A Look at Binge Drinking Among College Students

binge drinkingIt could be easily argued that alcohol is a part of college life. Without fail, between Thursday and Saturday night, college students will come together to imbibe at parties and at bars for those over the age of 21. While college drinking may seem relatively benign, as something that is going to happen regardless of prevention efforts, there are many young adults who do not fully grasp the dangers of “binge drinking” even though they may be engaging in the activity regularly. The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as consuming 5 or more drinks for men, and 4 or more drinks for women in about 2 hours. Whenever someone drinks as much as they can, as fast as they can, the risks of danger exponentially mounts. Alcohol poisoning is a common occurrence among teenagers and young adults, a condition that can be potentially fatal. A team of experts have sought to paint a realistic picture of the dangers of binge drinking. The researchers estimate that every year 1,825 college students ages 18-24 lose their life from unintentional alcohol-related injuries, according to a University of Alabama press release. Those who do not experience an alcohol related tragedy put themselves at risk of developing an unhealthy relationship with alcohol; the research team found that about 20 percent of college students meet the current diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder. While alcohol is legal for adults over the age of 21 to use, research published in The Lancet indicates that alcohol is the most dangerous substance, according to the article. Even more harmful than:
  • Crack Cocaine
  • Heroin
  • Methamphetamine
Alcohol abuse, binge drinking in particular, is thought to be a rite of passage for college students; but in reality it's a very serious health epidemic in the United States," said Peter Hendricks, Ph.D., associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Public Health Department of Health Behavior. "It is important to understand what alcohol is, why it's problematic, and what a person can do to minimize the risk should they choose to drink."
It is crucial that institutes of higher learning make alcohol prevention and education a top priority if the problem is to be mitigated. On top of not operating motor vehicles when intoxicated, college students should also be aware of the signs of alcohol poisoning, which include:
  • Confusion
  • Hypothermia
  • Irregular Breathing
  • Seizures
  • Slow Breathing
  • Vomiting
Alcohol is ingrained in our culture, and binge drinking is perceived as a lighthearted, fun and humorous rite of passage among college students," said Hendricks. "It's crucial to communicate the dire risks of binge drinking and challenge the notion that alcohol use is a normal and harmless part of the college experience."
If you are college-age male whose alcohol use has become problematic, please contact PACE Recovery Center. We specialize in working with young adult males struggling with substance use disorders. We can help you begin the journey of recovery.

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