Binge Drinking among University Students
College and drinking have gone together for generations. Alcohol is the most popular on-campus drug. Male students tend to drink more than females, but most students in general will binge drink at one point or another. It’s a long-established tradition among universities everywhere: It’s not a real event – a real party, dance, or festival – without alcohol. So the belief goes. This belief contributes to the rampant binge drinking among University Students.
Today’s Drinking Environment
Statistics show that as binge drinking rates have increased, the number of hours students spend studying has decreased. In 1961, 66 percent of university students reported studying twenty hours or more each week; today, that figure is only twenty percent. In contrast, students are doing more drinking (and illicit drugs) than ever. Remember the movie Animal House from decades ago? Those were the calm days.
Here’s the interesting part: grades have actually improved—which many experts attribute to institutions lowering their expectations to accommodate the party-crazed generation. Less required work means more time to drink, to binge, to recover, and then to binge again.
What Exactly Is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as consuming five or more alcoholic drinks in one sitting. The goal of a binge is to become highly intoxicated, often to the point of vomiting or passing out. Over 45 percent of college students admit to doing this. The consequences of a single binge can be dire. Over 1800 students die each year from accidental alcohol-related injuries or overdoses. An additional 700 thousand are assaulted by someone under the influence, nearly 100 thousand are victims of alcohol-driven sexual assault, and more than 150 thousand report mental health issues related to alcohol consumption.
Binge Drinking And Health Problems
According to the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, binge drinking is associated with a variety of health problems, including: sexually transmitted disease; unintentional injuries (fights, auto accidents, falls, high-risk and impulsive behavior, etc); unintended pregnancy; alcohol poisoning; high blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular problems; diabetes; and neurological damage
Preventing Binge Drinking
Currently, there are several binge drinking prevention ideas being practiced on campuses across the country. Most universities offer counseling services. Although these services help, it’s considerably challenging to encourage students in need to seek help. The solution may come down to logistics. Higher taxes on alcohol seem to help, as do limits on the number of alcohol retailers in any given geographical area. Allocating liability to those retailers decreases the likelihood that they’ll sell alcohol to minors.
Another major component in binge drinking is peer pressure. In a new, scary environment like college, everyone wants to feel like they belong. To many, drinking seems like the only surefire way — or the only feasible way at all. This is where each and every individual student can make a difference. Despite the stereotypes, universities are full of events, activities, clubs, and organizations that don’t involve drugs or alcohol. (Some are even dedicated specifically to encouraging sobriety among student bodies.) Inviting someone to join you on a positive path may save that individual from being pulled toward destruction, especially if that person seems lonely, impressionable, or unhappy.
If you’re a college student that struggles with frequent binge drinking and alcoholism, it’s time to get help. Contact Blueprints for Recovery to discover a treatment plan that will get you back on your feet.