Friday, February 09, 2007

Young Adults & Binge Drinking

Young Adults & Binge Drinking
By Gatehouse Academy

Too Many BeersAccording to the U.S. National Survey on Drug Use and Health, binge drinking among full-time college students as well as young adults not enrolled in college continues to be a significant problem. Binge alcohol use is defined as drinking five or more drinks on the same occasion (i.e., at the same time or within a couple of hours of each other) on at least 1 day in the past 30 days.

Studies suggest that young adults are more likely than older adults to engage in heavy episodic drinking. The dangers of excessive alcohol use include increased involvement in fatal vehicle crashes, sexual assault, unprotected sex, violence, property damage, and increased risk of physical and mental health problems.

Studies conducted during the 1990s suggest that excessive drinking and driving under the influence of alcohol are more prevalent among college students than among non-students.

So what do we know about college age students and other young adults? Following are the primary findings from the 2002 report confirming the continued trend of alcohol abuse in college students. The report also showed the prevalence of alcohol abuse in non-students, a departure from previous studies.

* More than 1 in 10 young adults aged 18 to 24 were heavy drinkers, and almost 2 in 5 were binge drinkers.
* Heavy drinking rates peaked at age 21 for both full-time students and non-students.
* Binge drinking rates peaked at age 21 for full-time students and non-students.
* Full-time students aged 18 to 21 had higher rates of binge drinking than non-students,
* Daily drinking was substantially less common than both heavy and binge drinking, reported by fewer than 2 percent of full-time students and 3 percent of non-students.

The survey also studied the beliefs toward alcohol and safety associated with the students' practice of binge drinking. For the most part, those surveyed saw no risk in weekly binge drinking. However, at least one quarter of young adults between 18 and 24 perceived a great risk in weekly binge drinking. Overall, full-time college students were less likely to perceive great risk in weekly binge drinking, and differences were statistically significant for those aged 19, 20, and 21.

On the behaviour side of the survey, college students were more likely to use seat belts while driving. At the same time, non-students at each age were less likely than full-time students to drive while under the influence of alcohol, but this difference was not statistically significant among 24 year olds.

Early treatment is recommended. Research indicates that females and males who participated in binge drinking could suffer from depression at a later time. According the National Institute of Drug Abuse, males' risk of depression increased 3 to 4 times, compared with abstainers, if they participated in binge drinking and frequent marijuana use.

Those affected should seek help from an effective treatment facility in order to move forward to a healthy future.

About the Author
Gatehouse Academy is a long term residential drug and alcohol facility exclusively for young adults age 17-25. For more information visit the Gatehouse Academy website.

Picture: Beer