Alcohol Remains Drug Of Choice For College Students

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For college students, it’s that time of year again: final exams, holiday parties, and the excitement of winter break. While the holidays can be a joyful time of year for these students, too much partying and drinking can be problematic.

This is especially true of college students, as they remain one of the highest consumers of alcohol in the country. It’s prevalent in many functions throughout the year: football games, parties, fraternity and sorority events, etc. There are many reasons why young adults turn to alcohol, and for college students, alcohol remains their drug of choice.

Number One

In a survey conducted in 2009 by the National Institutes of Health, it was found that 4 out of 5 college students drink at least occasionally. More troubling is the fact that 40% of college students admitted to binge drinking at least one time within two weeks of taking the survey.

Binge drinking involves consuming large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time with the aim of becoming intoxicated. For men, binge drinking consists of drinking five or more standard drinks in a row. For women, binge drinking means drinking four or more drinks in a row. The National Household Drug Abuse Survey notes that binge drinking has the highest prevalence for those aged 18 to 25, with 21 being the peak age for binge drinkers.

Why Many College Students Drink Alcohol

For many students, college is the first time they are away from home. For students under the age of 21, alcohol is often viewed as forbidden fruit. Under-aged college students may view alcohol as a way to fit in with their peers or even as a “rite of passage” into adulthood. Some students may think that drinking alcohol is just “experiencing college life” and want to focus on living in the moment at parties or other social events.

But these are not the only reasons college students abuse alcohol. Hazing is another unfortunate event that happens on many college campuses. Students involved in athletic, Greek, or other organizations can be exposed to hazing that involves alcohol or other activities that are abusive, dangerous, or even lethal. The National Study of Student Hazing reports that more than 50% of college students that are involved in clubs, organizations, or teams are victims of hazing.

Another reason for college aged drinking is that youth view alcohol as an escape from the pressures of college coursework. Many times, students cannot cope with the pressures to get good grades from professors, parents, or the pressure they put on themselves and turn to alcohol to reduce stress. Others work hard to receive good grades and feel they can cut loose on the weekends.

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Alcohol Risks

According to the National Institutes of Health, 25% of college students that drink suffer consequences in their academic performance such as: missing class, failing exams, struggling with assignments, falling behind, and even receiving lower grades.

Even worse, the National Institutes of Health notes that 1,825 college students aged 18-24 die each year due to alcohol related injuries. Abusing alcohol at any age can impair your cognitive functioning and decision-making skills. Impaired cognitive decisions while under the influence of alcohol can lead to disastrous results.

More Serious Risks

Drinking alcohol can also lead to other serious consequences. The more a college student drinks, the more they increase the chances for the following:

  • Unprotected Sex: 13% of college students reported having unprotected sex after a night of heavy drinking
  • Assault: Each year, 690,000 students aged 18-24 were assaulted by another college student that was currently under the influence of alcohol
  • Driving While Intoxicated: Every year, more than 3.3 million college students aged 18-24 drive while intoxicated
  • Injuries: Each year, about 599,000 college students sustain injuries related to alcohol use
  • Sexual Abuse: 97,000 college students per year are victims of alcohol-related sexual abuse or date rape

Seek Help Today

To learn more, contact us at today.There are many other signs to look for if you are concerned a college student you know is struggling from alcohol addiction, such as: decreased interest in favorite activities, hanging out with those that influence them negatively, lying about their behaviors, stealing, rapid mood swings, or denial of the problem.

Addiction is a serious mental illness that needs to be addressed professionally. To learn more, contact us at today. We can help you find the right treatment option for you or your loved one.

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