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The “ABC’s of College Binge Drinking” (Alcohol Binge-Drinking Consequences)

There is BRAND NEW RESEARCH that “proves” college students who “Binge Drink” report being “happier” than those who don’t!  HAPPIER???

Yes!  This is what has been reported by Carolyn Hsu to Time.com!  The “studies” are supporting the idea that college students who partake in “binge drinking,” which, in clinical terms means “four drinks per drinking session for women, and five drinks for men” feel HAPPIER than those of their peers who do not drink in college, or for those who don’t drink and don’t attend college!  Part-time and commuter students also are reported to be “less happy.”

Wait a minute!  “Isn’t DRINKING a HUGE PART of the COLLEGE EXPERIENCE?!”  Yes.  It always has been for aeons!  “Then what’s this talk about happier students that BINGE DRINK?!”  Well, let’s clarify what this study looked at…

“Happier” reflected more toward feeling “accepted” by peers of “higher social status.”

Minority students (women, African-Americans, Asians, Middle-Easterners, homosexuals and those of ‘lesser’ income families), found “acceptance” more available with “Caucasian, wealthy, sports-orientated males,” when they “participated” in DRINKING escapades with them than by abstaining. In other words, a six dollar pack of beer for some made the difference of a “million dollar acceptance!”  I would imagine that’s difficult to pass-up for some, but, most of those who felt COMPELLED to BINGE for “happiness” or “acceptance” purposes, also reported NOT enjoying it “too much!”  What does this mean?

It simply means that physical discomfort weighed less upon college students than being ostracized from their peers!  Their “happiness” was found to be in being INCLUDED, a PART OF THE GROUP, A DRINKER!  No mind was paid to the FACT that at least 1,700 deaths every year among college students, is due to BINGE drinking!  These are mostly due to DUI’s and alcohol poisoning.  But, there are OTHER RISKS!  Failing grades, SOCIAL PROBLEMS, alcoholism, legal problems and relationship problems!  I often ask my clients “Why are you in college?  To gain an education or, to feel accepted?”  Hard to answer!

My belief has ALWAYS been that under EVERY addiction, there is some form of emotional illness.  It may be depression, acrophobia, low self-esteem, bi-polar disorder, etc..  WELL-MINDED individuals DO NOT BECOME ADDICTS!  Why?  Because they have NO REASON TO!  They are content and satisfied with who they are!  They will “find their place” ANYWHERE without the NEED to distort their thinking, risk their lives and well-being, or engage in reckless behaviors to “be happy!”  They simply know better!

Then WHY is college binge drinking on such a rise?!

What can be done about it?  Why has this “study” found BINGE drinkers in college to be “happier” than those who don’t?  Colleges nationwide have initiated programs to help college BINGING by offering “Alcohol –Free activities and events, increasing security, offering classes on the dangers of drinking…..all to no avail.  How can they compete with the alcohol producers who LURE ALL OF US into the “good life” of “INTOXICATION?!”  They can’t.  Alcohol will ALWAYS ENTER COLLEGES!  Parents, you need to PARENT PRE-COLLEGE your kids and FEED THEIR SELF-ESTEEM!!!!  If you don’t know “how” to do that, there is trouble “brewing!”  See a therapist or do your research!!!!

Here’s my take…the study “measures” BINGE DRINKING as 4 drinks for females, 5 drinks for males to “determine” it as “binge drinking,”HOGWASH!  Were the participants’ weights considered, type of drinks, if they ate before drinking or any PREDISPOSITION to drinking considered?  I don’t know and it wasn’t reported.  THIS MATTERS!  NOT to DEFEND the students, but ……it IS IMPORTANT!

Secondly, these days, are adolescents READY to be “social?”

I mean, FACE-TO-FACE, SOCIAL?  With emails, text messaging and social networking….the REAL LIFE of COLLEGE SOCIALIZATION may be a HUGE CHALLENGE to the “Socially-challenged,” of our youth today!  Sure!  “When I drink, I can DEAL with this NEW ADVENTURE!”  Our kids today simply DO NOT KNOW HOW TO ACTUALLY TALK TO OTHERS!!!!  TALK!!!!  “Booze soothes!”  (That’s nothing new!  Beer Guts, Liquid Courage, etc. ).

In closing, my concerns are with the next generation’s getting “Back to Basics,” and re-learning HOW TO BE SOCIAL!

This study, while, in my opinion, leaves much out and misinterprets “BINGE DRINKING” to some degree, alerts us again to the dangers of young adults not being aware of their “limits” when it comes to alcohol consumption, especially in college.  The “new-found freedom” of collegiate life has ALWAYS been there, and isn’t going away anytime soon.  Parents….BE AWARE of your child who APPEARS to be lonely, isolated or LACKING in self-esteem well before its time for college!  Help them BELIEVE their WORTH is MUCH MORE than a $6 six pack of beer combined with energy drinks!!  ALSO….and perhaps MOST IMPORTANT, encourage them to SOCIALIZE MORE IN-PERSON, with family, friends, and THE PUBLIC!!!  The Art of Communication” is being swept away by technology, and my belief is that our children are going to suffer from it.  It IS a matter of LIFE or DEATH in too many cases!


Leo Battenhausen is a contributing blogger for JenningsWire.