- April 4, 2019
- Posted By: diamondhousedetox
College alcohol culture is an almost ubiquitous media representation. Most people can conjure up John Belushi in a singing toga, or college freshmen enjoying campus life to enthusiastic applause of "Shoots!" shots! Shots! in numerous coming-of-age comedies. While scenes like these in movies and TV can always make us laugh, they also played an important role in normalizing college drinking. College drinking can be a beautiful experience, but it's easy to lose control. When binge drinking and alcohol abuse become the focus of socialization, many young adults on college campuses find they need help. About20 percent of college studentshave an alcohol use disorder.
What makes college drinking so common? Why is this culture causing so many young adults to struggle with alcohol abuse? Understanding the basics of college drinking culture and the warning signs of alcohol abuse can help students and those who care for them get help.
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Alcohol culture at universities
Binge drinking shapes alcohol culture, but what's the difference between a few drinks and binge drinking? The definition of binge drinking for women is havingfour or more drinksin a single period and five or more drinks in a single period for men. Recent data shows that millions of men and women reported binge drinking in the past month. Binge drinking is not limited to college students, but is a common part of college culture. Why is alcohol abuse so common on college campuses?
For many young adults, attending college is the first time in their lives without regular adult supervision. This is especially true for students who move into dorms or apartments off-campus, as opposed to students who commute from home to classes. This journey into adulthood can be intimidating. College students can feel unprepared for adulthood, or the sense of freedom can feel like a breath of fresh air. However, there is nobody telling them what to do and what not to do. Drinking is an adult activity, and college is a gateway to adulthood. The two seem like a natural unit.
Along with this newfound freedom comes a desire to fit in and make friends. When everyone is drinking, peer pressure to participate is strong. Much of college social activity revolves around drinking, so turning down a drink at a party can seem risky. will you be the odd one out Will your peers stop inviting you to parties? This peer pressure can be particularly intense when college students are members of a fraternity or sorority. Greek culture has long been known for excessive alcohol consumption. One study found a link between pressure to show somethingHypermasculinity in connecting chaptersand excessive alcohol consumption.
Whether or not they participate in Greek culture, college students can experience incredible levels of stress. The uncertainty of being away from home for the first time and the pressure to do well academically are undoubtedly distressing. Drinking while in a coma is a common way to "let off steam" and deal with stress. After studying for exams all week, a weekend of drinking seems like the ideal way to forget about school for a while.
Also, many college students are on a tight budget. If alcohol is available, why not drink as much as possible? Because who knows when the next drink will be?
Colleges and universities have rules to curb excessive alcohol consumption. The law prohibits the consumption of alcohol by minors, as the legal drinking age is 21. Some colleges go a step further and ban alcohol entirely on campus. While these rules are well-intentioned, they do not necessarily solve the problem of alcohol abuse at school. Furthermore, colleges do not always have the ability to strictly enforce alcohol consumption rules. With dry campuses, students often find places to drink off campus. Despite prohibition and other school policies, many college students still face the consequences of alcohol abuse.
The consequences of alcohol abuse at school
Excessive alcohol consumption has consequences. College students know this, but they often think they are in control and won't interfere in their lives. While this may be true for some people, it's important to understand what's at stake.
- academic failure:When one is intoxicated with freedom and new social experiences, it is easy to forget that acquiring an education is the main purpose of study. About a quarter of college students say they have.academic problems related to the consequences of alcohol use. Academic problems can range from missing a class or performing poorly on a test to failing a class. Poor academic performance can have far-reaching consequences that affect your career and your chances of finding a job after graduation.
- Expulsion:Missed classes, late projects, and failed tests add up. Insufficient academic performance can lead to expulsion from the university. Even if you didn't graduate, any student loans you earned remain with you. Poor academic performance isn't the only way college students who abuse alcohol face deportation. Some colleges have strict rules about alcohol consumption on campus. If the authorities catch you repeatedly breaking these rules, you could be expelled from the dorm or university. Being expelled can make it difficult for you to return to your academic life.
- Main Risk Assumption:Alcohol lowers your inhibitions. It might seem like the perfect trick to fit in and make new friends, but lowered inhibitions can also lead to riskier behavior. For example, excessive drinking can lead to risky sexual encounters, such as having unprotected sex with a stranger. People who are under the influence of alcohol have poor judgment and these decisions may seem easy right now. After all, you wake up tomorrow.—maybe a little hangover—for a new day But significant risks can have consequences, like sexually transmitted diseases or unwanted pregnancies, that persist long after the drinks are out of your system.
- Attack:Lower inhibitions can increase the likelihood that violence will occur, and assault on college campuses is an ongoing problem. About696,000 Students18-24 year olds attacked by another drunk student. Alcohol abuse can also play a role in sexual assault. The consequences for student offenders and their victims are far-reaching. Students who commit aggression face expulsion and legal consequences, while those who are victims of such violence face physical and psychological harm.
