Alcohol abuse on college campuses has reached a point where it is far more destructive than most people and today realize and today threatens too many of our youth. -Senator Joe Lieberman Why do college students drink so much? This timeless fad has effected this generation in high percentages since the beginning of college education. Today in America it is estimated that approximately 29% of college students are regular alcohol abusers.
Another recent study by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism performed showed that college students suffered 1,400 deaths, 70,000 date rapes and assaults, and 500,000 injuries each year as a result of alcohol. (McDonald) Although binge drinking (5+ drinks in one sitting) is considered a normal part of the college experience many factors contribute to whether or not an individual is more prone to be an abuser. There are five factors that connect students with alcohol abuse with include: gender, family alcohol abuse, family depression and mental illness, childhood hyperactivity, and deviant behavior before age 15.
Deviant behavior, for example, consists of acts such as being expelled from school, fighting, committing vandalism, chronic lying, and stealing. Many people who were antisocial growing up begin drinking abusively earlier in adolescence. A clinician test given to suspected alcoholics or taken personally is called the Diagnostic Interview Schedule (DIS). The test given to check for pathological alcohol abuse is known as Criterion A for alcohol abuse.
Requirements for this test include: wanting to stop drinking but could not, drinking 20 or more drinks in 1 day, having blackouts while drinking, going on two or more binges, continuing to drink with a serious health problem, or making rules to control drinking habits. (Fleming) Criterion B covers more serious abuse which harm ones personal and occupational lifestyles. Any one of the following items point to serious abuse: family members objecting to subjects drinking, professional advice about drinking, job or school troubles due to drinking, accident while driving intoxicated, arrest, or physical fight.
Fleming) A report from the University of Richmond told a story about a female college freshman who experienced a horrible situation after a night of drinking. It said that she remembered how hard it was to leave behind her family and friends, she remembered having to face the fact that she was a freshman again and how all she wanted was to be well-liked and to fit-in but one thing she does not remember at all is the night she was raped by two freshman males in a room full of people.
Her second week of school she willingly attended a party where she proceeded to take many shots of vodka until she got to the point that she was going in and out of consciousness. As a result of her binge drinking this girl did not discover until weeks later that these boys took turns having sex with her, put a lampshade on her head, and wrote all over her face, all while in front of an audience. Certain college organizations such as fraternities and sororities can also influence binge-drinking.
Drinking behaviors areoften learned in the process of socialization. There are three types of influences, all which are fundamentals of these organizations, that include: cultural background, stage of socialization, and peer group influence. (Mayer 30) For example, one fraternity at the highly academically credited Massachusetts Institute of Technology was suspended and lost its house forever. A freshman pledge from the 1997 class fell into an alcohol-induced coma and died after reportedly being hazed at a social event.
This example shows that situations like this occur on all campuses, not just campuses with a reputation of being a party school. (Sales 2) This freshman pledge merely wanted to be accepted by his older brothers in a struggle to prove that he could drink as much as them. And it cost him his life. Excessive drinking in college can also result in situations such as lifetime dependence. The students most susceptible in this category include males with a history of deviant behavior prior to age 15 and have a first degree relative who has suffered from depression or other mental illness.
Alcohol in accumulated years of use can result in diseases such as cirrhosis and many different types of cancer. (Fleming 5) Students who binge drink are 80% more likely to miss class, experience hangovers, damage property, and receive injuries. Therefore, it is strange that it is such a desired state. The underlying reason is that people who participate frequently in this activity crave sensation. More students under the legal drinking age of 21 abuse alcohol than over but admit they feel pressured in some way by the students who are over 21.
One study has shown that a typical American college student will spend more money on alcohol during college than textbooks. Perhaps the most common answer to why students drink so much is the initial rebellion from the freedom gained by moving out of their parents home. Individuals who do not develop a dependence in most cases decrease binge drinking habits after their freshman year. After all, college years are as much a time of social development and emotional growth as they are academics.
Many students feel that through functions with alcohol these factors of social development and emotional growth will increase. In few circumstances, including lesson learning, has this found to be true. In many surveys students blatantly replied that the reason they were binge drinkers was to get drunk fast. Many binge-drinkers are also classified as anticipatory drinkers which means they drink heavily before a party in order to get ahead of others. (Straus 138) It is almost impossible to ever get college students to stop drinking.
However, educating binge drinkers about the way they are preventing oxygen from getting to their brain when they black out is a start to decreasing the statistics of abusers. More colleges are starting to offer programs such as prevention education, counseling, and alcohol-free parties. Students need to be confronted their freshman year with frightening reality-based situations of what happens to people who consume too much alcohol in one night. Another situation that needs to be more closely monitored on campuses is Greek Life, in particularly fraternities.
There is a great deal of hazing that occurs in many chapters during the freshman initiation period where pledges feel inclined to perform bizarre acts (such as consume excessive amounts of alcohol at one time) in order to feel accepted. When a situation goes beyond a good time with friends and an individual blacks out and experiences such things as date rape, someone should assist them in counseling and give them tests like the ones mentioned earlier to test their likeliness of being an abuser, and perhaps prevent at that point a lifetime of addictive destruction.