Mental illness, alcohol and drugs

What you should know about treatment and resources

Topics such as mental illness and substance abuse may seem hard to talk about, but it’s important incoming students are aware of where to get resources or help for these issues on campus.

The Birkam Health Center on campus has a Personal Counseling Center available to all students. Counselors help students with issues such as stress, anxiety, depression, suicidal thoughts, alcohol and drug use/abuse and much more.

Tom Liszewski, a counselor at the personal counseling center, said mental illness in general has increased, but treatments for mental illness have increased in the past 10 years as well.

“Depression has been the number one reason people come to the counseling center to receive treatment since 2000,” Liszewski said.

Anxiety is also an issue some students face. The National College Health Assessment from the American College Health Association provides data on Ferris students from spring 2011, with the most recent data available to the public. It shows that 17.6 percent of male students reported feeling overwhelming anxiety along with 21.4 percent of female students. As for depression, 12.8 percent of male students reported feeling so depressed it was difficult for them to function along with 15.8 percent of female students.

Some signs of depression include withdrawal from friends and family, excessive sleeping, a loss of interest in daily activities and an increase or decrease in appetite. If you or someone you know seems suicidal or says things like, “I don’t want to live anymore” or harms themself, seek help immediately by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or call 911 if you or someone you know is in immediate danger.

Along with having knowledge of depression, students should be aware of what effects alcohol and drug abuse can produce, both physical and psychological. Substance abuse can be a contributing factor to mental illness, although substance abuse and mental health issues go hand-in-hand, according to Liszewski.

Some of the physical effects of alcohol abuse/alcohol poisoning:
Cold/clammy skin
Slurred speech
If the person is unconscious, take them to the emergency room immediately or call 911.

Some of the mental and behavioral effects/signs of alcohol abuse:
Any behavioral changes
Missing work or class regularly
Not bathing or taking care of themselves
Drinking every day and passing out on a regular basis
Hiding empty bottles or containers throughout their room or apartment
Drinking and not eating

Alcoholism is an illness that requires treatment. The Personal Counseling Center at Ferris has resources available to those who need it.

Another issue on Ferris and college campuses everywhere is prescription drug abuse, which can also become a detrimental habit.

In 2011, 7.2 percent of students reported using stimulants that were not prescribed to them. Stimulants may be used for purposes of studying and improving mood, but consequences of using drugs not prescribed to you is risky and can be deadly.

Let’s face it: College students are going to drink and some may abuse drugs—prescription and illegal. It is important students are aware of the risks and consequences that can arise from abusing drugs and alcohol. If someone is struggling with a mental illness such as depression or anxiety, self-medicating with alcohol or drugs is not recommended.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness and alcohol or drug abuse, the Personal Counseling Center is open Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-noon and 1-5 p.m. They can be reached at ext. 5968.