Clay Cutts, L.M.S.W. | Alcohol Abuse is A Growing Problem In Two Distinct Populations!

Alcohol Abuse is A Growing Problem In Two Distinct Populations!

Alcohol AbuseTerrifying new research shows alcohol abuse rampant among students and military personnel. Anyone can suffer from alcoholism. Recently, dual diagnosis treatment centers are reporting “higher than average” rates of alcohol withdrawal among college students and members of the military.

Certain groups are simply expected to drink more than others. When we think of hard-partying occupations most of us can rattle off our favorites. Television and novels portray the hard working and equally hard playing police detectives gathering for drinks after their shift, for instance. On the other hand, picturing a bunch of librarians doing shots may be a bit of a stretch.  Not that librarians aren’t tons of fun. 🙂

The truth is that Alcohol Units are filled with suffering people from all walks of life. Some of these unfortunates are seeking cocaine help or looking for crack recovery. Others, many of whom are adult children of alcoholics, are simply suffering through their alcohol withdrawal.

While the appropriate use of alcohol is the norm, alcohol abuse seems to be more prevalent in certain populations.

College Students and Alcohol Abuse

Hard drinking is not only considered a part of college life, but for some it is the most important aspect.

We have all seen the movies…crazy fraternity parties…beautiful people…good times had by all. The problem is that the real life versions of these scenes often have devestating outcomes.

Alcohol poisoning ñ a severe and potentially fatal physical reaction to an alcohol overdose ñ is the most serious consequence of binge drinking. When excessive amounts of alcohol are consumed, the brain is deprived of oxygen. The struggle to deal with an overdose of alcohol and lack of oxygen will eventually cause the brain to shut down the voluntary functions that regulate breathing and heart rate.

Alcohol abuse on college campuses…

  • According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, nearly half of all college students surveyed drank four or five drinks in one sitting within the previous 2 weeks.
  • Students who live in a fraternity or sorority house are the heaviest drinkers – 86 percent of fraternity residents and 80 percent of sorority residents report binge drinking.
  • In a recent study, 39 percent of college women binge drank within a 2-week period compared with 50 percent of college men.
  • Colleges with high binge drinking rates were also much more likely to attract students who were binge drinkers in high school.
  • In one multi-campus survey, white non-Hispanic students reported the highest percentage of binge drinking in a 2-week period (43.8 percent), followed by Native American (40.6 percent), Hispanic (31.3 percent), Asian (22.7 percent), and black non-Hispanic (22.5 percent) students. This pattern of binge drinking differences among ethnic groups is also seen in high school students.

Military Personnel and Alcohol Abuse

Drinking has long been a staple of military life. “Work hard and play hard” has been the mantra of fighting men and women for generations.

Lately, alcohol abuse has become nearly an epedimic problem for the U.S. Military.

Last year, 9,199 soldiers enrolled in treatment after being diagnosed with alcohol problems, a 56% increase over 2003, when the Iraq war started, according to Army records released Monday. Overall, 16,388 sought some type of counseling, data show.

Some argue that this increase is due to the growing social acceptance of alcohol treatment. They say that the stigmas of being an “alcoholic” have largely fallen away.

Of course, the U.S. has been at war since 1999. Serving multiple tours of duty is not at all uncommon. Extended exposure to combat is terrifying. With no other way to deal with the stress, it’s easy to see how alcohol could turn into a habit for an over-worked soldier.

If you are a student or member of the military and alcohol abuse is suspected, ask for help. Making this leap takes two things…courage and willingness to do the work.

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