Alcohol abuse taking over college campuses

Story By: Adrine Avanesyan

Alcohol abuse has become one of the many health issues affecting college students. A lot of students take alcohol drinking to a dangerous level, often using alcohol deal with the stresses that come with college life.
Moreover, according to the National Library of Medicine, an individual who is experiencing alcohol dependence experiences the following symptoms: craving- a strong need to drink, loss of control- not being able to stop drinking once you have begun, physical dependence- withdrawal symptoms such as nausea, sweating or shakiness after stopping drinking, and tolerance- the need to drink greater amounts of alcohol in order to get “high.”
The statistics for alcohol abuse among college students is frightening. The American Psychiatric Association reported that four in five college students drink and about half of college student drinkers take part in periodic consumption. The U.S. Surgeon General and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have identified binge drinking among college students as a major public health problem. Binge drinking
is a period of uncontrolled drinking within a short period of time. According to the National Institute On Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol related injuries, including car crashes. They also reported that about 97,000 students in that same age group are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. Furthermore, 400,000 students had unprotected sex and more than 100,000 students reported having been to drunk to know if they consented to having sex.
Alcohol is an epidemic that has both academic, mental and physical health consequences on students. The NIAAA also disclosed that 25 percent of college students reported academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing bad on tests and papers and receiving lower overall grades. 31 percent of college students met the criteria for alcohol abuse and six percent could be categorized as alcohol dependent. However, alcohol not only has academic consequences but it also increases an individual’s risk of cancer, damages the liver, brain and other organs and increases the risk of death from car crashes. Alcohol abuse can also cause increase rates of depression and suicide among college students. Students who become dependent on alcohol may start experiencing social withdrawal and find it difficult to meet the demands of their daily lives such as going to class, studying, spending time with friends and attending work.
The reasons why college students engage in heavy alcohol consumption varies from student to student. However, some things are obvious and need no medical explanation. College is a time of new experiences; good and bad. Often, students become stressed over classes, grades, relationships, sexual identity issues and money problems. Students might drink to mask underlying emotional issues. College is also a time of freedom and with freedom comes great responsibly, responsibility that some students are unable to handle effectively. Attending college parties where everyone around you is drinking might make it hard for some students to stay away from alcohol.
Help is out there for those students who believe that they might have alcohol dependence syndrome. Most college campuses have health service and psychological services available on campus that can assist students or refer them to local treatment facilities. There are local Alcoholic Anonymous meetings that students can attend. Local hospitals might also offer treatment for substance abuse or can guide students to where they can receive the help they need. Talking to friends and family or someone that you trust is also a good way to start. There are so many resources for students to take advantage of. There are millions of books and internet websites that students can start from, where they can privately research places where they can get help.