- Tod:College students often consider binge drinking as a badge of honor. Who can take more pictures? Who had the worst hangover? Who puked where? Drinking to excess might seem like a recipe for funny stories, but it can lead to alcohol poisoning and even death. Alcohol causes about every year88.000 Tote, which means it is the third leading cause of death in the United States. 31% of these deaths are related to driving. Excessive alcohol consumption can not only result in your death, but also in the deaths of others if you drive while intoxicated.
The warning signs of alcohol abuse in college
With so many people drinking alcohol in college, it can be difficult to determine when social drinking crossed the line into alcohol abuse. College students may rationalize their behavior because they can only compare themselves to their peers who are also alcoholics. Parents whose children live on campus often have no idea what their college students' social lives are like or how much alcohol they consume. These are some red flags for college students and those who care for them need to know.
- Poor school performance:College students can struggle academically for a variety of reasons. Maybe they need to balance a job and their responsibilities in the classroom, or maybe they need more help understanding the course material. But alcohol is an important factor to consider. When college students are failing academically, look at what they are doing outside of the classroom. What is the main difference between high school and college? Easy access to alcohol is often a factor. Ask yourself if your drinking nights and weekends are making it difficult for you to go to class. Did you feel too dizzy to concentrate on the last test? Or did you oversleep and completely miss the test? This binge drinking episode could be a sign that you need to re-evaluate the role drinking plays in your social life.
- Prioritize the drink:Many people struggling with alcohol abuse find ways to make alcohol their top priority. They spend a lot of time planning their next drink and avoid social gatherings that don't involve drinking. If you are structuring every social event around the availability of alcohol, ask yourself why. If you decide that another drink is more important than studying for tomorrow's test, consider what that means. College students may also notice this behavior in their classmates, reminding each other of their most important priorities.
- health problems:Many people ponder the long-term health consequences of alcohol abuse. Excessive alcohol consumption can damage your heart and liver over time. Alcohol abuse increases the risk of high blood pressure and stroke, as well as liver disease. College students are young and these risks seem absurd. However, excessive alcohol consumption affects your body in the immediate present. Alcohol alters the way the brain communicates with the body, making coordination more difficult and making falls more likely. Excessive alcohol consumption carries another immediate health risk: alcohol poisoning. Alcohol poisoning can cause loss of consciousness, vomiting, seizures and breathing problems. Someone suffering from alcohol poisoning can die without medical intervention. If you or someone you know drinks so much that you crash, pass out, or become intoxicated, this is an important warning sign of alcohol abuse.
How to avoid alcohol abuse while studying
Alcohol abuse can be an insidious problemhard to seeabout you and the people you care about. Changing the drinking culture on college campuses can go a long way toward reducing the number of people who abuse alcohol, but changing such an ingrained culture takes time. This change must occur at the individual and institutional level. College students must actively adopt a new mindset that recognizes the risks of alcohol abuse, and colleges must have policies in place to support this. What can we do to facilitate this change and prevent alcohol abuse in schools?
- Education:Education is one of the essential strategies for preventing alcohol abuse. Hefirst six weeks of a college student's freshman yearthey are a critical moment that makes them particularly vulnerable to alcohol abuse. Parents can prepare their children for this period by actively talking with them about the risks and consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. Write or call your student regularly. Let them know that they can contact you if they have any questions. Find out what kind of educational resources your child's college offers. Even if your student decides to drink during college, education will help them understand the difference between social drinking and binge drinking and the warning signs of alcohol abuse. College is a time of learning, both inside and outside the classroom. Parents can help prepare their children for this transformative time.
- Find new ways to manage stress:Stress is one of the main causes of excessive alcohol consumption at school. Discovering alternative ways to deal with stress can prevent alcohol abuse. First, identify the main source of stress. Is it the pressure of finding a social circle? Is it the pressure to take on academic responsibilities? If you're a student concerned about making friends, check out the extracurricular activities your school offers. Join a sport or club that suits your interests. You can meet people and participate in an activity that doesn't involve drinking. If the stress of class is getting to you, join a study group. Go to your teacher's office hours. Focus on learning to be less afraid of failure. If you need to vent after a tough academic week, try exercise or a new hobby.
Asking for help
Alcohol abuse is not uncommon. You are not alone. College is a challenging time and we've all had to ask for help at some point. If you are struggling with this issue at university, support is available.safe detoxIt's the first step to getting sober and taking back control of your life.contact usat Diamond House Detox to find out how we can help. We customize our approach to ensure we meet your needs. Call today for same day admission(800) 205-6107.
Clinically reviewed content byVicky Magobet, PMHNP-BC, on April 4, 2019.
23https://www.shatterproof.org/ Changing college drinking culture