West Texas A&M University

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Counseling Services - Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol: Know All of the Facts

Alcohol is a drug that is classified as a depressant. Although alcohol may give you an initial feeling of relief, it will ultimately make you feel even more depressed if you already have depression tendencies. Alcohol use increases the risk of social withdrawal, relationship problems, loss of interest in important parts of your life, and suicidal feelings or attempts.

Some people use alcohol as a social lubricant. They feel they need a drink before going into a social situation because of anxiety and insecurity. Your use of alcohol may be masking an underlying problem with anxiety that should be treated.

 Binge Drinking

Binge drinking is a widespread phenomenon occurring across college campuses. It is usually defined in terms of quantity of drinks, typically 4-5 at one sitting in a short period of time, but it can also include just reaching a high blood alcohol level or drinking a lot. Unfortunately, students may perceive that binge-drinking is the normal and usual way of consuming alcohol on campuses. They may respond to peer pressure, feel compelled to give it a try, and participate in drinking contests.

Binge drinking is extremely dangerous because you're ingesting alcohol faster than your body can metabolize it. The maximum amount of alcohol your body can process is up to one ounce per hour or about the equivalent of one drink. Since you're consuming multiple drinks in a short period of time, your body gets overloaded with alcohol. This can easily lead to alcohol poisoning, coma, or death. There have been recent alcohol-related deaths at Louisiana State University and MIT. Both of those students got caught up in drinking contests and rituals and paid for it with their lives.

Check out the following web site for more info on Binge-Drinking


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 Abstinence

So how do you keep from getting caught up in this pattern of drinking? Well first consider abstinence from alcohol. It's a viable option. Just because others drink does not mean that you have to do the same thing. If you perceive that the campus culture is one of needing to get drunk in order to have fun, do something to help change the culture. There are plenty of people out there who are not drinking and having a good time.

 Drink Responsibly

If you are 21 years or older and making the choice to drink, please drink responsibly.

 Responsible Drinking Tips: 

  • Limit the amount you drink. It's always okay to refuse a drink.
  • Do not drink on an empty stomach (food helps slow down alcohol absorption - but you must eat before; eating after ingesting alcohol will not help.
  • Alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic ones.
  • Pace yourself: don't gulp drinks, stay away from shots of liquor, do not participate in drinking games.
  • Do not mix alcohol with other drugs. It increases the effects of both medications.
  • Avoid "spiked" punch and other drinks containing unknown amounts of alcohol.
  • Dilute your drinks.
  • Know how to calculate your Blood Alcohol Level with calculation tables available at Counseling Services.
  • Do not Drink and Drive. If you are over 21 years old, you are legally drunk with an alcohol level of .08; however, your driving may very well be impaired at a lower level.

 The Effects of Alcohol 

  • 90% of campus rapes involve alcohol use by the victim or perpetrator.
  • Alcohol related highway deaths are the number 1 killer of 15-24 year olds.
  • In a recent survey, 60% of college women diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases were drunk at the time of infection.
  • Alcohol affects every tissue and organ in the body. It reaches the brain within minutes and slows reflexes, impacts coordination, and impairs judgment.
  • Alcohol intoxication is associated with increased risk for suicide, pregnancy, physical violence, and accidental death.
  • The higher the number of drinks a student consumes per week, the lower the GPA.
  • 7% of Freshmen will drop out for alcohol related reasons.
  • In most surveys, the binge-drinking rate of college students is higher than non-college peers.
  • Of students currently enrolled, the same number will eventually die from alcohol related causes as will get masters and doctorates.
  • Studies indicate that alcoholism runs in families and genetic vulnerability for alcoholism exists. If you are an adult child of an alcoholic (or other drug abuser), you have up to a four times greater risk of developing problems with alcohol or other drugs. Additionally, there is an increased likelihood of becoming involved with an alcoholic or other drug addicted partner. 

 

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