Sober College Life
From binge drinking and keg parties to getting high in a dorm room, rampant substance abuse and college life are closely associated in popular culture. Reality is, it’s not just partying. The stress of juggling finances and studying for exams can lead some to turn to drugs and alcohol, or trigger relapse for those in recovery.
How much alcohol does a college student drink?
it’s estimated nearly one in six college-age people need treatment for a substance use disorder, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Statistics show 25% of college students report academic consequences related to drug and alcohol use, half of students who drink engage in binge drinking, and nearly 700,000 students have been assaulted by someone who has been drinking. Marijuana and amphetamine use are also on the rise among college students.
According to students, reasons for drug and alcohol abuse in college include:
• Peer pressure
• Stress relief
What is binge drinking?
For men, it’s an excess for four drinks in a single day, and 14 drinks in a week. For women, binge drinking is defined as more than 3 drinks in a day, and seven drinks in a week.
There’s also a lot of confusion about what counts as a drink. 12 fluid ounces of beer, about a can, a single glass of wine at five fluid ounces, and about a “shot,” or 1.5 fluid ounces of fermented liquor constitutes a single drink.
What treatment options are available for students?
All of this combined can make a college education seem like an unattainable goal for those the sober undergrad.
To help address substance abuse issues on college campuses, a growing number of colleges and universities are adding specialized services for those in recovery. Offering counseling and substance-free housing, recovery coaching, mental health treatment, increased access to drug and alcohol counselors, and sober social events, these services offer peer support and accountability as an alternative to the drug and alcohol-fueled college life often portrayed in popular media.
Best of all, these services are often free for students.
Warning signs of drug and alcohol abuse in college
If you or are in college, or you know someone who is, and you’re concerned about drug and alcohol abuse, here are some warning signs:
• Frequent binge drinking, or a tendency to drink more than intended
• Increased tolerance for alcohol, drinking more to achieve the same effect
• Memory blackouts, or risky behavior such as a driving or unintended or unwanted sexual encounters
• Concern from family and friends
• Frequent hangovers
• Forgoing pleasurable activities in favor of drugs and alcohol
• Legal issues related to alcohol
• Academic issues related to drinking
• An inability to cut down on alcohol consumption
• Drinking to manage stress, anxiety, or depression
• Physical side effects during periods of not drinking
To get help with drugs or alcohol, and you’re in college, reach out to your school’s health and counseling department.