Binge drinking trends have statistically not changed much overall since the 1980’s but heavy drinking among college students is still a problem. Problem drinking can begin anytime in adolescence on through adulthood. Learn some important talking points to share with college students about binge drinking, risks and how to moderate drinking behavior.
Moderate drinking is defined as roughly 2 drinks per day. Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking anywhere from 4 to 5 drinks in a two hour period. Approximately half of college students who drink also binge drink. The following are six important conversations to start dialogue with college students about drinking behavior and binge drinking:
Heavy drinking can lead to many detrimental health risks including:
- Alcohol poisoning
- Unintentional injuries
- High blood pressure, stroke or risk of cardiovascular disease
- Neurological damage
- Sexual dysfunction
It can be difficult for some individuals to know personal limits and when to quit drinking. The individual will continue drinking to produce a desired effect, not knowing the risk of alcohol poisoning is increasing. A high alcohol threshold is not a positive indicator, it can actually put an individual at risk for potential health problems.
Heavy Drinking and Addiction
Alcoholism and substance abuse issues tend to increase for some individuals with a genetic predisposition. Some heavy drinkers can cut back on drinking without treatment while others struggle to be released of negative substance abuse patterns and coping behaviors. Treatment programs generally provide some benefit to individuals in this case.
Risk of Blackouts
Students who drink heavily may experience blackouts, periods of amnesia which occur while the person is conscious, alert and active. Young adults are impacted by alcohol-related blackouts with high risks of fatal health outcomes. A person in the midst of a blackout may appear aware of surroundings but is not in full control and become at risk for physical assault, sexual violence or motor vehicle accidents.
Heavy Drinking and Mental Health
Heaving drinking can increase a person’s potential for addiction but substance abuse patterns also escalate the likelihood of experiencing mental health issues including anxiety, depression, aggression and eating disorders. A negative cycle of substance abuse can develop to cope with mental health conditions. Treatment by a doctor or facility which supports co-occurring substance use and mental health disorders can ensure proper care for an affected individual.
Social media tends to normalize drinking culture and behavior. A picture is painted which makes heavy drinking lifestyles seem glamorous without the risk involved. Teens and college age students are more heavily influenced by peer and social groups than adults and are at a higher risk of disordered behavior around drinking as a result of social influences.
Knowledge is power. Informing a teenage or college aged student about risky drinking behavior can open the door for positive dialogue on creating a more healthy lifestyle.
College students are particularly susceptible to binge drinking and addictive drinking patterns. Stress and anxiety are at peak levels to perform at school and transition into adulthood. If you believe your college age student is struggling with addiction to alcohol, contact Hired Power. We will help you start a dialogue and formulate next steps for recovery.