’‘What Role Does Alcohol Play In Your Life?’‘
You decide how alcohol will play into your personal and social life-day to day and weekend to weekend. It can affect your academics, your health, your relationships, your ability to pursue goals, and even the opportunities you are given or that are taken from you. It is important to evaluate your choices, the risks associated with them, and how your choices are affecting your life. It may appear that things are fine, until you take a closer look . . .
What situations are most likely to influence your decision to drink?
- Special Events
- Social Behavior (it’s Friday and you want to have fun?)
- Traditions (Big Game Tailgate)
- Pressure (drinking game begins and you are expected to join in)
What behaviors are you likely to exhibit when you choose to drink?
- Talkative? Loud - Inappropriate
- Reckless (driving impaired, stunts)
- Sexually daring or promiscuous
- Angry or violent behavior
- Uncontrollable emotional outbursts
Have you ever experienced these signs of unhealthy drinking?
- Physical illness (hang-overs, vomiting, in bed all day, etc.)
- Damaged relationships (friend, roommate, or boy/girlfriend upset with you)
- Legal problems (DUI, disciplinary record on campus, arrested for underage drinking, etc.)
- Unable to remember things that happened while drinking
- Violence (vandalism, physical fighting, bad arguments, etc.)
- Unwanted sexual situations (date rape, in bed with a stranger or someone you wish you had not been with)
- Academic or work problems (missed class/work, not prepared for a test, etc.)
- Low self-esteem (embarrassed or ashamed of your behavior)
- Spending a lot of money on alcohol
- Needing to drink more to get the same effect
Adopted from the BACCHUS & GAMMA “The Choice Is Yours” Publication
If you drink for the wrong reasons, or if you experience unhealthy consequences because of your drinking, you need to make new decisions that will keep you safe, healthy, and out of trouble.
Blackouts Are NOT Normal!
Alcohol in the brain causes information to be processed very crudely and often it does not get stored. So, a person may have “gaps” when trying to remember things the next day. These blackouts put a person at risk because the brain is not in a state to make decisions effectively. This can result in alcohol-related injuries or death, unsafe/unwanted sex, violence, legal trouble, etc.
What Affects Your Limit?
Body Size - The larger the person, the more body fluids to dilute consumed alcohol or lower your BAC .
Food - Alcohol is absorbed more slowly when food is present in the stomach, lowering your BAC.
Type of beverage - The amount of alcohol is different from drink to drink. A shot of liquor takes less time to drink than a 12 ounce beer and will be absorbed faster increasing your BAC.
Gender - Due to differences in weight, body-water composition, hormones, and different levels of a stomach enzyme called dehydrogenate required to digest alcohol, men and women handle alcohol differently. Alcohol tends to have a stronger effect on women.
Drinking history/tolerance - The more you drink the greater your tolerance may become to alcohol. This is a sign of increased dependency on alcohol and may indicate a drinking problem.
Physical and emotional state - Factors including how much sleep you have had, the mood you were in before drinking, your personality, and the desires and expectations about drinking can all affect the way you feel when you drink.
Medication - Certain medications may affect the way your body metabolizes alcohol. Please make sure you check with your doctor about drinking after taking prescription drugs.
How fast you drink - Your body can only process so much alcohol/hour and passing that limit contaminates your body with toxins.
From the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
Some (But Not All) Signs and Symptoms:
- Unconsciousness or semiconsciousness (the person cannot wake up or cannot respond to you)
- Slow respirations (breaths) of eight or less per minute, or lapses of more than eight seconds between breaths
- Cold, clammy, pale, or bluish skin
- Call 911 immediately! This is a medical emergency! Any one of these symptoms requires professional medical attention.
- While waiting for the 911 emergency transport, gently turn the intoxicated person on his/her side and maintain that position with a pillow behind the person’s back. This it to prevent the person from choking should the person vomit. Also, stay with the person until medical help arrives.
- If you cannot decide if the person is severely intoxicated or just “sleeping it off,” it is still better to be safe than sorry. A semi-conscious person may still have alcohol in their stomach that will continue to enter the bloodstream and cause danger. You cannot afford to guess! If the person cannot respond to you, call a health professional immediately.
Web Articles on College Student Issues
- College Academic Performance and Alcohol and Other Drug Use - The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
This site offers facts and a graph on academic performance and grades.
http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/factsheets/fact_sheet2.html - Last updated: 7-03
- College Athletes and Alcohol and Other Drug Use - The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
This site presents statistics on athletes’ use of drugs such as alcohol, spitting tobacco, and diet pills, among others.
http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/factsheets/fact_sheet3.html - Last updated: 3-02
- Fraternity and Sorority Members and Alcohol and Other Drug Use - The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
This page contains many statistics as well as a section on prevention programs and consequences of consumption.
http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/factsheets/fact_sheet5.html - Last updated: 7-03
- Alcohol and Other Drugs on Campus—The Scope of the Problem
This report is a comprehensive look at the presence of alcohol and drugs on college campuses. It is with some sobering statistics you might find humbling.
http://www.edc.org/hec/pubs/factsheets/scope.html - Last updated: 6-03
- Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study
This website links to the complete 1998 College Alcohol Study. It is very comprehensive, informative, and non technical.
http://www.hsph.harvard.edu/cas/ - Last published: 9-04
- Alochol: How to Cut Down on Your Drinking
This page contains information that might help you quit while you’re ahead.
- National Istitute on Drugs Abuse: Ecstasy Report
This page contains great, up-to-date information on MDMA (Ecstasy)
http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/MDMA - Last updated: 3-04
- National Institute on Drugs Abuse: Club Drugs
Get informed on drugs common to clubs, such as GHB, Ketamine, Tohypnol, Methamphetamines and LSD.
http://www.drugabuse.gov/Infofax/Clubdrugs.html - Last updated: 4-04