When Does Social Drinking become Binge Drinking?
Alcohol and college students seem to be joined at the hip in every book, movie, and TV show that portrays college life. Indeed, alcohol has a presence on nearly all college campuses, even the ones with strict rules prohibiting drinking on campus. While some students who use alcohol during college seem to come out okay on the other side, others may not be so lucky. Alcohol continues to be a common denominator in sexual assault, dangerous accidents, and violent incidents on college campuses. This may seem extreme, but college party culture and social pressure to drink too much can have dangerous outcomes. How much is too much? Is a little bit of social drinking okay? What are the signs that someone is struggling with addiction?
Social Drinking vs. Binge Drinking
Social drinking is a culturally accepted practice that involves consuming small amounts of alcohol as part of an event or get-together. Generally, college students who are social drinkers know that they can control their alcohol intake and feel confident in their ability to have a good time without drinking. Social drinkers can make judgments that honestly weigh the impacts of drinking with other factors in their life. For instance, a student may turn down an invitation for a drink in order to study for a test instead.
When students are consuming several drinks at a time on a regular basis or do not feel that they are able to control how much they drink once they get started, they are at risk for alcohol addiction. The threshold for healthy drinking limits may surprise students who are accustomed to portrayals of college drinking in movies or TV shows. Many experts define excessive drinking as more than two servings a day for men and more than one a day for women. Students who are drinking more alcohol than this on a regular basis are at risk for complications to their physical and mental health. Truthfully, no amount of alcohol use is completely risk-free, but excessive use carries higher risks to safety and well-being.
Where Can I Get Help?
If you are worried that you or a friend are showing signs of alcohol addiction or are drinking too much on a regular basis, it is important to find help as soon as possible. Oftentimes, the transition from social drinking into binge drinking happens gradually, and the student may not even realize how dangerous their behavior has become. Unfortunately, just one accident or poor decision can lead to life-long consequences.
While some students may find help through on-campus counseling, others may need to seek the services of a more intensive outpatient care provider. Kolpia Counseling is one such resource for individuals in Southern Oregon struggling with alcohol addiction or substance use. Compassionate professionals can help you or your friend through an assessment to get the help that is needed. Don’t wait until it’s too late.