Binge Drinking and Stress Among American College Students
The West News
By Saurabh Thakur
May 12, 2022
A recent survey by the University of Michigan found that nearly 40% of college students drink alcohol, while over 20% binge drink once per week or more often, which can lead to long-term negative effects on health and mental wellbeing. In an effort to better understand these statistics, researchers surveyed the drinking habits of over 14,000 college students throughout the United States. Their results were published in the journal Health Psychology, and some of their findings were surprising.
What is binge drinking?
Binge drinking is defined as consuming 5 or more drinks in a short period of time. I’ve found that college students need to understand what binge drinking is, before we can discuss if it’s harmful. A person who binge drinks on a regular basis may experience insomnia (difficulty falling asleep), tension, brain damage, and brain cells getting destroyed. These are just some of reasons why binge drinking should be avoided in college students.
Is there a relationship between binge drinking and mental health?
There is a relationship between binge drinking and mental health. While it’s easy to write off students who binge drink as immature, irresponsible party-goers (or even addicts), there are a number of stressors in college that could lead students to abuse alcohol, including exams, relationships with professors or peers, lack of sleep, social pressures like hazing or Greek life and psychological disorders such as anxiety or depression.
What are other risks associated with binge drinking?
Binge drinking is risky for a variety of reasons. In addition to hangovers, it can be associated with drug use, depression, unsafe sex, physical injuries (car accidents), sexual assault, a lack of academic success or performance issues in school or at work due to hangovers.
How do colleges influence student behavior?
According to recent statistics, more than 50% of students ages 18-24 have taken part in binge drinking. Some studies suggest that campus culture plays a big role in determining whether or not a student will drink alcohol. Alcohol abuse can take on many forms – most common among college students is binge drinking, which involves consuming 4 or more drinks within 2 hours for men and 3 or more drinks within 2 hours for women.
Why are students compelled to drink alcohol?
It’s not just about getting wasted. For many students, heavy drinking is more about bonding with friends than getting high. Whether it’s to celebrate a big exam or just unwind after class, excessive drinking often has less to do with pleasure than stress relief–and it doesn’t help that pressure to succeed is higher than ever before. Today’s college students also lack alcohol education, according to recent research.
What can you do if your child is involved in campus drinking?
It’s a tricky situation when your child is involved in binge drinking. But, there are steps you can take to get them involved in activities that reduce stress levels and help them make good decisions about alcohol consumption.
How can we change the culture around alcohol consumption?
Because of their age, most college students have not had much experience drinking. As a result, they don’t know what their limits are or how to pace themselves when they’re drinking. The best way to avoid binge drinking is by pacing yourself; start with one drink, wait at least an hour before having another, and make sure you eat while you drink. This will help slow down your consumption rate so that you can better monitor your alcohol intake.
Ultimately, binge drinking is a very serious problem that has major implications on today’s society. It is impossible to ban alcohol. However, more prevention methods are needed to prevent college students from developing problematic drinking habits.