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College alcoholism is a serious issue in the United States and many other places in the world. Roughly 80 percent of college students ingest alcohol to some degree while in college. An estimated 50 percent of these students end up engaging in binge drinking, which is defined as reaching a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 g/dl or above by consuming more than four drinks over a two hour period.
While most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent, there are still serious risks involved, with an increased chance of developing alcohol dependence and other drinking problems.
There are a variety of problems on U.S. college campuses that stem from alcohol consumption. Underage drinking, date rape, alcohol-related sexual assault, mental health issues, drug use, academic problems, drunk driving, alcohol-related unintentional injuries, vandalism and other risky behavior have been linked to the influence of alcohol.
Drinking is viewed as an integral part of the “college experience” by many students across North America. Many students drink to fit in because they think alcohol will help them make new friends.
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 difficult to reach the desired state of intoxication. This can potentially lead to alcohol abuse or alcohol use disorder (AUD).
Fraternities and sororities are often focal points for college binge drinking and substance abuse. Excessive drinking can have short term academic consequences such as missing class and lower grades, however it can have much more serious effects.
A 2018 study conducted at the University of Michigan, funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and published in the Journal of Adolescent Health reported that 45 percent of residential fraternity members report alcohol use disorder symptoms reflecting mild to severe AUDs by the age of 35.
This goes to show that when students develop drinking problems in college, the potential effects can last long past their college years. It is unlikely that we can prevent students from drinking alcohol, but educating them on the potential dangers of unhealthy patterns of drinking, and other prevention efforts may help save our students seeking higher education.
There are both 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. However, problematic use can lead to more serious health problems such as:
Drinking may be part of the “college experience” but it often comes with unwanted effects. These can include short-term and long-term effects on college students from all socio-economic, ethnic, and academic backgrounds.
About 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year due to accidental, alcohol-related injuries.NIAAA study
College is a socially difficult time for many students. It is not surprising that most of the risk factors associated with college drinking revolve around social situations.
Some of these factors include:
There are several treatment options available for alcohol addiction in college students, regardless of severity.
Alcohol addiction develops over an extended period of time, especially in comparison to other drugs. If you are concerned about your drinking habits or those of somebody you know, find treatment today.
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