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Alcohol An Issue within Colleg

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Alcohol An Issue within Colleg

Alcohol: An Issue within College Society

Do you remember graduating high school? Remember all the questions you had to ask yourself. What are you going to do now? Do you want to work? Do you want to go to school again for another four years? These questions are eventually answered and some choose to find a job, and others figure out that going to college is probably a good thing. Now you have realized that you want to get a taste of college life and you're back to where you started. Where do you get the money? Where do you want to go? What are you really going to get out of this? Finally you make your decisions and you now find yourself away from home in a new environment, living the college life.

College is a time where tough decisions are to be made and these choices can change the direction of your life. It is a time where in most cases students get a taste of the real world by being away from home for the first time with a new found freedom to live as they please. College life is a new experience and the pressures that come along with it have an effect on a student's path to success. Unfortunately, alcohol is one of these pressures. Alcohol abuse is a major problem that many young men and women encounter throughout their college experience. Drinking on college campuses is a problem that affects everyone.

Let's first begin by understanding what alcoholism is and what it does to us. Alcoholism can be defined as an illness or a chronic disorder that comes from constant drinking. It obviously has serious physical and mental effects on a person. According to Louis Joylon West, M.D., a professor and Chairman of the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences at the UCLA School of Medicine, the attributes that define an addiction, in this case alcohol, include craving, tolerance and withdrawal phenomena (West, 28). This is a problem that exists among men and women of all ages. Alcohol addiction has no barriers to race, religion or sex; anyone can have this addiction. Is alcoholism a disease? The American Medical Association and the World Health Organization officially acknowledged alcoholism as a disease in the 1950's. It is very apparent that alcohol abuse has major effects on major organs of the body. Ethyl alcohol, or ethanol, causes severe damage to excretory organs including the liver and kidneys. Yet the major organ affected the most by outcomes of ethanol is the brain. Long-lasting effects of impairment of normal brain functions and damage of brain tissue are results of constant drinking. These outcomes eventually lead to other diseases of the body such as cirrhosis of the liver and mental disorders including depression and anxiety. However, addiction to alcohol has side effects not only to a person's body but effects to those who surround them. Stewart G. Wolf, a professor at the Temple University School of Medicine, states,

It should be emphasized that alcoholism is more than a disease of an individual. It disrupts the equilibrium of the family structure and, in one way or another, affects every family member. New equilibriums must be established when the alcoholic stops drinking, and there are adjustment to be made throughout both the drinker's period of recovery and after the establishment of long-term sobriety (28).

College drinking among university and college campuses across the United States is very prominent. According to studies conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, heavy drinking by college students has gone up since the beginning of the 1990's to the present. The study conducted in 1993 included a survey of 15,103 students to learn of student drinking habits. Results of the study showed that 39 percent of surveyed students consumed alcohol until they felt drunk. The same study was conducted in 1997 among 14,521 students and showed that 52 percent 'drank to get drunk', an increase of 13 percent. However binge drinking, defined as consumption of five drinks in a row by men and at least four drinks in a row by women in the past two weeks, has gone down according to the study (American Medical News, 39). This landmark study of college drinking has changed the thoughts and ideas of college administrators. It has been proven that this is a major problem, and it is worsening among the young men and women who attend our colleges.

College drinking has an effect on not only the drinkers, but on their friends and classmates as well. How are non-drinking students affected by the presence of alcohol? Many are pressured to drink in order to fit in with a crowd. Many students feel that it is cool to be seen with a beverage in your hand at a party or a function. The need for acceptance among their peers is a big deal to many first-year students and therefore many give in to these pressures. Yet there are many students that come to college to study and not to party. It has been proven that drinking on campus has consequences for those who choose not drink as well. According to the Brown University Digest of Addiction Theory and Application, students who drink cause problems that effect other students who do not drink. Non-drinking students, at schools where drinking was common, reported having sleeping and study difficulties (68%) as well as having to console drunken students regularly (54%). Also, the study showed that students reported being degraded and harassed by students that were intoxicated (34%) and having been sexually provoked by drunken students (26%). Students attending other schools where excessive drinking took place reported similar results (5).

How does the presence of alcohol affect first-year college students? Many students that are going to college for the first time are looking for new friends and buddies to hang out with. Fraternities and sororities at our colleges in the United States help freshmen students in finding a new home. This in turn introduces them to the social functions that exist within a college campus. The Greek society within our colleges and universities has for years been known to contribute in student drinking on campus. In the November 1, 1998 edition of the Oregonian, writer Spencer Heinz reported that four out of five people associated with college fraternities or sororities were binge drinkers (A2). Fraternity and sorority life is considered a brotherhood and sisterhood. They encourage a family-like relationship between members and promote partying together. Unfortunately, many functions created by these fraternities and sororities do not prohibit the use of alcohol. Members are therefore allowed to drink at these parties, ...

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Keywords: alcohol problem in college, why is alcohol bad for college students, are college students alcoholics, can you be an alcoholic in college, which of the following are problems associated with binge drinking in college, do college students drink alcohol

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