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Let’s Talk Facts About
College Students and Alcohol Abuse
What is Alcohol Abuse and Dependence?
Alcohol abuse
is when an individual experiences one or more of the following in a one year period:
• Recurrent use resulting in failure to fulfill major obligations at home, school, or work. • Recurrent use in dangerous situations, such as continuing to drink heavily despite having frequent • Recurrent alcohol-related legal problems such as convictions for driving while intoxicated (DWI). • Continued use despite social and interpersonal problems caused or worsened by alcohol.
Alcohol dependence is a more severe and less frequent diagnosis which is given when a person experiences
three or more of the following in a one year period:
• Tolerance — increased amounts are needed to achieve the desired effect or a diminished effect from the • Withdrawal — symptoms include, sweating, increased heart rate, shaking, nausea and/or vomiting, or more severe symptoms, such as seizures and/or hallucinations. • A great deal of time is spent trying to obtain alcohol, using it, or recovering from its effects. • Important activities are given up or reduced because of alcohol. • Drinking more or longer than intended. • Persistent desire to drink or unsuccessful efforts to cut down or control alcohol use. • Continued use despite diagnosis of a mental health disorder such as depression that is caused by or College students should talk to a mental health professional about their alcohol intake if they: • Drink everyday. • Binge drink to get drunk. • Think alcohol is interfering with school work and relationships.
What Causes Alcohol Abuse and Dependence?

Similar to many other mental health disorders, alcohol abuse and dependence are likely due to a wide variety of
environmental and biological factors. The cultural traditions surrounding the use of alcohol in family, religious,
and social settings, especially during childhood, can affect both alcohol use and the likelihood that alcohol
problems may develop.
Copyright 2009 American Psychiatric Association Let’s Talk Facts About
College Students and Alcohol Abuse

How are Alcohol Abuse and Dependence Treated?
Treatment depends on the severity of the alcohol problem and the treatment resources that are available at an
individual’s higher education institution or in the local community. Treatment may include:
• Alcohol detoxification which is the procedure of safely getting alcohol out of your system by treating • Prescription medications such as acamprosate, disulfiram, and naltrexone that have been shown to help prevent a relapse to drinking once drinking has stopped. • Some types of counseling that teach alcohol abusers to identify situations and emotions that typically trigger the desire to drink and find new ways to cope that do not include alcohol use. These treatments are usually provided on an outpatient basis, and many are offered through university counseling centers throughout the country. • Support of family members, which is important to the recovery process. Many people with alcohol problems have disturbed many of their closest relationships, and these have to be rebuilt. • Free community and government programs, such as group support meetings, legal assistance or job It is important to work with a psychiatrist or another mental health care provider to: • Consider the positive benefits of stopping an unhealthy drinking pattern. • Set a specific drinking goal. You may choose to abstain from alcohol or limit the amount that you drink in order to avoid negative legal and social consequences. • Examine the situational triggers for unhealthy drinking patterns and determine new ways of tackling
Students of legal age (at least 21 years old) who consume alcohol should do so responsibly and in moderation.
Unfortunately, many students engage in underage, risky drinking that could lead to long term alcohol problems.
These patterns include binge drinking and heavy drinking on a regular basis. The health and social effects of
alcohol misuse can be extremely serious and even life threatening, both to the individual and to others.


Copyright 2009 American Psychiatric Association Let’s Talk Facts About
College Students and Alcohol Abuse
Resources
For more information, please contact:
American Psychiatric Association (APA)
1000 Wilson Blvd. Suite 1825
Arlington, VA 22209
703-907-7300

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
Scientific Communications Branch
6000 Executive Blvd., Willco Building, Suite 409
Bethesda, MD 20892–7003
301-443-3860

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)
1 Choke Cherry Road
Rockville, MD 20857
240-276-2420

Stop Alcohol Abuse

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) World Services, Inc.
475 Riverside Drive, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10115
212-870-3400

Al-Anon Family Group Headquarters, Inc.
1600 Corporate Landing Parkway
Virginia Beach, VA 23454–5617
757-563-1600


Copyright 2009 American Psychiatric Association Let’s Talk Facts About
College Students and Alcohol Abuse
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD)
20 Exchange Place, Suite 2902
New York, NY 10005
212-269-7797
800-NCA-CALL (24-hour affiliate referral)


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One in a series of brochures designed to reduce stigma associated with mental illnesses by promoting informed
factual discussion of the disorders and their psychiatric treatments. This brochure was developed for educational
purposes and does not necessarily reflect opinion or policy of the American Psychiatric Association. For more
inform.
Created 9/06
Copyright 2009 American Psychiatric Association

Source: http://www.sandiegopsychiatricsociety.org/education/Documents/College-Students-and-Alcohol-Abuse-Text-Only.pdf

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