Across the nation, college students are flocking back to school. The first week of the semester is sure to be a flurry of activity, from attending, adding, and dropping classes to settling into dorms and exploring campus. Inevitably, there will also be parties both on- and off-campus, and some students will be binge drinking.
According to data from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the incidence of binge drinking — defined as consuming 4+ drinks in 2 hours for women and 5+ drinks in 2 hours for men — has increased sharply since the last comprehensive study completed in 1976. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) found that 44% of all college students reported binge drinking in the previous month.
Clearly, binging is a serious issue on college campuses — one that universities need to better address. But why is binge drinking so dangerous? ARCpoint Labs shares what college students should know before they binge.
Binge Drinking Dangers
Binge drinking is linked to countless medical issues, including alcohol poisoning, liver disease, brain damage, stroke, high blood pressure, heart disease, and (in pregnant women) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Furthermore, binge drinking can lead to any number of accidental injuries, including those incurred in car crashes, as it impedes judgment and motor skills. Binge drinking is also linked to sexual assault, domestic violence, and firearm injuries.
Excessive drinking, including binge drinking, contributes to lost productivity in the workplace, high health care costs, and increased crime rates, among other things. These expenses combined cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006 alone, which translates to $1.90 per drink. Considering that federal and state income from alcohol taxes only totaled $0.12 per drink, binge drinking clearly has a high cost!
Changes in Behavior & Personality
Binge drinking can also affect how you act and perform socially, professionally, and academically, particularly if you fall into a pattern of regular binge drinking. You may fail to meet important deadlines at school or at work or let your personal responsibilities fall to the wayside. You may experience problems in your relationships with friends, family, classmates, roommates, or coworkers.
Binge Drinking & Your Brain Development
The brain continues developing key areas involved in decision-making through age 25. Teenagers who engage in binge drinking can affect their spatial working memory, which influences how we perceive our surroundings. When spatial working memory is damaged by binge drinking, it can hinder your driving abilities, reasoning, and memory.
Clearly, college students should think twice before binge drinking. If you or someone you know has a problem with binge drinking or alcoholism in general, get them help today. ARCpoint Labs offers breath alcohol screening so that employees, family members, and friends can monitor alcohol use. To get started, find your nearest ARCpoint Labs today!