Answers to some of the most pressing questions about college drinking.
First, it’s important to remember that people aren’t defined by their illnesses. Which is why we use the term alcohol use disorder when talking about “drinking too much.” Alcohol use disorder, or AUD, is a chronic relapsing brain disease. Someone living with AUD will feel as if they need to drink often, will be unable to control the amount of alcohol they drink at a time, and will become upset if they’re unable to drink.
If you’re concerned you may have AUD, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do you feel like you can’t control how much you drink? Or that you often end up drinking more than you planned?
- Do you crave alcohol and feel an urge to drink?
- Do you feel like you need to drink more alcohol than you used to in order to feel its effects?
- Have you tried to quit drinking but been unable?
- Do you feel like drinking disrupts your regular life? Has drinking ever stopped you from doing your best in school, work, or in the activities you care about?
- Has drinking ever affected your relationships with family or friends?
- Has drinking too much ever made you do something that can be harmful to yourself or others—such as driving or having unsafe sex?
- Have you ever experienced withdrawal symptoms once the effects of alcohol started wearing off? Withdrawal can cause restlessness and trouble sleeping, irritability, anxiety and depression, nausea, and sweating.
If you answered yes to any of those questions, your drinking may be a problem. Please contact counseling or student health services available through your college or university.
There are a lot of places and people who can help you help friends. Like your school—check online or with the administration for campus resources on college drinking.
Want to handle it outside of that community? The Washington Recovery Help Line is an anonymous, confidential resource, available 24 hours a day. You can call them at 1-866-789-1511 or visit their website if you or someone you know needs help.
The Washington Poison Center can also help with free, confidential advice and assistance. Call them at 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website. If it’s an immediate emergency, please call 911 or go to an emergency room.
Even if you think your parents don't care if you drink, alcohol can stand in the way of you passing classes, making friends, and graduating college. Instead, focus on what's best for you. That can mean discovering who you are, getting your degree, finding a new passion, or making memories that will last a lifetime. Drinking can limit your ability to achieve those goals—something your parents don't want for you.
Nope. Many students choose not to drink in college for personal, religious, or cultural reasons. Some, because they’re in recovery. Others, because it’s illegal if you’re under 21. Or all of the above.
In fact, 57.5% of 18-20-year-olds in Washington haven't drank in the last 30 days.
(Washington Young Adult Health Survey)