Each year, over 1,800 college students die of alcohol-related injuries. That’s 1,800 young minds that could have solved world hunger, been teachers, or even cured a disease. Unfortunately, college culture today is almost inseparable from alcohol abuse and thousands of young people are negatively affected by this linkage every year.
“Drinking at college has become a ritual that students often see as an integral part of their higher-education experience,” reports the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA).
College students, and especially freshmen, want to fit in with their peers and often find the acceptance they seek in college party crowds. But acceptance has a price, and for many college students it isn’t a cheap one.
Injuries Related to Alcohol Abuse
The NIAA estimates that 80 percent of college students drink alcohol , and that almost half of that 80 percent participated in binge drinking in the last two weeks. For women, binge drinking is considered having four drinks within two hours, and for men it is five drinks in two hours. Binge drinking can cause serious health risks for those who participate in it, including car crashes, sexual assaults and other injuries.
An estimated 599,000 college students are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol each year. And that doesn’t include the 696,000 students estimated to be violently assaulted by another student who has been drinking, or the 97,000 students who are victims of alcohol-related sexual assaults. Separate from sexual assault is the alarming statistic that over 100,000 college students report being too drunk to even know if they consented to having sex.
Despite the way many modern TV shows and movies celebrate the culture of college drinking, the above statistics show that these seemingly glamorous depictions of college life are unrealistic. Drinking can be dangerous for young college students, and on top of that, it can severely impact their grades.
Alcohol Use and College Academics
Sadly, about 25 percent of college students report suffering academic problems because of their drinking habits. These consequences include missing class, falling behind in class, getting low grades on exams and papers, and receiving low class grades overall.
When the entire point of college is to become more educated, better yourself and get a good job, it’s incredibly disappointing to see the number of college students who let alcohol ruin these possibilities for themselves. Even students with high levels of alcohol abuse who graduate aren’t guaranteed a bright future, as long-term alcohol abuse can lead to increased chances of depression, health problems and involvement with the police.
Don’t throw your future away just because you think drinking is part of the “college experience.” That experience is whatever you want it to be. Don’t let today negatively affect you in the long-term.
College Alcohol Use and Long-Term Dependence
Nineteen percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 24 can be considered alcohol abusers or alcohol dependent. However, many of these young people do not seek help for their alcohol abuse – in fact, only about 5 percent seek treatment.
For alcoholics this young, seeking treatment is crucial. Many rehab facilities are available for college students who have found themselves addicted to alcohol as a result of college partying pressures.
A powerful way to communicate the importance of seeking treatment is to learn from those who have battled addiction to alcohol in the past. Encourage them to read books by Stephen Della Valle, Justin Daniels and Heather Kopp.
If you think you can’t be an alcoholic just because you’re in college, think again. The good news is there are people out there who want to get you back on the right path. Let your college experience be a good one — contact a rehab center today if you or one of your friends need serious help with alcohol abuse.