The Booze Blues: Drinking, College, and Health

Most college students find themselves attending at least a few college parties throughout their education, and alcohol has a funny way of crashing parties on even the driest of campuses. Thinking about drinking? There are a few things to know before you get “turnt.”

Underage Drinking is a Crime

If you’re underage, don’t be stupid. Underage drinking is a crime that can lead to hefty fines, community service, and the temporary revocation of your driver’s license on your first offense alone. You don’t want to throw away your clean record over something as dumb as underage drinking.

Health Concerns

Drinking is not the best thing for your college education. The smartest way to drink is not to drink at all. Alcohol is a depressant which means it slows down your reaction times, clouds your judgment, and impairs your thinking. If you have depression, drinking alcohol can make it worse. If you don’t have depression, drinking an excessive amount of alcohol can cause it.

Alcohol is also known to be pretty nasty on a diet. Regular beers have an average of 153 calories¬†and 12.6 carbs depending on the brew. If you’re upping your alcohol consumption without adding more exercise or cutting calories from somewhere else, you’re going to put on weight.

Alcohol poisoning is caused by an overdose of alcohol. Drinking messes with the nerves that control your body’s essential functions such as breathing. When you overdose on alcohol, you could stop breathing or choke on your vomit because the nerves that cause you to breathe, or gag aren’t sending signals to the brain, throat, or lungs.

Drinking Responsibly

If you do decide to drink make sure you drink responsibly. You can have fun at a party without going wild. Here are some ground rules to follow.

Rule #1: Never Drink and Drive

If you’re going out, make sure to have a designated driver. That driver shouldn’t even taste alcohol all night. Drunk driving leads to death and ruined lives. Don’t be that person. If you can’t find a designated driver, you’re in luck. Take a taxi or an Uber to and from the bar, club, or party. If you can’t find a designated driver and you can’t afford a cab or an Uber, then you can’t afford to drink.

Rule #2: Always Eat Before You Drink

Eating something substantial before you go drinking helps your body metabolize the alcohol more slowly which prevents alcohol poisoning and keeps you from getting too drunk too fast. Something with a lot of bread is ideal.

Rule #3: Don’t Go Drink for Drink With Members of the Opposite Sex

Sorry ladies, but guys are bigger and tend to carry less water than women. That means, on average women get drunk on less alcohol than men. How quickly or slowly a person gets drunk is also dependent on their body weight, muscle mass, metabolism, and recent food intake. Men tend to have higher metabolisms, more body weight, and more muscle mass which all contributes to the fact that they don’t get drunk quite as fast as most women.

Going drink for drink with anyone isn’t a very good idea. It generally leads to a competition and puts people at risk for alcohol poisoning.

Rule #4: Set Limits

Getting slobbering drunk, blacking out and doing things you wish you could take back isn’t fun. The movies and tv shows all make it look like such a funny memory, but it could lead to jail time, ruined relationships, and a shattered social life. If you’re going to drink, set limits for yourself. You’re an adult. Know your boundaries and don’t cross them. If you feel like you might be getting drunk, you’re probably already there. Don’t have a goal to get as plastered as possible. Besides, the hangover alone is a killer.

Set limits for your daily drinking as well. If yourself increasing your alcohol intake, then it’s time to evaluate your drinking. Ask yourself if you “want” that drink or if you “need” that drink. If you “need” a drink every day, you may be on the road to alcoholism. Step back, talk to a friend or family member. If you feel like you might be an alcoholic, talk to an Alcoholics Anonymous representative, or speak to your doctor.

Rule #5: Keep Your Friends Safe

If your friends are endangering themselves, be the good friend and get them home safely. Don’t let your friends wander off alone with strangers. Don’t let friends drive drunk. Don’t let your friends put themselves in harm’s way, and always know the signs of alcohol poisoning. If you or your friends are showing signs of alcohol poisoning, dial 911.

Whether or not you decide to drink, alcohol is probably going to be a part of your college experience in one way or another. If you decide to drink, be responsible. You are an adult. Make choices that will help you reach your goals, and keep your safety and your friends’ safety in mind at all times. Your decisions impact other people, so make choices that help keep everyone safe, happy, and healthy.

 

 

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