College Students and Binge Drinking
Drinking at college is often glorified in movies and encouraged through the “party culture” pervasive at many colleges and universities. In this kind of atmosphere, students are more likely to engage in unhealthy drinking activities, assuming it is a normal part of the college experience. What many students don’t realize is that excessive drinking can lead to severe health and safety risks as well as the possibility of addiction. If you or someone you care about is struggling with binge drinking, get in touch with us now for help.
Excessive drinking over a short amount of time is known as binge drinking. In order to be considered a “binge,” the drinker’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) must reach or exceed 0.08 grams per 100 grams of blood. This usually happens when a man consumes 5 or more drinks or a woman consumes 4 or more drinks over the course of about 2 hours.
Approximately 2 out of every 5 college students of all ages (more than 40 percent) reported binge drinking at least once in the 2 weeks prior.
While some college students may claim they’re only trying to have a good time, patterns of excessive drinking can be dangerous and lead to devastating consequences.
Consequences of Alcohol Abuse in College
The negative effects of excessive drinking are as serious as they are widespread. The following annual statistics apply to college students between the ages of 18 to 24, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism:
- About 1,825 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries
- More than 690,000 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking
- More than 97,000 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
- About 599,000 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol
- About 25 percent report academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall
- More than 150,000 develop an alcohol-related health problem
- Between 1.2 and 1.5 percent indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use
Reasons for Binge Drinking
Some college students who binge drink are just looking for a way to meet people and fit in, while others try binge drinking as a way to stave off underlying problems. Many college students who are on their own for the first time struggle with loneliness as they adjust to a new life away from family and childhood friends. When these feelings deepen, depression can set in.
Binge drinking can be particularly damaging to college students struggling with loneliness and depression. Excessive drinking will only worsen these feelings, and can lead to cyclical drinking behavior.
Other reasons college students turn to alcohol include:
- Desire to fit in
- Relationship trauma