FAQs on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism


Nearly all college students experience the effects of college drinking – whether they drink or not.

The problem with college drinking is not necessarily the drinking itself, but the negative consequences that result from excessive drinking.  College drinking is widespread:

  • About 4 out of 5 college students drink alcohol.
  • About 1/2 of college students who drink engage at times in binge drinking.

Each year, drinking affects college students, as well as college communities and families. Each year, the consequences of drinking include:

  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries.
  • Assault: More than 690,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
  • Sexual Abuse: More than 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.
  • Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol.
  • Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and/or receiving lower grades overall.
  • Health Problems/Suicide Attempts: More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related health problem, and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within the past year due to drinking or drug use.
  • Drunk Driving: 2.8 million students between the ages of 18 and 24 reported driving under the influence of alcohol.

Definition of Alcohol Abuse

When a person's use of alcohol interferes with his or her physical, social, or economic functioning.

Definition of Binge Drinking

Drinking alcoholic beverages with the primary intention of becoming intoxicated by heavy consumption of alcohol over a short period of time.

Definition of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is a broad term for problems with alcohol and alcohol abuse, and is generally used to mean compulsive and uncontrolled consumption of alcoholic beverages, usually to the detriment of the drinker's health, personal relationships, and social standing.

Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

  • Loss of time from school or work due to drinking.
  • Depression or unhappiness due to drinking.
  • Drinking in order to cope with personal problems.
  • Drinking to overcome shyness.
  • Loss of interest in family and friends.
  • Loss of interest in activities which were once of interest.
  • Difficulty sleeping due to drinking.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Drinking outside of a social setting.
  • Showing up intoxicated in inappropriate settings.
  • Drinking to build self-confidence.
  • Mood fluctuations.
  • Developing health problems due to drinking.
  • Experiencing memory blackouts during or after drinking.
  • Usually drinking to the point of intoxication.
  • Feeling guilty about drinking.
  • Not fulfilling promises or obligations because of drinking.






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