emergency naloxone kit. These can be found at your local community drug and alcohol service, GP practise and certain pharmacies. You can check out the UK Governments website about naloxone availability by clicking here.

Have you considered who you would want to be your next of kin should you become unresponsive and unable to give emergency services workers or hospital staff information? This is something to think about, especially if you’re moving far away from your family and friends for the first time. You can learn more about that here.


Coping With The Withdrawal Symptoms When You Decide To Stop Using Or Drinking

All addicts who become physically or psychologically dependant upon drugs and/or alcohol will have to go through some form of withdrawal process. This could be more minor if you’re only psychologically addicted to a substance in order to help with specific things like creativity. In this case, replacing substance use with other practical coping strategies may be enough to break the habit.

General Withdrawal Symptoms That Most Drugs Can Induce.

However on the other hand, you may find that you’re both physically and psychologically dependant to a particular substance or substances. When you try to stop using or drinking, you find that you experience certain withdrawal symptoms. These can range from minor or annoying to life threatening depending upon which substance you’ve become addicted to. We would highly recommend that you never go through a home detox or go cold turkey. Depending on whether you have any pre-existing medical conditions, the medications you take, along with other contributing factors can quickly turn a “simple” detox into an emergency situation should something adverse happen.

If you want to find out how you can detox, contact your GP or local community drug and alcohol service. You can find your nearest on our help and support page here.

Stages Of Alcohol Withdrawal.

If you’re addicted to alcohol or benzodiazepines, never go through a home detox or go “cold turkey”. Alcohol or benzo withdrawal can cause life threatening symptoms that must be properly managed and supervised by trained and experienced professionals to ensure that the risks are minimised, that you have the relevant psychological and medical support and equipment in place should something happen.


Reducing The Harm You Could Cause To Yourself Or Others

Harm Reduction - Recovery Research Institute

The longer you use or drink, the greater your chances are of developing a tolerance to the substance in question. For example, if you take 2 co-codamol tablets twice a day, 6 months later you find that the only way you can manage your pain is to now take 4 tablets 4 times a day, this is known as a tolerance. You can learn more about tolerances here.

If you do decide to either experiment with drugs or alcohol for the first time, or are carrying on your habit whilst you’re at university, it’s important that you try to minimise any of the risks or harms as best you can. This is known as harm reduction. You can learn more about harm reduction in our article on the subject here. There are many ways that this can be done to avoid some of the most harmful issues that addicts or substance users face during their time using or drinking substances.


How Do I Know If I Have A Problem With Drugs & Alcohol?

If you feel that you may have an issue with drug and/or alcohol use, you can use this very short, quick addiction quiz to see where you rank based over the last 12 months looking at 11 different criteria.

However this quick quiz isn’t definitive and only gives you a quick snapshot of your life and behaviours. If you want to find out more and take a more in depth, detailed test to check, you can do so in one of our previous articles looking at this very topic by clicking here.


I Want To Stop, What Can I Do?

If you’ve come to the realisation that you have an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, you’ve crossed the first hurdle and that is admitting that you actually do have a problem with substances.

We’d generally recommend that you initially follow our rules:

  1. Prescribed Medications That Are For you – If you have an issue with prescribed medications that are prescribed to you, begin by talking to your GP or prescriber and explain that you have an addiction issue with the medicine that they’ve prescribed for you. They are there to help you and they’ll do their best to help you! It may be that they’ll slowly taper your dose back down to a meanable dose at which point they swap to a different medication that have less addictive properties.
  2. Prescribed Medications That Are Prescribed For Someone Else Let you GP or Doctor know that you’ve been taking a particular medication that you’ve now become dependant upon. They will work with you to get you off of them at a quick, yet comfortable reduction rate.
  3. Illicit Drugs – If your symptoms are minor, first contact your GP and let them know. They my be able to prescribe you some form of MAT (medication Assisted Treatment) medication to help manage the withdrawal symptoms that you experience. This also allows you to swap to a substance that is clean, you know what it contains, how strong it is and where it comes from. You can’t guarantee any of this with street bought, illicit substances! Secondly, if your withdrawal symptoms or addiction is more severe, we’d recommend that you just go straight to your local community drug and alcohol service. They can provide you with a range of therapies, MAT programs and other helpful programs to get you off drugs and into recovery. You can find your nearest on our help and support page here.
  4. Alcohol/Benzodiazepine Addiction – We would highly recommend that you follow the steps in number 3. However when it comes to going through a detox, make sure that it is a specially designed detox program for alcohol or benzos. In a ideal world, your detox would be a residential detox program in a specific detox facility. Your local drug and alcohol service can help you with this.

The first big hurdle, admitting that you have a problem. After all, you can’t change something if you don’t think that you have a problem with it!

Drink ‘n’ Drugs

Some Useful Coping Strategies To Get You Started

Below are some of the time tested coping and recovery techniques that many addicts use to cope with the daily stresses and strains of life:

  1. Try Journaling – If you’ve never tried to put your thoughts or ideas down on paper, it’s a great way to release pent up tension and stress. If you’ve never journaled before or want to improve your journaling, check out our article about journaling here.
  2. Meditation & Mindfulness – We’re not asking you to stand on one leg, repeating the words “ummmmm”. There are a wide variety of techniques you can use when you’re alone, when you’re around other people and need a few seconds to yourself to refocus or to manage cravings or temptations when they arrive. Find out more here.
  3. Changing Your Environment – Changing your bedroom, flat, house or garden can give you an opportunity to start afresh and get rid of bad memories and feelings when you look around and become reminded of prior negative events. This doesn’t have to be expense or time consuming. Discover how here with our top 10 tips.
  4. Benefiting From Hot & Cold Showers – It may sound silly, but you can benefit from having hot and cold showers regularly! Find out about hot showers here. Find out about cold showers here.
  5. Exercise – Exercising is an important aspect to everyone’s life, whether they have an addiction or not. However for addicts, exercise can allow your body to get used to creating it’s own natural feel good and other healthy chemicals that have been long supressed via substance use as these provide artificial chemicals, so this means that your body stops producing it’s own if it knows that it will get them artificially.
  6. Being Grateful – Being grateful helps your mind switch from thinking negatively to positively. This is a great step that many addicts struggle with when they want to get clean and sober. Most addicts have an inner voice that says things like “you’re not worth it, you won’t be able to maintain it, you’re worthless, you only deserve this life and not a clean or sober one” ect. However being grateful helps to combat this thinking pattern. Find out how to incorporate gratitude in your daily routine here.

These are just a tiny handful of the techniques and coping strategies that are available to you to use in your daily routine. You can find a great load more in our blog by clicking here.


Sharing Your Halls Or House With A Recovering Addict?

Families That Enable an Addict Often Do More Harm than Good

Are you sharing your halls of residence or student house with a recovering addict? You may be without even being aware of it, and it is something that you should keep in mind. Knowing how to support a friend or loved one with their addiction is beneficial for them and you. Find out how to support an addict by clicking here.


I Want To Know More

You can find a wide variety of groups, charities and organisations who can help you on our help and support page here. You can also learn more about addiction, substance use, coping strategies and recovery techniques and treatments on our blog here.

To keep upto date with the latest news, techniques and treatments, make sure you follow us on social media. Our links are below.


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Published by Drink ’n’ Drugs

Providing useful, relevant, up to date information and support for those suffering from active addiction or those who are in recovery.

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