Thursday, March 24, 2022

Stress and Substance Use Health

This news post is more than one year old and has been retained for archive purposes. The information below may no longer be relevant.

Exam season is just around the corner and with it comes added academic stress for many students.

There are many reasons people may use alcohol or other substances, including celebration, relaxation, tradition and social or cultural norms or expectations. Coping with stress and its effects is another reason for substance use.

The COVID-19 pandemic has led to an increase in alcohol and substance use due to many reasons, including stress. This is more than understandable, given the collective trauma that we have and are still experiencing.

The Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA) has shown mindfulness and meditation to be one of the top supports used in recovery that can be very helpful for substance use health. Research has shown the effectiveness and positive outcomes of mindfulness-based treatment of anxiety and for persons with substance use disorders.

Read the previous post on mindfulness here, or visit Carleton’s Wellness webpage for additional resources.

Read the previous article on stress and study drugs to learn why people use these medications, risk factors and negative effects associated with them and safer ways to use them.

It is impossible to deny the positives that substances can have for many people, whether it’s a celebration, a needed part of a treatment for mental or physical health or part of a cultural tradition. Substance use does not automatically become a bad thing, even if someone is using a substance as a way to alleviate stress. However, it can be helpful to reflect on substance use health. Remember the four Cs:

  • Craving: are there cravings for the substance(s) often?
  • Control: is there a feeling of loss of control with the substance(s)?
  • Compulsion: is there a compulsion to use the substance(s)?
  • Consequences: is there still use of the substance(s) despite negative consequences?

Carleton students have access to TAO Connect and can take advantage of its alcohol and drug use assessment tool. Another great evaluation and supports resource is Wellness Together Canada.

Substance use health is “an expression adopted by organizations of people with lived and living experience to focus attention on the unique, unmet health service and support needs of people who use substances, which should be considered and addressed in the same way as mental health or physical health needs.” Everyone can benefit from checking in on their substance use health, the same way everyone can benefit from checking in on their mental health.

Come to a Carleton All People All Pathways peer support meeting to talk about what substance use health means to you, or about anything else you wish to discuss. As the name suggests, anyone is welcome, whether directly or indirectly affected by substance use or addiction, or even if you just want to learn more. The meetings are non-committal, confidential, and provide a non-judgmental and safe environment for those seeking help to ask questions, free from stigma, alienation or discrimination.

These meetings have been made available in partnership with the Community Addictions Peer Support Association (CAPSA). The dates, times and links for the meetings are as follows. Please keep up to date with any changes by visiting the Safer Substance Use webpage.

The student meeting takes place on Thursdays from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. Join the Zoom meeting here. Meeting ID: 929 8756 9610. Password: 787302.

The staff meeting takes place on Wednesdays from 1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Join the Zoom meeting here. Meeting ID: 993 9326 6953. Password: 222945.

If you need further assistance or more information about harm reduction, send an email to Dillon Brady, the Office of Student Affairs’ Harm Reduction and Conduct Manager.

Thursday, March 24, 2022 in ,
Share: Twitter, Facebook

We're here to help you succeed!

Use our services search to explore our many support services.

AskmeAsk Me


What can we help you find?