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

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

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 54% of college students ages 18 to 22 say they drink alcohol.

With so many college tailgates, mixers, apartment parties and bar crawls, it can be easy to fall into the habit of drinking a lot of alcohol regularly. 

It’s not all fun and games

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 one-third of all students who drink, binge drink.

Binge drinking involves drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time. For women that is four or more drinks in about two hours. For men, it’s five or more drinks in two hours.

Drinking comes with many risks:

  • Almost 1,500 college students die each year from injuries linked to alcohol
  • About 600,000 college students are hurt while under the influence
  • Roughly 700,000 college students are assaulted by a student who is under the influence
  • Nearly 100,000 college students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape
How to cut down

If you think you may be drinking too much, it’s a good idea to create a plan to cut down. Here are some tips to get started:

  • Set a drink limit. Don't drink during the week and decide how many drinks you'll have on the weekends. Stop when you reach your limit.
  • Switch to non-alcoholic drinks. Once you reach you limit, drink water, juice or soda.
  • Don’t hang out with heavy drinkers. If you easily give in to peer pressure, don't go out with people who drink a lot or pressure you to drink. Make plans with people who don’t drink as much.
  • Skip the drinking games. Drinking games can lead to binge drinking. You may drink more than you planned.
  • Plan a classy night out. Instead of drinking a lot of cheap beer or taking shots, enjoy one or two delicious beverages at a cocktail bar, wine tasting or dinner party.
  • Drink slowly. Don’t guzzle. Take breaks between sips. If you drink it too quickly it can go to your head faster.
Sources: Drinking by College Students, leaving site icon National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2022; Fall Semester—A Time for Parents to Discuss the Risks of College Drinking, Adobe pdf icon National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 2019

Originally published 12/7/2015; Revised 2020, 2023