There are a range of counseling and medication services available at the University of Alabama and in the Tuscaloosa community. Because students sometimes delay seeking help until they are experiencing greater discomfort, there can be a tendency to search for the “quick fix” for their concerns, often in the form of a pill or some other substance.

You may have felt sad, tired, or anxious for some time now, and it is understandable if you want to feel better right away. It may seem to you that everything would be better if you just found the right medication or drug to ease your mind. Sometimes, medication is in fact the best form of treatment for a particular problem. Other times, the best form of help may be counseling, a combination of counseling and medication, or some other resource or service. Research has shown that superior results are often achieved in just these other ways for a variety of concerns. One thing we do know: turning to alcohol or drugs to feel better often makes things dramatically worse.

It has been our experience that many students face significant adjustment issues while in college. Sometimes these adjustment situations are quite intense, involving a significant degree of stress, depression, or anxiety. You may be tempted to look to substances to feel better during such a time. Better answers may, however, involve reducing stress, being more assertive with your roommate, minimizing conflict, developing better study skills and habits, and so on. Such changes can take a little time, but not forever. When changes like these are made, they tend to stick. Too often a student may take a medication but undertake no other changes and, when this occurs, there is a good possibility that problems will return when the medication is discontinued and sometimes even before that.

Talk thoroughly with your counselor or other health care practitioner about these issues so that you can receive the best help available.