Wellness ‘U’: Tips for Cutting Down on Binge Drinking

Wellness ‘U’: Tips for Cutting Down on Binge Drinking

College is all about studying until your brain hurts, figuring out your future, making life-long friends and….drinking?

Drinking alcohol has become one of the most popular ways college students unwind. In fact, almost 54% of college students ages 18 to 22 say they drink alcohol.

With so many parties and events dedicated just to drinking on college campuses such as tailgates, themed house and apartment parties, and bar crawls it can be easy to fall into the habit of drinking a lot of alcohol regularly. 

It’s not all fun and games
High Risk Drinking Among College StudentsWhile having one or two drinks in a night isn’t necessarily bad, the problem for college students is that many of them don’t stop there. Nearly one-third of all students who drink, binge drink. Binge drinking is when you drink a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time. For women that would be four or more drinks in about 2 hours and for men it would be five plus drinks in that same amount of time.

High-risk drinking can lead to a lot of harmful consequences. For instance:

  • Almost 1,500 college students age 18 to 24 die each year from injuries linked to alcohol
  • About 600,000 college students are hurt while under the influence
  • About 700,000 college students are assaulted by a student that is under the influence
  • Nearly 100,000 college students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape

How to cut down
If you think you might be drinking too much, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan for how you are going to cut down. Here are some tips on how you can limit how much alcohol you drink:

  • Set a drink limit – Don't drink during the week and decide how many you'll have on the weekends. Cut yourself off when you reach your limit.
  • Switch to non-alcoholic drinks – After you have hit your alcohol limit fill your cup with other type of drinks such as water, juice or soda.
  • Don’t hang out with heavy drinkers – If you easily give in to peer pressure, don't go out with people who drink a lot or who pressure you to drink. Make plans with people who don’t drink as much.
  • Skip the drinking games – Drinking games can often lead you to drink more than you had planned.
  • Plan a classy night out – Just because you’re in college doesn’t mean you don’t know how to savor a good beverage. Instead of drinking countless cheap beers or taking shots, enjoy one or two delicious beverages at a cocktail bar, a wine tasting or dinner party.
  • Drink slowly – Don’t guzzle. Take breaks between sips. If you drink it too quickly it can go to your head faster.
Sources: National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism  NIAAA A Time for Parents To Discuss the Risks of College Drinking PDF,   

Originally published December 7, 2015; Revised 2020