The Culture of Alcohol Abuse on College Campuses
Drunken parties are such a common stereotype of college life that they’re a fixture of movies from Animal House to Neighbors. While scenes like this in movies and TV shows can always make us laugh, they have also played a significant role in normalizing college drinking.
College parties can be part of making new friends, but when alcohol is in the mix, it is easy to lose control. Many young adults on college campuses find they need help when binge drinking and alcohol abuse become the focus of their social lives. Approximately 20 percent of college students have an alcohol use disorder.
What makes college drinking so common? Why does this culture result in so many young adults who struggle with alcohol? Understanding the foundation of college drinking culture and the warning signs of alcohol abuse can help you get the necessary treatment for a student you care about.
Alcohol Misuse in College
For many young adults, college is their first taste of adult life. There is no one around to enforce their behavior or tell them what to do. Drinking is an adult activity, and college is an entrance into adulthood. The two seem like a natural fit.
Colleges and universities have rules to curb excessive alcohol consumption; however, they do not always have systems in place to strictly enforce them. Even on dry campuses, students can find ways to obtain and consume alcohol. Despite school policies, many college students still face the consequences of alcohol abuse, including risky behavior, failing their classes or even expulsion from school.
The Warning Signs of Alcohol Abuse in College
When so many of your friends are regularly going to parties with readily available alcohol, it can be difficult to determine when social drinking has crossed the line into alcohol abuse. Parents whose children live on campus often have no knowledge of what their college student’s social life is like and how much alcohol they are consuming. Here are some red flags college students and those who care about them should know.
- Poor academic performance: College students can struggle academically for many reasons, including binge drinking.
- Prioritizing drinking: Many people who suffer from alcohol abuse lose sight of their other priorities. At schools with a “party culture,” it’s easy to forget that the primary reason for attending college is to get an education. If you decide partying with friends is more important than studying for tomorrow’s exam, consider what this means.
- Health issues: The long-term health consequences of alcohol abuse are well-documented. College students are young, and those risks seem like a distant possibility. However, heavy drinking affects your body in the immediate present. Alcohol damages the brain, worsening coordination and making falls more likely. If you or someone you know regularly drinks to the point of falling over or passing out, this is a major warning sign of alcohol abuse.
Getting Qualified Alcohol Detox
For people who struggle with alcohol misuse, it requires holistic care to get clean and sober – starting with medical detox. If you are seeking help for yourself or a college student you are concerned about, don’t wait another day. Learn more about our alcohol detox program, then reach out to our admissions team to verify your health insurance coverage and receive a confidential assessment over the phone.