According to a 2011 Monitoring the Future Study, 36% of college students nationwide reported binge drinking, which is defined as men who consume five or more drinks in a row and women who consume four or more drinks in a row within a two hour period of time. This type of drinking is the most popular amongst individuals between the ages of 18-34, and can cause serious side effects such as liver damage, alcohol poisoning, and even death.
Causes for the Rise in Binge Drinking Amongst College Students
College students across the nation are continually participating in binge drinking practices, and as the years go by, more and more college students are succumbing to this type of campus culture. While it is normal for young adults to experiment with alcohol and possibly other substances, this type of behavior can lead to more serious problems in both the present and the future. Some of the many causes behind this rise in binge drinking can include:
- Peer pressure – One of the biggest driving forces behind binge drinking is peer pressure, which can make most college students participate in this type of behavior for fear of not being accepted by their peers. This can include doing shots, keg stands and/or engaging in chugging contests, all of which are considered forms of binge drinking.
- Stress relief – For many students, the stress of schoolwork and financial strain can cause an abnormal amount of stress, all of which can seemingly be relieved through drinking with friends or while at a party. These students are likely to think that if one drink helps take the edge off, a few more might help erase the problem entirely.
- Availability – Despite half of college students being underage and some colleges promoting dry campuses, the availability of beer and alcohol at most colleges is commonly considered to be one of the main causes behind binge drinking behaviors. Having access to this substance can not only promote peer pressure and stress release, but also aid in the development of a culture that feels as though alcohol is needed in order to have fun.
Between peer pressure, stress and availability of alcohol and beer, college students across the country are participating in binge drinking practices. While many of them might not view this as a problem, engaging in this type of behavior can lead to a variety of different health issues, as well as poor judgment calls such as unprotected sex and/or drinking and driving. In addition, many individuals who begin binge drinking in college can also carry this behavior over into their adult life post-college, and possibly develop an addiction as a result.