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College & Recovery: How to Balance School With Rehab

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How to Balance School With Rehab

Adults ages 18 to 25 make up some of the most at-risk populations for substance abuse and addiction.[1] This population also makes up the vast majority of college students in the United States. Although students are going to school to better themselves and get an education, many engage in binge drinking, marijuana use, or prescription drug abuse. Some of these students will become addicted.

If you are a college student who has found yourself struggling with drug or alcohol use, you may feel as though there is no way for you to get help without putting your education on hold or dropping out of school. Fortunately, there are many types of flexible treatment settings that can work with your schedule and help you balance school with rehab and your recovery.

Flexible Treatment Options for College Students

College students have many options to choose from if they want to stay in school and get help for their addiction. If you are willing, there is no reason you can’t balance your education, complete school, and go to rehab at the same time. Many addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts offer flexible treatment programs that can accommodate the busy schedules and specific needs of college students.

Outpatient Program (OP)

Full-time college students may have very limited free time, so they may benefit from an outpatient program (OP). Outpatient rehab is a less intensive option for those who cannot take away very much time from work or school. As the lowest level of care, OP only requires 5-10 hours of treatment each week, so this can be manageable for many college students.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

IOP is a great fit for part-time college students or students who take nighttime classes. IOP sessions usually run in the morning or early afternoon with additional therapy sessions mid-day. This is a more structured and demanding level of care than OP but can provide comprehensive and individualized treatment.

Evening IOP

Part-time or full-time college students who are in class during the day may not have time to attend OP or IOP. Fortunately, these students can balance school with rehab by attending an evening IOP in Massachusetts.

Tips for Balancing School With Rehab and Recovery

Whether you are currently enrolled in an IOP in Massachusetts, have already completed rehab, or are wondering how you can ever successfully go to rehab and school at the same time, these practical tips are for you.

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Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment is a leader in the addiction treatment field, with proven success in facilitating long-term recovery. Our team of top clinical & medical experts specializes in treating addiction coupled with mental illness, ensuring that each person receives individualized care. Call us – we’re available 24/day, 7 days/week.

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Manage Stress in Healthy Ways

College can be fun, but it can also be really stressful. And, a lot of college students deal with stress by binge drinking with their friends. If you are in recovery, you’ll need to learn ways to cope with stress without drugs or alcohol. Some healthy ways to manage stress include:[3]

  • Meditation
  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Deep breathing
  • Talking to a trusted friend
  • Bond with a pet
  • Get enough sleep
  • Eat a healthy and balanced diet
  • Take time away from social media
  • Maintain a regular routine

Don’t Take on More Than You Can Handle

College is a new and exciting time, but in order to balance school with rehab, it’s vital that you don’t bite off more than you can chew. You may be tempted to take extra classes so you can graduate early, pick up extra hours at work to pay off your student debt, or agree to attend collegiate events that you simply do not have the time for. Make sure you carefully weigh your priorities and manage your time to the best of your ability. If you take on more than you can handle, your recovery may begin slipping away from you.

Be Firm With Your Boundaries

College environments can come with a lot of peer pressure. You may feel obligated to go to parties with your friends, skip meetings to attend school-related events, or attend gatherings that make you uncomfortable. However, if you want to keep your grades up and make it to graduation, your recovery needs to come first. It’s important that you are able to set boundaries, say “no” when you mean no, and stand up for your sobriety.

Look for a Collegiate Recovery Program Near You

No matter what your life looks like, a crucial component of recovery is a sober support network. Many people find their sober support network in the rooms of AA or NA. You may be able to find other sober individuals in these meetings who can support you. However, many universities have their own collegiate recovery programs. Collegiate recovery programs offer a variety of different services on or near the campus, including:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Mental health counseling
  • Addiction support groups
  • 12-Step meetings
  • Mentorship or peer support groups
  • Sober activities and social programs

Collegiate recovery groups are wonderful resources where you can find support from other college students who are trying to balance school with rehab and recovery – just like you.

Get Help Now

Get Help Balancing School With Outpatient Rehab at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

Here at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we understand that not everyone has the luxury of putting their life on hold to attend a residential treatment program. That’s why our Massachusetts drug and alcohol rehab offers outpatient, IOP, and evening IOP options to students just like you. To speak with an admissions coordinator and see if our treatment programs are a good fit, give us a call today. We’re eager to help you get your life back on track.


  1. https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FFR1-2016/NSDUH-FFR1-2016.htm
  2. https://news.psu.edu/story/483248/2017/09/19/research/drinking-cope-stress-may-increase-risk-alcohol-problems#
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/about/copingwith-stresstips.html
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Medically Reviewed By

Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC Clinical Director
Learn about Inessa Maloney

Inessa Maloney, MS, LMHC has been dedicated to the mental health and substance abuse field for a decade, providing her expertise to guarantee quality and accuracy.

  • Specializes in outpatient services with a focus on substance abuse
  • Expertise in reality-based therapy, CBT/DBT, and motivational interviewing
  • Holds a Master’s Degree in Professional Counseling
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