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College students binge drinking is not always labeled as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD). While binge drinking is related to alcohol abuse the two are not the same. When college students do not show restraint and continue to binge drink night after night or week after week it crosses the line to alcohol abuse. Colligate alcohol abuse is a serious problem due to the serious consequences and in some instance’s development of dependency.
Many individuals stigmatized college students and drinking as a rite of passage. College students are supposed to party and drink as part of the college life experience. The stigma, however, does not consider that college students are in one of the most vulnerable stages in their life when entering college. Most students are away from home for the first time and under enormous stress. Some students are not ready and turn to alcohol for courage and comfort. According to Galbicsek (2018), roughly 20 percent of college students meet the criteria for having an alcohol use disorder (AUD). Close to 60 percent of college students between the ages of 18 and 22 admitted to drinking in the past month Galbicsek (2018). College students who abuse alcohol put their college standing, safety, and health in jeopardy.
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The initial concern surrounding college students who abuse alcohol is academic performance problems. College students abusing alcohol end up missing or skipping classes, falling behind in classes and eventually dropping out college. Additionally, college students living on campus will drink more than students living off campus. When college students enter the Greek system of fraternities and sororities, their rate of alcohol abuse increases dramatically (Capone, Wood, Borsari, & Laird, 2007; Iwamoto, Corbin, Lejuez, & MacPherson, 2014; Park, Sher, Wood, & Krull, 2009).
College students who are members of fraternities and sororities have the highest rate of binge alcohol abuse and are most likely to be diagnosed with alcohol addiction (Knight et al., 2002). The academic problems also lead to financial problems and put strains on families supporting the college student. The generations are evolving and the way young adults to communicate, the things they place importance on, are changing, so should treatment and programs.
One of the more serious consequences of alcohol abuse amongst college students is sexual assault, assault, drunk driving, jail time, and other unintentional injuries. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) published a report in April 2002, updated in 2005, that suggests a strong relationship between alcohol and other drug abuse and a variety of negative consequences for students. The report estimates that each year 1,700 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. In addition, it further estimates that alcohol is involved in 599,000 unintentional injuries, 696,000 assaults, and 97,000 cases of sexual assault and acquaintance rape among college students. College students still engage in binge drinking and abusing alcohol regardless of all associated consequences.
Just as college students in the Greek system are more likely to binge drink and are more likely to be diagnosed with alcohol addiction, ethnicity, socioeconomics, religion, and gender also play a role in college alcohol abuse. Differences in use across race/ethnicity exist, with consistently fewer African American youth reporting alcohol use than Hispanics and Whites. For example, in 2009, 31% of African Americans in 12th grade reported alcohol use in the past month compared with 40% of Hispanic and 47% of White 12th graders (Johnston et al, 2010). Hispanic adolescents may experience lower levels of parental monitoring/ communication as a result of acculturation gaps, which may lead to higher rates of deviant peer affiliations and alcohol use (Coatsworth et al., 2002; Gil et al., 2000; Szapocznik et al., 2002).
Female college students are more likely to use alcohol to relieve stress from school and social confidence. Male college students are more likely to use alcohol based on the maximizing the number of drinks. Among college students research shows that male alcohol abuse is related to greater sexual aggression.
The earliest school/college-based programs focused on providing the facts regarding the dangers of drug use and encouraging healthy alternatives and healthy expression of emotions (Botvin, 2000). Other programs have taught students the social skills thought necessary for drug avoidance (2016). In general, educational and abstinence-based approaches have shown the least usefulness. Additional examples of interventions include Education and awareness programs, Cognitive behavioral skills-based approaches, Motivation, and feedback-related approaches and Behavioral interventions offered by health professionals.
Students thorough campus life include; Institutions of Higher education (IHE), Harm Reduction Programs, and Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS). These social and harm reduction programs are based on the premises that college students will use alcohol but concentrate on responsible drinking without developing dependency. The social learning models appear to be more successful on campus. The social media campaigns not to be confused with mass media campaigns are like the tobacco-free campaigns which again focuses on abstaining. On social media, there are hashtag campaigns such as #alcoholfree and #alcoholthinkagain which provide a safe environment for college students who choose to abstain and have an alcohol-free social culture.
An overwhelming number of college students, many of whom are below the minimum drinking age, are binge drinking and abusing alcohol. College student abusing alcohol and binge drinking is of serious concern. The consequences are immediate and final in certain instances. In the long term, binge drinking and alcohol abuse among college students may lead to alcohol use disorders and mental health problems. New treatments, interventions, and social-based programs on campuses have shown successful. For example, NIAAA research shows that college students who receive a single individual counseling session often will significantly reduce their drinking. Given the serious consequences of college students abusing alcohol, college and the community should continue to support college students prior, during and after their college career.
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