Do you, or any of your loved ones suffer from the debilitating effects of alcoholism? It’s likely that this addiction to alcohol started during the formative college years. Drinking during college is a popular pastime, but sometimes the “fun” we think we’re having leads to serious problems down the road. Habits that may seem harmless initially have a way of coming back to haunt us in full force: sometimes that force comes in the form of a very serious addiction. The good news is, it’s never too late to seek help. Finding an alcohol and drug rehab center is the first step to recovery and sobriety.
What is Binge Drinking?
Binge drinking is a pattern of heavy drinking that involves consuming a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above.
For men, binge drinking typically involves consuming five or more drinks within two hours. For women, binge drinking typically involves consuming four or more drinks within two hours. However, it is important to note that everyone’s tolerance for alcohol is different, and even a lower number of drinks consumed in a short period of time can still be considered binge drinking.
Binge drinking can have a range of harmful consequences, both in the short and long term. These can include increased risk of accidents, injuries, and violence, impaired judgment and decision-making, increased risk of alcohol poisoning, and long-term health problems such as liver disease and cancer. Binge drinking can also have social and academic consequences, such as poor academic performance, social problems, and relationship issues.
We know that excessive drinking is unhealthy. But a more serious problem we need to deal with is how binge drinking is a habit usually formed during a person’s most defining years of education, leading to one’s career: college.
Here are a few things you need to know about this very real aspect of alcoholism:
1. Binge-drinking in College is More Serious Than You’d Expect
For over 20 years, 40 percent of American college students have faced binge-drinking problems. It is often hard to monitor or control, as a social situation with peers is likely to lead to heavy drinking. Sometimes students don’t keep track of how much they’re drinking at all, and simply consume large quantities of alcohol to ensure they meet their goal of becoming extremely intoxicated. What is also surprising is that many college-aged people feel it’s okay or “normal” to black out and completely forget the events that happened while they were drinking.
Did you know that over 1,800 students die from alcohol-related causes every single year? And many drinking sprees or binges can lead to alcohol-influenced sexual misconduct. 600,000 teenagers end up hurt due to too much drinking, while about 100,000 suffer sexual assaults after a binge. This shows that the problems that can result from alcoholism extend far beyond a bad hangover.
2. Binge-drinking Can Lower Your Odds of Employment After College
Employers are increasingly interested in hiring candidates who are responsible, reliable, and can demonstrate good judgment, and binge-drinking may signal the opposite to potential employers.
Binge-drinking can have a negative impact on a student’s academic performance, leading to lower grades and a reduced likelihood of completing their degree on time. Additionally, it can lead to missed classes and reduced participation in extracurricular activities, which are often considered valuable experiences by employers. Furthermore, employers may view binge-drinking as a sign of irresponsibility or a lack of self-control, which are traits that are not desirable in an employee.
Employers may also take into account an individual’s social media presence when making hiring decisions, and binge-drinking photos or posts may raise red flags. This is especially true in industries where professionalism is highly valued, such as finance, law, or healthcare.
Students go to college in order to raise their chances of landing a better career, eventually leading to an overall improved quality lifestyle. But this binge drinking problem may be the very thing to derail them from reaching those goals. The Journal of Applied Psychology researched multiple universities and found that even just 6 binges a month reduce the chance of a graduate landing his or her desired job.
And, if those college students are hired for any part-time work, alcohol could cause them setbacks due to recurring hangovers and health problems. Even if you aren’t taking back shots the same way you were in college, alcohol can be a difficult substance to moderate if you’ve grown accustomed to using it heavily.
Prof. Peter Bamberger of TAU’s Coller School of Business Management and Cornell University noted, “The manner in which students drink appears to be more influential than how much they drink when it comes to predicting the likelihood of getting a job upon graduation.”
3. Binge-drinking Can Have Serious Academic Consequences
Studies have shown that students who engage in binge-drinking are more likely to experience lower academic achievement, including lower grades, a higher likelihood of dropping out of school, and reduced cognitive abilities. In more NIAA reports, one in four students admitted that their academic performance suffered because of drinking. It’s not hard to imagine why: a night spent partying and drinking until exhaustion means less energy and focus the following day. If that day involves exams and critical thinking, guess who’s on the losing end?
Binge-drinking, which is defined as the consumption of a large amount of alcohol in a short period of time, can have both short-term and long-term effects on a student’s academic performance. In the short term, binge-drinking can lead to poor decision-making, impaired judgment, and reduced cognitive function, all of which can negatively impact a student’s ability to learn and retain information. Binge-drinking can also result in missed classes, poor attendance, and the inability to complete assignments on time.
In the long term, binge-drinking can have even more serious consequences. Studies have shown that students who engage in binge-drinking are more likely to drop out of school, have lower overall GPAs, and experience long-term cognitive deficits. Binge-drinking can also lead to other health problems, such as liver damage, cardiovascular disease, and mental health issues like depression and anxiety, all of which can further impact academic performance.
Other consequences, such as scoring lower grades or falling behind in a few classes, lead to greater struggles in learning and academic progress.
4. It’s Less About How Much You Drink, and More About How Often
If a person has one or two glasses of alcohol every night, it doesn’t necessarily mean their academic performance or career is at stake. He or she can even go out for a night of drinking and fun once a month and be completely okay. What needs to be controlled is if the drinking reaches binge levels on a very regular basis.
What makes young people seek out the atmosphere where binge drinking is seen as a glorified action? It’s easy to blame the party culture on movies or the media, but the truth is that college kids are old enough to make mature decisions about drinking for themselves. Those who prioritize their career and quality of life over a night of blind “fun”, will be the ones who can take control of their lives in the long run.
5. Binge-drinking May Signal an Underlying Problem
While binge-drinking itself is a harmful behavior that can have serious consequences, it is often a symptom of deeper issues, such as underlying mental health problems, social pressures, or addiction.
For example, individuals who struggle with anxiety or depression may turn to binge-drinking as a way to cope with their symptoms. Similarly, individuals who feel pressure to fit in with a particular social group may engage in binge-drinking as a way to gain acceptance or feel a sense of belonging. In some cases, binge-drinking may also be a sign of addiction or substance abuse.
It is important to understand that binge-drinking is not just a problem in and of itself, but can also be a symptom of deeper issues that need to be addressed. Individuals who engage in binge-drinking may benefit from seeking support and treatment for any underlying mental health or addiction issues. This may involve seeking the help of a mental health professional, joining a support group, or enrolling in an addiction treatment program.
If you have a family member or friend who is often binge drinking, it’s important that you don’t just write them off as “a helpless alcoholic”. College students are especially struggling with very real and very new problems: away from the safety net of home, constantly facing social pressures, and stressed about academic achievement on a daily basis. This often leads to extreme loneliness and anxiety. Which, in many cases, leads to a desire to “escape” through intoxication.
6. It’s Never Too Late to Recover
“When you quit drinking you stop waiting,” wrote Caroline Knapp, in Drinking: A Love Story. With encouragement, guidance, and tough love, anyone of any age can deal with alcoholism. The key is to stop waiting for help to come, and actively seek it out instead.
If you are in need of recovery from addiction and are looking for a rehabilitation center in Scottsdale, Arizona, give us a call. We are dedicated to helping find long-term solutions and recovery for anyone facing drug and alcohol problems.
At Scottsdale Recovery Center, we offer many services: counseling, inpatient rehab, lifetime therapy, and even holistic treatment. Call us today for a consultation, or visit our centers to speak with a counselor. Our mission is to help you find the right road back to recovery.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2009. Call 602-346-9142.