How Is the Covid-19 Pandemic Impacting Addiction in Students

Published by John Gillen | Last updated: 23rd February 2023 | All Sources

How Is the Covid-19 Pandemic Impacting Addiction in Students

Concerns linked to the impacts of Covid-19, this far, have mainly focused on health, protecting the NHS, continuing educational efforts, and the roll-out campaign of the vaccine. Of course, each is very important, helping to maintain a sense of normality, while battling against the long-term effects of Covid-19.

Yet, through this focus, the mental health of students has fallen through the net, especially when considering pre-existing addiction diagnoses, and the risk of addiction development.

After all, we’re living through a time where vast change has been experienced, even to the dynamic norm of student life, which for some is a trigger for addiction and its development.

From loneliness and the requirement to stay away from family homes for university students, to greater accessibility to prescription drugs, to excessive boredom and to the pressures linked to a delayed or adapted curriculum, students are also suffering through a whirlwind reality of Covid-19.

The road to addiction, within the student world, has always been a concern. For example, 40% of students between 16-24 have abused illegal drugs, which can increase the risk of addiction development later in life.

This is also the case with additional addictive stimuli, such as gambling and gaming. Down to the fact that addiction rates are heightening through the pandemic, greater focus should be placed on educating and protecting students of all ages from the susceptibility of addiction.

If you’re wondering ‘how is the Covid-19 pandemic impacting addiction in students?’, here’s how, along with support we have on offer at Cassiobury Court.


General Covid-19 impacts on students

Students are a very important demographic to focus on throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. While physical health worries are less concerning for the younger generation, they are the future. With this in mind, the impacts that they experience throughout the pandemic can influence future steps, health and success.

Generally, Covid-19 has impacted student life in many different ways, some adaptations which are manageable, yet others that are triggering mental health issues.

Changes to learning environments, responsibility and goals are impacts caused by the pandemic. Many are learning virtually, many are struggling through independent study, and many are worried about their grades, ability to prove themselves and future prospects.

Loneliness and experiences of isolation are also common feelings amongst students, throughout the pandemic, where social lives have been disrupted, where the requirement to stay away from their family homes for university students are in place, and where excessive feelings of boredom are encountered.

Down to a change in routine, down to a lack of student life, down to the unknown of future reality, mental health issues have also increased within the student demographic. This is worrying, as mental health concerns are already high amongst younger generations. This combined with greater environmental, social and psychological triggers poses risk for addiction development within the student world.


How is the Covid-19 pandemic impacting addiction in students?

When considering the impacts of Covid-19 on students, an entire representation cannot be made, as of course, like adults and children, the pandemic has caused differing results based on health, location, responsibility and pre-existing reality.

However, through the generic impacts on student life, found through the Covid-19 pandemic, there is a concern for the student demographic as a whole. Greater opportunity for addiction development is found, linked to many different stimuli, from social media usage to drug and alcohol abuse, to gaming and gambling.

Down to greater accessibility, down to a lack of routine and guidance, down to boredom and excessive headspace, and down to fluctuating moods and emotions, those ranking as addictive stimuli are being used as coping strategies.

As excessive exposure to addictive stimuli can strengthen the likelihood of an addiction diagnosis, greater focus should be placed on the ongoing mental health of students. Understandably, the long-term effects of Covid-19 will be experienced by all to some degree. Yet, through the development of a dependency, through younger life, greater addiction likelihoods are found through adulthood.

Focus on the educational standpoint of change through the pandemic has of course considered an area of student life. Yet, the lack of development that they are personally experiencing, through delayed progression, social interactions, hobbies, and exposure to unhealthy coping strategies, there is a greater likelihood that addictive stimuli will come across as attractive, unknowingly increasing addiction diagnosis rates.

Addiction risks are present across the board for all generations. Yet, down to low levels of responsibility, down to reduced ability and experience of coping through stress, and down to increased levels of independence, worry is directed at the Covid-19 pandemic and how this has and will continue to drive addiction diagnoses with the student age group.


Sourcing addiction support throughout the pandemic

As a whole, addiction support services have unfortunately experienced the turbulence of Covid-19, causing delays for many. However, support for students is still available, on a virtual basis, on a face-to-face basis via some rehab clinics, and on a faculty basis.

Sourcing addiction support, for students, may come across as uncool. They may even believe that it is unnecessary, as gambling or utilising social networking sites are filling the gap caused by Covid-19.

Yet through denial, addictive behaviours can become very dangerous, intensifying and even found to contribute towards further illness, with a focus on mental health.

With this in mind, the necessity of support for addiction should be educated towards students, showcasing how damaging an addiction crisis within a global crisis can be. We at Cassiobury Court are here to offer support, along with personally considering ‘how is the Covid-19 pandemic impacting addiction in students?’.

Addiction for any individual, at any given time can be extremely testing to deal with. Yet for those with reduced awareness, throughout the impacts of a global pandemic, challenges linked to addiction will be even greater.

Reduce those challenges by considering personal addiction development, along with how addiction, as a whole, is unknowingly impacting students. This should also be the case for mental health issues, where increasing awareness around their prevalence and how to manage through Covid-19 is possible.

For our support at Cassiobury Court, contact our team today.


John Gillen

John Gillen - Author Last updated: 23rd February 2023

John Gillen is a leading addiction treatment expert with over 15 years of experience providing evidence-based treatment methods for individuals throughout the UK. John also co-authors the book, The Secret Disease of Addiction, which delves into how the addictive mind works and what treatment techniques work best.