In this article
College alcoholism is a severe issue in the United States and other countries. Roughly 80 percent of college students ingest alcohol to some degree while in college.
An estimated 50 percent of these students end up binge drinking. Binge drinking is defined as reaching a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 g/dl or above by consuming more than four drinks over two hours.
While most binge drinkers aren’t alcohol dependent, serious risks are still involved. A variety of problems on U.S. college campuses stem from alcohol consumption.
Over 3 million people use BetterHelp. Their services are:
Answer a few questions to get started
Drinking may be part of the “college experience,” but it often has unwanted effects. These can include short-term and long-term impacts on college students from all socio-economic, ethnic, and academic backgrounds.
Some possible short- and long-term effects of student alcohol use include:
Alcohol poisoning is when someone consumes too much alcohol at one time. This is a dangerous condition because it causes serious complications. The signs of alcohol poisoning include:
Too much alcohol consumption slows down how nerves communicate with each other. Students who drink heavily risk not remembering what happened while they're drunk. In some cases, others may appear to function normally but have no recollection of their memories.
When you're drunk, you don't think clearly. You might make poor decisions that could result in negative consequences, such as getting arrested. Every year, 316,032 Americans are arrested for drunkenness.8
Drunk students are also more likely to be victims of criminal acts. These criminal acts may include the following:
Drinking too much alcohol can affect your ability to learn. It's common for people who consume large amounts of alcohol to perform poorly on tests.
They might miss assignments or fail classes. One in every four college students experiences academic problems due to drinking.7
Alcohol contains many empty calories that contribute to weight gain. This causes some students to put on extra pounds during their college years. Drinking also leads to poor eating habits, such as overeating.
Alcohol use disorder (AUD) develops when someone has a heavy drinking pattern.
It's a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.
The body may become damaged after prolonged exposure to alcohol. Examples include liver damage, heart failure, and memory impairment.
Many college students still have developing brains, and heavy alcohol use can lead to lasting physical, emotional, or mental damage.
About 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year due to accidental, alcohol-related injuries.NIAAA study
Drinking is viewed as an integral part of the “college experience” by many students across North America. College is a socially tricky time for many students.
It is not surprising that most risk factors associated with college drinking revolve around social situations. Some of these factors include:
Alcohol abuse is most common when young adults drink alcohol to get drunk rather than socialize.
Heavy drinking (several days per week) also leads to alcohol tolerance, making it more challenging to reach the desired state of intoxication. This can lead to alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Fraternities and sororities are often focal points for college binge drinking and substance abuse. A 2018 study conducted at the University of Michigan found that 45 percent of residential fraternity members report AUD symptoms reflecting mild to severe cases by the age of 35.5
This shows that when students develop drinking problems in college, the potential effects can last long past their college years.
It’s unlikely to prevent students from drinking alcohol altogether. However, educating them on the potential dangers of unhealthy patterns of drinking and other prevention efforts may help save students seeking higher education.
Other ways to prevent alcoholism in college students include:
There are long-term and short-term symptoms of alcohol abuse. College students may not be aware of the immediate risks or the severity of what may develop over time.
Problematic use can lead to more severe health problems such as:
There are several treatment options for alcohol addiction in college students, regardless of severity.
The first step (and main component) of recovery is detox, which allows the substance to leave an addicted person’s system. This includes a self-imposed detox for mild cases or a medical detox for more severe cases. During medical detox, professionals administer medication to help with withdrawal symptoms.
Mild cases involve experiencing more than two but less than five of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) criteria outlined by the NIAAA. Severe cases involve experiencing more than eight of the twelve possible criteria outlined in the DSM.
Other treatment options include:
Alcohol addiction develops over an extended period, especially compared to other drugs. If you are concerned about your drinking habits or those of somebody you know, find treatment today.
Alcoholism in college students is a serious problem that requires immediate attention. It can cause lasting physical and psychological damage.
The best way to prevent this is to be aware of the warning signs and seek help immediately. Different treatment options are available to prevent and treat alcoholism in college students.
In this article