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The Problem of College Alcohol Abuse
Drinking on college campuses is a popular activity for many students. Students often celebrate academic and social victories or attend parties where alcohol is widely available. It is common for college students to have relaxed attitudes towards even dangerous levels of alcohol abuse and drink for a variety of reasons, including the general party environment. In particular binge drinking is a major problem. Unfortunately, college alcohol abuse has many serious personal, legal, financial, academic, and medical consequences.
Problems become apparent when college students don’t practice moderation when consuming alcoholic beverages and develop excessive alcohol-related habits. Reports reveal roughly 4 out of 5 college students abuse alcohol. 110,000 students aged 18 to 24 are arrested each year for alcohol-related violations like driving under the influence and being drunk in public. 1,825 college students die every year from unintentional alcohol-related injuries.
What Are the Risks of College Alcohol Abuse?
College students who abuse alcohol face unique risks that can have short and long-term effects. College students can easily transition from having 1 to 2 drinks per week, to 1 to 2 drinks per day, to 1 to 2 drinks per hour, and rapidly develop a tolerance for alcohol. In addition to uncomfortable hangovers, students are at increased risk of:
- Academic decline
- Missed classes
- Binge drinking
- Blacking out
- Alcohol poisoning
- Violent acts
- Criminal activity
- Car accidents
- Body injury
The long-term effects of college alcohol abuse can include:
- Brain damage
- Heart problems
- High blood pressure
- Liver problems
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College Alcohol Abuse, Assault, and Violence
College alcohol abuse leads to risky behaviors like drunk driving, vandalism, fights, violence, and sexual indiscretion. The connection between college alcohol abuse and sexual assault and other violent crimes is both complicated and harrowing. 696,000 college students are assaulted by other students yearly. More than 97,000 men and women in college are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault every year.
College-aged women are vulnerable to sexual assault due to sexually aggressive attitudes that are fueled by drinking, which often leads to date rape. Alcohol-impaired judgement also leads many students to make sexually risky decisions like having unprotected sex or completing sexually uncomfortable actions.
College Binge Drinking
Binge drinking on campuses increases daily. Binge drinking is different than heavy drinking. Binge drinking is marked by:
- 4 or more drinks in under 2 hours for women
- 5 or more drinks in under 2 hours for men
Half of college students engage in binge drinking. Reasons a student may binge drink may include:
- Embracing a perception of freedom
- Relaxed attitudes with alcohol abuse
- Proving one’s self
- Hazing rituals
- Fitting in
- Overcoming anxieties
- Peer pressure
- Environmental factors
In particular, the hazing and pressure to fit in that are found among fraternities and sororities create a reason to get carried away and normalize binge drinking. Hazing, initiating rituals in college, can be innocent, but it can also be very dangerous. Hazing often includes binge-drinking rituals which, in some cases, have caused fatal alcohol poisoning.
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Factors that Influence College Alcohol Abuse
- Having a family history of drinking
- Drinking for self-confidence
- Disorders like depression and anxiety
- A history of drug abuse
- Associating with friends who drink
Stopping Excessive Drinking Before It Gets Worse
Making a habit of excessive drinking can create traumatic life-changing effects. If you are a college student who has been a victim of binge drinking, has suffered trauma due to an alcohol-related assault, or needs help stopping your drinking, there is help available.
Treatment providers will guide college students to treatment facilities sensitive to the needs of young adults in confidential settings. Here, students can safely heal trauma, and discover underlying causes of binge drinking or alcohol abuse. Contact a provider today, and be one step ahead of an addiction that can plague you for a lifetime.
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