College Alcoholism: 5 Key Takeaways – College life brings about major changes for teenagers. It’s a transition from adolescence to adulthood, and it’s usually teenagers’ first time truly being on their own. Most aren’t really prepared for life on campus without their parents within arm’s reach. They’re suddenly treated like adults with all the responsibilities and stress that come along with that privilege. On top of that, they’re under immense pressure to complete their assignments and keep their grades up to par. They’re also experiencing an entirely new level of freedom.
Alcohol Among College Students
Alcohol tends to be a common factor for college students. Age limits for buying it and restrictions against having it on campus do little to keep it at bay. Some students drink to fit in with their peers. Others do so to escape some of the stress of college. For many, it’s a combination of the two. Unfortunately, it becomes a habit for quite a few. Understanding some of the key takeaways on college alcoholism is essential for mitigating its effects.
1) The Importance of Raising Awareness
Making sure college students understand the potential dangers of drinking is crucial. Parents, school administrators, and other authority figures should avoid forbidding students from drinking or preaching to them about it. That may only make them more likely to rebel. That being said, they should stress the importance of drinking responsibly and talk to students about some of the serious consequences of not doing so. Teaching students about the resources available to those who may be suffering from substance use disorders and the benefits of a medical detox program is also essential.
2) Students Make Light of the Problem
Another key takeaway of college alcoholism is that students tend to make light of the problem. College students are likely to imbibe at times. Some may say it’s all part of the college lifestyle. It’s everywhere, and stress and peer pressure prompt students to drink, sometimes to extreme extents. Many students don’t see this as a problem, but they’re looking at it through rose-colored glasses. They don’t understand the full scope of the issue, which includes an increase in sexual assaults, car accidents, deaths from alcohol poisoning, and many other consequences.
3) Adverse Academic Impacts
College alcoholism can have a serious negative impact on academic performance. It alters the way the brain works, hampering students’ ability to focus on their work and remember information. As a result, their grades are bound to suffer. When they drink excessively, they’re more likely to miss classes. Dropout rates are higher among college students who abuse alcohol. Those who fail to keep up their grades risk losing their scholarships or financial aid, so they may be forced to leave college involuntarily.
4) Effects on Mental Health
Abusing alcohol in college is linked to mental health issues. Studies show that between 75 and 85 percent of college students suffer from depression or anxiety. Those who do often use alcohol to help them cope. Though it may help them feel better for a short time, it actually worsens these conditions over the long term. From another perspective, excessive drinking increases the risk of developing mental health disorders. Understanding and addressing these connections can pave the way for mitigating their effects.
It’s also important to keep in mind that alcohol may only be the beginning. It’s often a gateway substance that leads college students to use marijuana and other drugs. Those tend to get progressively more dangerous and addictive. Some studies indicate that the risk of developing substance use disorders is higher during the college years than in other phases of life. Early intervention can reduce the risks of long-term addiction and the problems that come along with it.
Helping College Students Succeed
Alcohol is basically a fixture on college campuses despite ongoing efforts to keep it at bay. It can have negative effects on students’ mental health as well as their academic performance. It can also prompt students to transition into other drugs, which increases the risk of substance abuse disorders. Many college students don’t realize the full extent of the dangers of excessive drinking, so they gloss over the problem. To address the issue, parents and other authority figures need to educate students on the risks and consequences of excessive drinking and make them aware of the resources available to them if they need help with overcoming alcohol abuse.