Wellness ‘U’: Tips for Cutting Down on Binge Drinking

College is all about studying until your brain hurts, figuring out your future, making life-long friends and….drinking? Drinking alcohol has become one of the most popular ways college students unwind. In fact, almost 60% of college students say they drink alcohol.

With so many parties and events dedicated just to drinking on college campuses such as tailgates, themed house and apartment parties, and bar crawls it can be easy to fall into the habit of drinking a lot of alcohol regularly. I mean its college, right? This is the time to let loose!

It’s not all fun and gamesDrinks per day
While having one or two drinks in a night isn’t necessarily bad, the problem for college students is that many of them don’t stop there. Nearly half of all students who drink, binge drink. Binge drinking is when you drink a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time. For women that would be four or more drinks in about 2 hours and for men it would be five plus drinks in that same amount of time.

Binge drinking can lead to a lot of harmful consequences. For instance:

  • About 25% of college students say alcohol negatively affects their school work
  • Almost 2,000 college students die each year from injuries linked to alcohol
  • About 600,000 college students are hurt while under the influence
  • About 700,000 college students are assaulted by a student that is under the influence
  • Almost 100,000 college students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape

Clearly, it isn’t just harmless fun. Drinking too much alcohol can hurt both student’s health and grades.

How to cut down
Too much of any one thing is never a good thing. If you think you might be drinking too much, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan for how you are going to cut down. Here are some tips on how you can limit how much alcohol you drink: Alcohol

  • Set a drink limit – Tell yourself that you won’t drink during the week or that you won’t have more than one or two drinks per day on the weekends.
  • Switch to non-alcoholic drinks – After you have hit your alcohol limit fill up your cup with other type of drinks such as water, juice or soda. If you are worried that people will give you a hard time for not drinking alcohol, use a solid plastic cup so that no one can tell what you are drinking.
  • Don’t hang out with heavy drinkers as much – If you have a hard time not giving in to peer influence, it may be a good idea to not go out with people who drink a lot or who pressure you to drink. Make plans with people who don’t drink as much or who will support your healthy behaviors.
  • Don’t overdo it with drinking games – Drinking games can often lead you to drinking more than you were planning on. If you don’t want to miss out on the fun, switch to soda, water or some other non-alcoholic drink. You may find you’ll be even better at the games when you aren’t drinking heavily! I’m no expert, but I don’t think it’s cheating per se.
  • Plan a classy night out – Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you don’t know how to savor a good beverage. Instead of drinking countless cheap bears and taking horrible shots, enjoy one or two delicious beverages at a cocktail bar, a wine tasting or dinner party. Co-eds can be fancy!
  • Drink slowly – Don’t guzzle down your beer or wine within a couple minutes. Take breaks between sips and enjoy the hoppiness of your beer or the subtle fruit undertones of your wine. If you drink it too quickly it can hit your head faster.

And there are so many benefits to curbing the amount of alcohol you drink! You might be able to save more money, focus better on your studies, have possibly less embarrassing interactions with cute potential love interests, ditch the dreaded beer belly and of course not have to deal with awful hangovers.

What are your favorite sober activities on campus? Share them below!

Sources:
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

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