What Parents Should Know About College Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is one of the most serious problems on college campuses today. It can lead to serious health consequences, poor performance in school, and even death. Unfortunately, the acceptance of social drinking can make it difficult for college students to realize they are abusing alcohol. That’s why it’s important for parents to talk to their teens about the dangers of binge drinking long before they send them off to college. Here’s what parents should know about college binge drinking so you can keep their child informed.

What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking is heavy drinking during a short period of time. For males, this is usually five or more drinks per sitting and four or more drinks per sitting for females. Many college students will binge drink more than twice a week.

Why is binge drinking dangerous?

The number-one danger of binge drinking is that it can easily lead to alcoholism. The second biggest consequence of binge drinking is alcohol poisoning, which is a severe and sometimes fatal reaction to alcohol overdose. Binge drinking can also lead to drunken driving, accidents, risky sexual activity, poor school performance, illicit drug use, liver disease, neurological damage, and even death.

What are some signs my child has a drinking problem?

* Getting drunk on a regular basis
* Lying about how much alcohol he or she is drinking
* Getting defensive about alcohol use
* Having frequent hangovers or blackouts
* Believing that alcohol is necessary to have fun
* Legal problems, such as a DUI or drunk in public
* Poor performance in school
* Memory loss
* Violent or angry behavior when intoxicated
* Depression or suicidal thoughts
* Harming relationships with friends and family

What are some facts and statistics on college binge drinking?

* Men are twice as likely to binge drink as women. (CDC)
* Binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to drive drunk than non-binge drinkers. (JAMA)
* 42.2 percent of young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 binge drink. (SAMHSA)
* Young adults aged 18 to 22 enrolled full-time in college are more likely than their peers who arenít enrolled full-time to binge drink. (SAMHSA)
* Among pregnant women aged 15 to 44, 2.9 percent reported binge drinking. (SAMHSA)
* In 2006, the rate of binge drinking among 16- to 17-year olds was 20 percent, 36.2 percent among 18- to 20-year olds, and 46.1 percent among 21- to 25-year olds. (SAMHSA)

Seeking Treatment: Alcohol Rehab

If you feel like your child has a problem with binge drinking, itís important that you talk to them right away about the dangers and risks. Listen to what they say to gauge if their binge drinking has led to a serious alcohol problem. If it has, encourage them to seek help through counseling, Alcoholics Anonymous or alcohol rehab. Unfortunately, denial is a common characteristic of alcoholism, so it’s highly unlikely that a person who is dependent on alcohol will seek medical treatment on their own. It often takes loved ones such as friends, family and co-workers to intervene and persuade a person to go to rehab.

If you feel like your drinking has become a problem, or you know someone who’s drinking has become out of control, an alcohol rehab facility is an important first step in the recovery process. Alcohol rehab will provide a variety of treatment options, including detox, counseling, group and individual therapy, residential treatment programs, education and family involvement.

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