If you have ever escorted your son or daughter to a university campus to live, you understand how tinged with sorrow and joy such moments can be. You want your child to excel, to dream big and work hard, but you will miss him or her. As a parent, you also know full well what types of temptations and risks might befall your precious child while he or she is away at school. Sadly, binge drinking has grown to epidemic levels on college campuses throughout the country. This is true, even on many dry campuses, where alcohol is prohibited. Why do college kids drink alcohol so often? This post shares information to help answer the question.
In some states, such as West Virginia, the average age for minors to first drink alcohol is 12. If we were to review data from the 49 other states, we would likely discover similar statistics. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that college kids drink alcohol, many of whom are under age 21. So, why do they do it?
College kids drink alcohol out of boredom
You might wonder how anyone could be bored at college, with so much to do and so many opportunities for activities available. However, when surveyed, many college kids say they drink alcohol out of sheer boredom. This is especially true for those who are not involved in extra curricular activities on campus, such as sports or academic clubs. Drinking alcohol provides those who imbibe with a temporary feeling of fun and excitement. Such feelings make them feel less bored.
Some college kids drink alcohol to lower their inhibitions
As an adult, you no doubt know someone who is usually quite and shy but becomes a real gabber and social butterfly when he or she drinks alcohol. Alcohol affects every person differently, although on of the implications it often has is to lower inhibitions. A person who drinks alcohol may feel less self-conscious, more confident and a little more daring. To a college student, these feelings are greatly desired as way to alleviate social stress. Serious problems can arise, however, when inhibitions are lowered too much. When your instincts make you cautious or alert or uneasy, there’s a reason. College kids who drink alcohol often lose their ability to sense when they are in danger.
Young adults are often trying to numb their pain
College students have a lot of stress in their daily lives. From striving to achieve good grades to romantic relationships, employment and other personal issues, it can be tough. Many students take medication to reduce anxiety. Others drink, hoping that it helps numb the pain. Drinking alcohol can temporarily give a feeling of euphoria. Students forget their troubles, become distracted and start to relax and have a good time. The good time often comes to an abrupt halt, however, when grades plummet or they get arrested and charged with DUI or other crimes, such as assault.
Tap into local resources for help in overcoming alcohol addiction
Most college campuses throughout the country now offer resources for students who are struggling with substance abuse. As with many words and phrases, there is now a politically correct way to say that someone is an alcoholic. It is called ”substance use disorder” or SUD, for short. Doesn’t this do a great disservice to college kids who drink alcohol and want help to overcome their addictions? After call, listing something as a disorder makes it seem like it is out of a person’s control. Like it’s something that just randomly occurred. Alcohol abuse is a choice. If it goes too far, it becomes an addiction that can be difficult to overcome. There are physiological and biological implications of addiction.
Drinking alcohol does not start out as a disorder. It is a personal choice. And, the sooner we call it that, the better able to accept accountability for their own choices our college students might be. Call it what is: substance abuse. If there’s one thing young adults don’t like it’s hypocrisy. They don’t want you to sugar coat anything. Shoot straight. Tell them like it is. Understand that addiction is difficult to beat, and provide resources for them to get help. But, don’t lie to them and tell them they have a disorder. What they have is a problem that they created through their own choices. A problem they can overcome. Helping kids feel at home when they are away at school may reduce their chances for alcohol problems.