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College Binge Drinking

College is known for a few things, large lecture halls, late night cramming, and of course the wild parties. Thanks to popular culture, drinking is ingrained into views of college life to where the thought of it not being there seems strange. Unfortunately, this normalcy allows for serious problems such as binge drinking, which goes unchecked throughout the college years. Where five or more drinks in a row1 might seem excessive elsewhere, it often appears to be a typical Friday night on college campuses.

How Many Students Binge Drink?

Whether it it’s drinking to be “normal”2, testing out the new found freedom of being away from parents or simply overestimating alcohol tolerance, over 25 percent of college students3 ages 18 to 24 report binge drinking on a regular or semi-regular basis. With over a quarter of students binging, all too often the serious and sometimes deadly effects of binge drinking go unnoticed.

Health Risks Caused by Binge Drinking4

  • Liver disease such as Cirrhosis
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Ulcers
  • Impaired Brain Function
  • Cardiac Arrest
  • Stroke
  • Coma
  • Death

While binge drinkers often don’t view their drinking as a problem, it is college binge drinkers who believe their drinking habits to be completely normal. After all, everyone at the party seems to be having at least five drinks that night. When a student’s binge drinking becomes a problem, it is often left to those close to them to be cognizant of the symptoms and signs.

Signs of Binge Drinking and Alcohol Dependence5

  • Frequently drinking to the point of intoxication
  • Choosing drinking over other healthy and engaging activities
  • Relying on drinking to get through the day
  • Drinking alone
  • “Blacking out” or suffering memory loss after drinking
  • Harming relationships by becoming angry or violent when drunk
  • Engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving drunk
  • Consistently getting in trouble with campus, community or state authorities

Help on Campus for Binge Drinking

Fortunately for college students, most campuses have healthcare centers that provide free or low-cost help for those who are struggling with binge drinking. Often schools will be able to offer both basic medical help, along with free psychiatric help that will help students with any emotional issues that could be contributing to prolonged binge drinking.

Admitting that there is a problem is always the hardest part of any recovery, but for being in a situation that is seemingly built to foster binge drinking, college students have some of the best options for free and low-cost help as soon as they are willing to look for it.

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