Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are a prominent crisis in the national population. Nowhere, however, is alcohol abuse a higher concern than on college campuses, where the underage are most likely to drink to excess. Alcohol abuse in college can happen due to peer pressure, social traditions, and curiosity, but these innocent causes can often lead to deadly circumstances.
Alcohol Abuse in College
While considered by some to be a natural part of the college experience, binge drinking can have deleterious effects on students’ health and futures. Injury and even death can result from uncontrolled drinking. By educating students and updating policies on alcohol abuse prevention on college campuses, college administrators can reduce the instances of alcohol abuse on their campuses and set an example of responsibility.
Though similar, alcoholism and alcohol abuse are two different phenomena. Alcoholism is a state of physical or psychological dependence on alcohol. Alcoholics may need to drink every day, and the consequences of their actions often lead to a decreased quality of life. Problems with work or at school are common, and relationships may suffer. Alcoholics often need increasing amounts of the substance to achieve the same effects of drunkenness.
The abrupt cessation of consuming alcohol can result in uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms, which can compel alcoholics to maintain the habit. Alcohol abuse is characterized by overindulgence by people who are not dependent on the drink. Typically, those who abuse alcohol drink until problems occur with them or in their environments. Like alcoholics, alcohol abusers are likely to experience problems at work or school and in relationships. Both types of alcohol users can frequently be at odds with the law and may put themselves in dangerous situations due to alcohol’s influence.
Alcoholics may enjoy drinking alone, find excuses to drink, and can become irritable when someone questions their consumption. Hygiene can suffer, and personal and work responsibilities can be shirked. Symptoms of alcoholism can be physical and chemical in nature as well. Alcoholics require increasing amounts of alcohol to feel its effects. They may also experience clammy skin, headaches, insomnia, nausea or vomiting, heart problems, sweating, tremors, and mood disorders when they haven’t ingested alcohol for at least 24 hours. This discomfort may last for weeks as their systems attempt to readjust to not having alcohol.
Aside from the physical dependency aspect, alcohol abusers share many of the same symptoms as alcoholics. Like alcoholics, they can continue to drink even when work, school, or relationships deteriorate or even after they find themselves slowly giving up activities that bring them joy.
Binge drinking is a form of alcohol abuse in college that plagues many campuses across the nation. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, binge drinking is the consumption of alcohol that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to a level of 0.08 percent or higher. For many, this occurs when an individual consumes between four and five drinks within a two-hour time period. Astonishingly, as much as 90% of underage alcohol consumption comes from binge drinking.
The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and binge drinking are far-reaching. Those who consume alcohol without limits run the risk of developing alcoholism, which can lead to significant physical complications. Mood disorders, internal bleeding, organ damage, sexual dysfunction, and brain disorders can arise from alcoholism. For binge drinkers on a college campus, the peril can be tangible and immediate: Alcohol poisoning, injury, physical and sexual assault, academic problems, and a willingness to practice unsafe sex are often tied to the activity. Property damage and the loss of life can also occur as a repercussion of binge drinking, as drunk-driving incidents positively correlate with alcohol abuse in college.
Preventing Dangerous Alcohol Abuse in College
Carefully monitoring student environments can have a significant effect on binge-drinking activities. Restricting the availability of alcohol to minors and enforcing alcohol-related laws can play a large role in keeping binge drinking out of students’ college agenda. Fostering healthy self-esteem in young adults is said to lower their susceptibility to outside peer pressure, including that involving alcohol. Managing mood disorders and reducing stress can also lower the probability that students will consume alcohol while underage and on campus. Educating students about the perils of binge drinking can help prevent alcohol-related problems before they start.
If alcohol abuse in college already set you down the path toward alcoholism, it’s not too late to get help. Call the professionals at Morningside Recovery today to learn about alcoholism rehab, alcohol addiction treatment, and other substance abuse treatment programs. Recovery is possible, so reach out today at 855-631-2135.