Alcoholism in College Students: from Binge Drinking to Addiction

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Alcoholism in College Students: from Binge Drinking to Addiction

Beyond the idea of higher education, college is often associated with young adults going to crazy parties, binge drinking, experimenting with drugs, and partaking in risky behavior. This may not always be the case, but for those students who go a little overboard with their college experience, their free-spirited behaviors at school may lead to serious long-term trouble.

The Association Between College Students & Drinking Alcohol

For many of these students, college is their first time away from home and without parental supervision. It is natural for many of these young adults to act more freely, but they may not be aware of the dangers that can come from these habits. As a West Palm Beach behavioral health center, we know that drinking problems can start with just a few drinks, and unfortunately, alcoholism in college students is all too common.

The majority of students in college drink at some point, whether it is illegally or legally.  Research suggests that 54.9% of full-time college students drank alcohol in the past month and 36.9% participated in binge drinking in the same amount of time; these numbers are all higher than their non-college peers.1 Not only are college students drinking alcohol more frequently but their drinking habits are leading to alcoholism. Another study found that alcohol abuse in college students is higher than the general population, with about 20% of college students meeting the criteria for an alcohol use disorder.2 This means that the increased drinking habits of college students are leading to long-term consequences.


Why College Students Drink So Much

Along with the party environment that college creates, mental health may be a contributing factor to the bad drinking habits of this population. College can be a stressful time for many students as they deal with a lot of changes and pressure. A survey of college counseling center directors found that 41% of college students struggle with anxiety and 36% with depression.3 In order to cope with this stress or their poor mental health, some students will turn to alcohol or drugs for help. If this becomes a habit, the student may develop a co-occurring disorder that requires professional attention like our West Palm dual diagnosis treatment.

Besides alcoholism and all of the problems that come with it, alcohol abuse and binge drinking can lead to other serious problems like DWIs, assault, sexual assault, academic problems, and even death from alcohol-related accidents. Before drinking creates these problems for you, alcohol abuse treatment may be able to help you quit.

If you or someone you love struggles with substance abuse or behavioral health problem, you can get help. At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we give patients the tools they need to move past these issues. Call us today at 561-220-3981/a>.



  1. NIH – Fall Semester—A Time for Parents To Discuss the Risks of College Drinking
  2. NCBI – Mental Health of College Students and Their Non-college-attending Peers: Results from the National Epidemiologic Study on Alcohol and Related Conditions
  3. AUCCCD – The Association for University and College Counseling Center Directors Annual Survey


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