Recovery Week Sparks Interest from Students

Maybe you took an alcohol abuse assessment or a substance abuse assessment — or perhaps you made use of the questions to identify 13 of the most common mental health conditions that college students face.

If you were one of the 273 students who stopped by to investigate the activities in the area outside Watanakunakorn Auditorium during Recovery Week, September 10-14, the staff of the Center for Student Wellness and Counseling Services (CSWCS) was glad to see you. Some students won prizes during their stops; others offered their opinions on a surprising question: What are not just the risks but the benefits of substance abuse or use?

That was a serious question, meant to help students explore their feelings on the topic. After all, there must be a reason that people are drawn to substance use, explains Jennifer Dougall, Ph.D., the director of counseling services at the CSWCS and clinical assistant professor of family and community Medicine. It might not be until you are urged to think carefully (by someone like a counselor) about why you temporarily feel better that you can explore ways you could adapt your behavior.

This thoughtful approach to exploring people’s motivations as a way to help them embrace change is a technique known as motivational interviewing – an evidence-based approach that many NEOMED students learn to use with future patients. The staff incorporated it into Recovery Week activities like wearing “drunk goggles” to simulate driving while under the influence.

One well-received event was a talk by Nicole Labor, M.D., who told her own story of addiction and recovery during a Lunch and Learn event on Thursday. Read the story by second-year College of Medicine student Ambika Singh about her response to Dr. Labor’s discussion.

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