For many parents, the promise of their child attending college and making strides toward achieving their dreams is something they have held onto since their child was very young. College is a great way to improve one’s chances of a successful financial future and, for many people, a time to find new interests and discover what it is they are passionate about. Unfortunately, however, many of the same parents who are proudly sending their children off to pursue higher education are also facing the reality that drinking among freshman is increasing dramatically.
Amount of Alcohol Consumed On the Rise
While the number of freshman students engaging in binge drinking is indeed increasing, perhaps the most disturbing element of this trend is the fact that students who are drinking are also drinking more than past college freshman. There may be a few reasons for this. One reason for the increase in amount of alcohol being consumed may be the rising popularity of dangerous methods of consumption, such as smoking alcohol, in which teens smoke alcohol vapors and become intoxicated much more quickly than if they were drinking the substance. Spikes in the amount of alcohol consumed during binge drinking are very troubling because as young people consume larger amounts of alcohol, they are at higher and higher risk for overdosing or seriously injuring themselves.
Attempts to Curb Alcohol Abuse May Be Backfiring
Many college campuses have long been aware of the problem of binge drinking and have made efforts to stop young students from abusing alcohol. One of the ways some schools have attempted to reduce drinking is to exact stronger punishments upon students who are caught with alcohol. Local bars and clubs may also face pressure from campus police to be very strict about checking IDs of drinking patrons. While these measures are meant to deter students from drinking, it is possible that they are actually causing binge drinking because minor students may attempt to “pre-party” or consume alcohol in their dorm rooms before going out to a place where they will be punished if caught with alcohol. Because these young people are attempting to “make up” for drinking that they cannot do in public, they may consume excessive amounts of alcohol at once.
Alcohol Abuse Even More Dangerous For Young People
Binge drinking is dangerous for people of all ages, but the negative effects of alcohol abuse are particularly dangerous for young adults. This is because at a young age, the human brain has not yet fully developed and development can be severely negatively affected by alcohol. Alcohol abuse can often lead to serious psychological issues like depression, which can fuel further alcohol abuse and may have a major impact on a student’s ability to function both socially and academically.
What Can Be Done to Prevent Young Adult Alcohol Abuse?
Parents who are sending their kids to college should be aware of the possibility that their child may be in a situation where they will be around binge drinking. The likelihood of them being pressured to drink to excess is high, and even parents who do not believe that their child is “that type of child” should consider the fact that their child may binge drink. Having a frank conversation with a young student about alcohol abuse may help equip them with the knowledge and tools they need to avoid alcohol abuse. If you believe that your young student is having a problem with alcohol, you should encourage them to get help as soon as possible. The sooner a young person gets help, the more likely they are to stay healthy and get the most out of college.
Cindy Nichols is the founder of 411 Intervention, a full-service intervention resource that helps individuals with addiction issues find treatment solutions. You can see an interview with Cindy here on Recovery Now TV.