Drinking at college is not only glorified and encouraged, but it can also be extremely dangerous for many reasons. It’s no secret that college students are extremely likely to engage in unhealthy drinking habits when they’re in college. Unrestricted time, minimal supervision and an abundance of alcohol can create the perfect recipe for college alcohol and binge drinking. It’s important to know the signs and how to avoid college alcoholism and binge drinking as best as you can while working to get your education.

What Counts as Binge Drinking?

In short, drinking a large amount of alcohol in a short time constitutes binge drinking. Excessive drinking over a short amount of time is known as binge drinking. This usually happens when a man consumes 5 or more drinks or a woman consumes 4 or more drinks over the course of about 2 hours.

According to a survey by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), approximately 2 out of every 5 college students of all ages (more than 40 percent) reported binge drinking at least once in the 2 weeks prior. In the same study, about 25 percent of college students who binge drink report academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall

How Can You Avoid College Alcoholism and Binge Drinking?

Starting a new school can be a stressful time for someone of any age, but especially when a person is in college and has moved alone to an entirely different city. The desire to want to fit in, find friends and have fun can lead people down a slippery slope. Parties and alcohol are rampant, and they are an easy way to make friends. However, there are other ways you can enjoy your college experience without regularly binge drinking.

Get Involved on Campus

Luckily, there is no shortage of things to do on campus. There are usually a wealth of clubs, activities and other interesting ways to spend your time other than binge drinking. Check out your college or university’s website to see what might be available, and try new things out. The more you’re able to fill up your schedule with sober activities and responsibilities, the better you can avoid college alcoholism and binge drinking.

Be Careful in the Early Weeks

If you are a freshman starting a new school this year, be very careful in your first 6-8 weeks of school. This is a crucial time when initial friendships are made and expectations are set. First impressions matter, so if you are able to stay sober or drink moderately during initial binge drinking sessions, or just opting out altogether, your friends won’t expect it in the future. However, if you choose to let loose every time, you may set precedence or reputation that you are a partier, which can be harder to get out of.

Explore Your New City

One of the many great things about going away to college or university is that you get to live in an entirely new city. Immerse yourself in your new surroundings and go explore! Find some nature or hiking trails near you, or if you’re in a big city, find some great local coffee shops or other great places to study aside from campus. You can also find meetups in your area for people outside of your school to do local activities.

Signs of College Alcoholism and Binge Drinking

If you’re not in college but a loved one is, it is important to understand the signs of college alcoholism and binge drinking so that you can help guide your loved one when they might need it most.

Poor Performance in School

One of the most obvious indicators that someone has college alcoholism and binge drinking has become an issue is when they have a poor performance in school. Getting low grades, failing classes, dropping out of classes, skipping classes or being placed on academic probation are all indicators of this.

Not Reaching Out

Another way you can start to notice that something is amiss is if your loved one has stopped reaching out to the family as often. If they have been isolating themselves, not calling as much or stopped visiting, you may want to talk to them about college alcoholism and binge drinking.


If your loved one has become very secretive as to how they are spending their money or what they have been up to, there is a high likelihood that they are engaging in college alcoholism and binge drinking.

About Pinelands Recovery Center

College alcoholism and binge drinking can have devastating life-long effects. Entering college and having newfound freedom is exciting for young people, especially if they have lived under their parent’s watchful eye their entire lives. However, it is important to have a conversation about the seriousness of college alcoholism and binge drinking so they know what to expect when they arrive.

Pinelands Recovery Center of Medford is widely known as one of New Jersey’s finest, most respected addiction treatment facilities. With comfortable 30-bed accommodations and 24-hour professional staff, we can offer clients a serene, relaxing environment amid the lush piney woods. This stress-free setting with its sense of warmth and welcoming enables you to feel comfortable and confident about your clean and sober life ahead.

We will establish clear goals, both general in nature and specific to your needs. We continue to monitor those goals, to make sure that our clients are progressing and buying into their recovery plan. We thrive on assisting clients in feeling connected to the recovery community, share and demonstrate effective coping techniques, help clients to modify attitudes and patterns of behavior and everything else you will need to be happy and productive living a sober, healthy life.

We ensure that clients complete their planned concrete tasks, encourage hope, optimism and healthy living. Our recovery program is not a revolving door treatment program; it is a recovery model designed to help clients go on to lead productive, happy lives. For more information, visit pinelandsrecovery.com