Alcohol Use on College Campuses

Alcohol Use on College CampusesAlcohol abuse is considered a rite of passage on many college campuses, but students often take drinking so far that they risk harm. Binge drinking, drunk driving and underage consumption are common trends on colleges, and even using designated drivers carries risk, as a 2013 Time magazine reports that 40% of these drivers still drink before driving. The US Department of Health and Human Services called college binge drinking an epidemic in 2002. Seek professional help for yourself or a college loved one if alcohol abuse has started to cause problems.

Alcohol Abuse Statistics

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism website features the following statistics on college drinking:

  • 31% of college students surveyed met the criteria for alcohol abuse
  • 6% of the students met the criteria for alcohol dependence
  • 1.2% to 1.5% of college students had suicide attempts associated with alcohol or drug use
  • 25% of college students experienced academic consequences related to alcohol consumption

In 2009, the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs published an article, “Magnitude of Alcohol-Related Mortality and Morbidity among U.S. College Students Ages 18-24.” It utilized various studies to provide the following data:

  • 44% of four-year college students reported one or more heavy-drinking episodes in the past year
  • 23% of the students admitted that they regularly engaged in heavy-drinking episodes
  • 40% of two- and four-year students engaged in binge drinking in the prior two weeks
  • By comparison, 35% of non-college peers binge drank in the same time period
  • The total number of college binge drinkers in the two-week period topped 3.3 million
  • College students had higher rates of drunk driving than their non-college peers

To illustrate the problem, Forbes writes in 2012 that the number of U.S. college students who engaged in high-risk drinking totaled more than the population of New York City.

Risks of Alcohol Abuse in College

The ColoradoStateUniversity website lists several prominent risks associated with collegiate alcohol abuse, including the following ones:

  • 1,400 unintended deaths
  • 500,000 injuries or accidents
  • 600,000 physical assaults
  • 70,000 reports of sexual assault
  • 2.1 million drunk driving incidents

Per the website, students also report 150,000 alcohol-related health problems each year, which can include the following problems:

  • Potentially lethal liver damage known as cirrhosis
  • Cardiovascular disease and heart rhythm abnormalities
  • Epilepsy, seizures and interference with convulsion-related medication
  • Alcoholic neuropathy, a form of nerve damage, that produces pain and numbness
  • Initiation or acceleration of mental health disorders like depression and dementia

Parents can help their college children seek alcohol abuse treatment, but college peers often provide the most effective motivation of all. Classmates need to encourage their friends to get help before these risks become reality.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment

Rehab centers treat alcohol abuse in the following ways:

  • Medically supervised detox that minimizes withdrawal symptoms
  • Mental health care for co-occurring disorders
  • Behavioral therapies that improve cognitive tendencies related to conduct
  • Counseling to address people, places and emotions that trigger alcohol cravings
  • Group therapy to exchange ideas and success with other patients

Treatment professionals customized treatment to each patient’s needs, so treatment can include strategies to address challenges that are common to college life.

Help for College Alcohol Abuse

If you, your child or friend abuses alcohol, we can help. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day at a toll-free helpline, and they can answer your questions about rehab and health insurance coverage. Please call now and begin your recovery today.

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