Why You Shouldn’t Binge Drink
Yearly, this issue needs to be addressed as it’s potential outcomes can be disastrous. Binge drinking is a problem. It’s a common issue that plagues college campuses and causes unnecessary consequences.
What is Binge-Drinking?
So, what exactly is binge drinking? Officially, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 grams percent or above. This tends to occur when men consume 5 or more alcoholic beverages in a single setting or when women consume 4 or more alcoholic beverages in a single setting.
Don’t get me wrong, drinking occasionally with friends isn’t a bad thing. It’s the excessive nature of drinking too much that puts the simple act into dangerous territory. Drinking in such a fashion can lead to poor academics, loss of finances, negative interpersonal relationships, and a variety of personal health issues. To specify, some harms of binge drinking include unintended injuries towards oneself or others, alcohol poisoning, neurological damage, and internal diseases which could lead to liver damage or cancer.
Now, I could list the effects of binge drinking for days. However, simply listing facts won’t cause you to take action. Without fail, even if you were to provide the best argument ever to prove to someone that they’re an excessive binge drinker, they’d find some way to deny it or justify their behavior.
Personally, I think one of the best ways for people to change is to self-reflect and see the negatives within themselves. My challenge to you is to take a look at the following signs that binge-drinking is a problem.
Do you find that most of these seem to fit you perfectly? If so, then perhaps you have a slight problem. If you do have a problem, take the time to handle it before it becomes a bigger issue that can’t be controlled.
You Take More Risks
No, this is not because you’ve developed a new self-image, boosted with confidence (although attempting to do so isn’t a bad idea). In actuality, your liquid courage is taking control of you and your brain, causing you to take actions that you wouldn’t normally engage in. Now, to some degree, this isn’t a horrible concept.
Risk taking and being bold isn’t entirely bad.
However, alcohol also causes you to make bad decisions and consider the risks poorly. This is where things get dicey. It’s during this phase where fights can happen, unintended hookups may occur, poor choice of words may be spoken, etc. Don’t start a new day with regret. Limit your alcohol consumption if you find yourself taking more extreme risks.
Your Head Feels Foggy More Often
Once the weekend is complete do you find yourself stuck in a fog? Do you feel as though you can’t concentrate or buckle down effectively?
Alcohol can lead to neurological problems due in part to disrupting your sleep and this can lead to poor mental ability. While in general, this isn’t a helpful state to be in, a lack of sleep and decreased cognitive performance can highly impact you in the classroom as you may notice your GPA slowly decrease. You shouldn’t want this to happen since your academics are the main reason why you’re in college.
You Look Forward to the Weekend Drinking Session…Every Weekend
Do you find yourself dreading the week and looking forward to your next rager with your friends? While there’s nothing wrong with looking forward to the fun times ahead, if you find relief in the thought of simply drinking every weekend and can’t find much joy throughout the week then you might want to reevaluate yourself.
In general, something is wrong if you find your week to lack any ounce of pleasure. But it’s worse if your mind is focused on drinking.
Your Self-Control Diminishes
“I’ll only drink 1 tonight”. How many times have you said that only seconds before downing 2 shots and 3 mixed drinks? Exactly! Sure, sometimes we get caught up in the moment when it comes to drinking and perhaps get lost in the fun. No one wants to be left out. However, it’s when your self-control diminishes as a whole and trickles into your daily life that you need to be worried.
While it may start with the amount you drink, it could lead to issues with the daily decisions you make (or don’t make), how you spend your money, and how to handle daily stresses. Furthermore, this could lead to you neglecting important responsibilities.
You Neglect Important Responsibilities for Alcohol
This one is huge. Sometimes your desire to consistently drink may actually cause you to slack on important responsibilities. These could range from work-related responsibilities (if you have a job while in college) all the way to neglecting to do your class work on time or even at all.
It goes without saying that if you find yourself struggling to get done basic tasks after the typical weekend drinking session, it might be time for a change. Do you still drink despite knowing you have an important assignment due in a day or two? If so, change your habits up! If you allow yourself to fall into the same patterns too consistently it could lead to devastating consequences.
You Become Lazy
One of the biggest tell-tale signs of excessive drinking: You become much lazier than you were before. I know, the week is long and often frustrating but you need to pull through. There are too many assignments, papers, labs, and projects to complete and if you slack too much you’ll create an unnecessary domino effect.
Do you really want more, unnecessary stress?
Take note if you find yourself becoming unusually lazy. This could either be a sign of binge-drinking or potentially of burnout, neither of which is great.
The Quality of Your Mental Health Diminishes
According to a study by the Center of Study of Collegiate Mental Health at Penn State University, students that consistently binged also consistently had much lower GPAs. Additionally, according to a study by Northwestern University, a quarter of college undergraduates report negative academic consequences from drinking.
Well, the research indicates that those who binge-drink tend to skip classes more frequently. Makes sense. If you have an intense time at a party or bar the night before, you’re probably drained for classes the next day, especially if you have morning classes.
But what if you do manage to make it to your classes? Well, the research also suggests that binge drinking has a negative effect on your mood. While I won’t get into the details behind it, alcohol deprives your body of the ability to sleep properly. When you don’t get enough sleep, your mood can suffer as a consequence.
Naturally, a poor attitude can easily lead to decreased cognitive abilities and even an unwillingness to study—something that’s pretty important for good grades in college.
If those didn’t scare you enough, consider this: alcohol is expensive (especially at bars). Binge drinking will quickly burn holes in your pockets!
Now, the overwhelming majority of articles out there tend to suggest that college students simply not binge-drink. Personally, I find that advice to be plain awful and unrealistic.
College isn’t easy. It’s stressful and exhausting.
Everyone needs an outlet to have fun and relax and I think it’s irrational for anyone to try and dissuade students from drinking. My answer: moderation!
While I don’t think it’s realistic to not binge-drink ever (it’ll likely happen from time to time), I will say that a bit of moderation goes a long way. Be more mindful of your health, your cash, and your time (especially your time) and perhaps cut back on the excessive drinking.
Even if you still wish to drink with friends, I’d suggest pacing yourself. You don’t need to slam back five drinks in thirty minutes. Take your time and have fun, but do it responsibly!
As a challenge, try to take a weekend or two and part ways with the poison. In place of drinking, try to find some on-campus activities that can be enjoyed that may not involve drinking. While drinking is a huge issue on college campuses, there are certainly ways to enjoy oneself without binge drinking. Remember, moderation is perfectly fine but just be sure not to dive into the realm of excess.
Thank you to UIC for providing me with additional information for this article and for allowing me to use their article. Be sure to check out more of their resources with this link. Also, use this link to see the infographic used above and more resources!