Is Your College Student High-Risk Drinking? Here Are 5 Sure Signs.

Drinking alcohol in college seems like a right of passage for most college students, but as your student heads back to campus, it is essential to talk to them about the signs of high-risk drinking behavior.

Each year nearly 1520 campus deaths are attributed to alcohol.  That is according to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).  Alcohol contributes to assaults, sexual assault, and accidents on campus every year.  The consequences of widely accepted college drinking are more significant than many parents realize.  Parents should talk with their students about high-risk drinking and teach them how to identify it in themselves and their peers.

Here are five signs your college student is participating in high-risk drinking behavior:

1. Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is defined as consuming a large amount of alcohol quickly.  For men, this usually involves drinking five or more drinks within about two hours, while for women, it’s four or more drinks.  Binge drinking significantly increases the risk of alcohol-related harm.

2. Frequent Heavy Drinking

Frequent consumption of large amounts of alcohol, such as several drinks on most days of the week, can indicate high-risk drinking.  This pattern of drinking can lead to physical dependence and other health issues over time.

3. Drinking to Cope

Using alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, depression, or other emotional issues can be a sign of high-risk drinking.  Relying on alcohol to manage emotions can lead to an unhealthy cycle of dependence.

4. Drinking and Driving

Regularly or occasionally driving under the influence of alcohol is a clear sign of high-risk drinking. It endangers not only the driver’s life but also the lives of others on the road.

5. Neglecting Responsibilities

If alcohol use begins to interfere with your student’s school, work, or other important responsibilities, it may indicate a high-risk drinking pattern. Neglecting obligations due to alcohol consumption can have serious consequences.

In conclusion, if your student exhibits any of the above symptoms of high-risk drinking, it can indicate a need for further assessment and potentially seeking help to address alcohol-related issues.  Ensure your student is familiar with mental health and substance abuse help available on campus. Also, keep the lines of communication between you and your student open, so they will feel comfortable discussing their concerns with you. 

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