College kids worry about passing tests, post-graduation careers and they probably spend a good deal of time thinking about fellow students of the opposite sex. Recent reports say that a troubling number of college students are also worrying about how much they weigh and how they look, and those worries translate into disordered eating.
According to the National Institute of Mental Health as many as one quarter of all university students are dealing with an eating disorder. The National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) conducted a 2013 study which revealed that the problem of disordered eating on university campuses is only getting worse.
With the heat of summer comes music festivals, and with music festivals comes illicit drug use and, all too frequently, tragic deaths. Each year at festivals like Bonnaroo in Tennessee and Electric Zoo in New York, people experiment with drugs like Molly, taking risks on MDMA cut with anonymous stimulants sold under the popular moniker. In the wake of tragedies at Electric Zoo and other festivals last year, summer festivals this year will be stepping up their drug screening policies, incorporating pat-downs, sniffer dogs and other similar measures to try to prevent problems.
People who develop alcohol-related problems often experience drinking urges that increase their odds of consuming even more alcohol. Addiction specialists view the presence of strong, recurring drinking urges as one of the primary indicators of the onset of alcoholism. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical & Experimental Research, a team of Australian researchers assessed the impact that simultaneous consumption of alcohol and energy drinks has on the drinking urges of young adults. These researchers concluded that the urge to drink more alcohol increases in young adults who consume this combination of beverages.
People who use recreational drugs also often participate in the dangerous form of alcohol consumption called binge drinking. However, researchers only partly understand the reasons this overlapping substance abuse occurs. In a study published in July 2014 in the journal Drug and Alcohol Review, a team of Australian researchers explored the role that drug intoxication plays in increasing the likelihood that a young adult substance user will also take part in binge drinking. These researchers concluded that some forms of drug intoxication (but not others) are linked with alcohol binging.
Drinking in college is almost a rite of passage. It has become such an ingrained part of college culture that it is difficult to remove. What’s worse than many underage college students having a beer or two is the prevalence of binge drinking. When young people drink to excess they risk their health, being assaulted and missing out on academic opportunities, not to mention becoming addicted to alcohol. Binge drinking is most common and extreme among people between the ages of 18 and 24. If you have a child in college, talk to him about binge drinking and just how harmful it can be.
Mixing energy drinks with liquor is not a new practice. The popular Red Bull and vodka is practically a classic cocktail. Young drinkers began the trend of adding alcohol to energy drinks to stay awake to party and to increase the buzz already provided by alcohol. Experts have warned about the dangers of mixing alcohol with stimulants like caffeinated beverages for years. Now, researchers have found another reason not to consume this toxic drink. It leads to harmful and dangerous binge drinking.
Heavy drinking is a problem for a number of reasons. It can lead to alcohol poisoning, intoxication, bad decisions, accidents and even addiction and health problems. Binge drinking is defined as more than four drinks at one sitting for a woman and more than five for a man. This kind of drinking is particularly prevalent among young people. Statistics show that 80 percent of college students drink and that half of them binge drink. The traditional approach to dealing with problem drinking is to commit to a 12-step program and to abstain from alcohol forever. For young people, this may be too big a challenge, and some experts think they have a viable alternative.
In the U.S., young adults enrolled in college are widely known for their relatively heavy participation in alcohol consumption, as well as for their level of involvement in risky, potentially fatal drinking practices. Researchers and public health officials know that the perceived acceptability of drinking has a strong influence on the likelihood that any college student will consume alcohol. In a study slated for publication in September 2014 in the journal Addictive Behaviors, researchers from the University of Houston sought to determine if any given student’s perception of acceptable drinking norms depends on their level of social identification or allegiance with college as a whole.
Significant numbers of young women in the U.S. are affected by problematic drinking behaviors and/or the symptoms of an eating disorder. In some cases, affected women may initially fall into their eating and alcohol-related behaviors as part of a conscious or unconscious attempt to cope with various forms of stress. In a study published in May 2014 in Addictive Behaviors, researchers from Auburn University explored the potential connection between alcohol problems and eating disorders in young women and the presence of similar issues in their parents. These researchers also explored the more general influence of a dysfunctional family environment on young women’s drinking and eating behaviors.
Significant numbers of U.S. college students consume alcohol in excessive amounts. One of the well-established potential consequences of this excessive drinking is involvement as either a perpetrator or target of a sexual assault. In a study published in July/August 2014 in The American Journal on Addictions, researchers from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln looked at some of the factors that could explain the connection between problem drinking in college men and participation in sexually aggressive behavior. Specifically, these researchers looked at the impact of college men’s preexisting expectations regarding alcohol’s effects on behavior.