It is no secret that the majority of college students will end up drinking alcohol at some point during their school career. With bars on campus, various student events and the University of Connecticut’s infamous party scene, you’re bound to try alcohol at least once during your time in college.
But where do you draw the line between harmless fun and a more serious problem? In a study done by the National Institute of Health, about 53% of college students drink, with about 33% of that population experiencing blackouts — drinking so much to the point where your memory of the night becomes impaired.
Of course, not everyone who experiences a blackout once in a while has an issue with alcohol. But if you’re drinking multiple times a week, sometimes to the point of blackout, it may be time to reevaluate your relationship with alcohol. To avoid any issues, try to limit drinking to the weekends and avoid binge drinking. The National Institute of Health describes binge drinking as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women, all in the span of about two hours. By pacing yourself and knowing your limits, you’ll still be able to have a fun time with friends, while keeping yourself safe.
If you want to keep yourself more clear-headed, it’s recommended that you drink water along with any alcohol and try not to drink more than two drinks. Always head out with a buddy, especially if you choose to walk back home at night. Never leave your drink unattended or out in the open. If you leave a drink, it’s possible that someone may spike your drink, which can lead to disastrous consequences. If you’re worried about drink spiking, I suggest investing in a product such as NightCaps — a portable drink cover.
If you think you may have a substance use disorder — an inability to control yourself around alcohol, medications or illicit substances — help is available. You can reach out to Student Health and Wellness for connections to licensed therapists and recovery resources. UConn also has a student support group on campus. The UConn Recovery Community is a group providing peer support for students dealing with substance use disorders, substance misuse and other mental or behavioral health disorders. I personally attend the UConn Recovery Community for my own mental health issues. It’s a great way to get connected with peers who are attempting to better their own mental and physical health. The UConn Recovery community has an All Recovery meeting on Mondays at 6 p.m., located at the Cordial Storrs house. It should be noted that the UConn Recovery Community is not a replacement for professional help, but rather a peer support group to help you in the social aspect of recovery from behavioral or mental health challenges.
Navigating alcohol use in college can be difficult. Pacing yourself and knowing your own limits can help you stay on top of school while still being able to go out and have fun. Always prioritize your own safety above all else. Go out with a friend and try to be aware of your surroundings at all times. If you don’t think you can control yourself around alcohol or drugs, help is available.