Alcoholism in College
College living is very similar to functional alcoholism. In fact, when you compare the two, they’re almost identical!
College living and alcoholism share many similar traits, characteristics, and negative consequences. Four out of five college students drink and half of all college drinkers are binge drinkers!
Binge drinking is the consumption of an excessive amount of alcohol in a short period of time. Technically, this amounts to five or more drinks in one sitting for men and four or more drinks in one sitting for women.
For almost everyone, drinking starts as innocent fun and a way to fit in. It starts as a good time. Drinking is social and helps people get to know each other.
Unfortunately, for some this innocent beginning turns into a life-threatening addiction.
Simply put, a college environment can create a perfect storm for many who are prone to alcoholism.
Characteristics of an Alcoholic
- Feeling alienated
- Feeling inadequate
- Persistent anxiety
- Low self-worth
- Black and white thinking
- Engages in risky behavior
- Frequent complaints
- Prone to isolation
Consequences of Alcoholism and the Similarities to College Drinking
Excessive alcohol consumption has been linked to numerous mental health concerns, including depression, anxiety, suicidal ideation, actual suicide attempts, and cognitive impairment.
Heavy drinking is defined as having fifteen or more drinks per week for men and having eight or more drinks per week for women. Most college drinkers meet these criteria. In fact, studies show that more than 150,000 college drinkers have encountered alcohol-related health problems.
Even more alarming is that almost 2% of college drinkers have attempted suicide.
Physical Complications Linked to Alcoholism
Common health problems that result from alcoholism include minor injury, weight gain, elevated blood pressure, liver damage, heart problems, automobile accidents, and comas. Heavy college drinking results in the same consequences.
In fact, 600,000 college drinkers have injured themselves while under the influence of alcohol. Many college students also gain weight (think “the freshmen fifteen”) from excessive alcohol consumption.
What’s the withdrawal from Alcohol like?
Some Students Are at Higher Risk for Alcoholism
Students who attend colleges with a known drinking reputation are more likely to be diagnosed with alcoholism. The media often rates the top ten party schools each year. These rankings are used by many incoming freshmen to decide which school they’d like to attend.
Also at high risk for alcoholism are students with a family history of addiction.
What’s Being Done to Address This Problem?
Student organizations, student government, student bodies at large, as well as groups like M.A.D.D. and others, are all raising awareness about excessive drinking.
If you or a loved one think you might have a problem with drinking, call today for an assessment at Lighthouse Recovery Institute at 1-844-I-CAN-CHANGE.