Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

College Binge Drinking and Heart Disease: The Connection

A new study published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology found that just four years of heavy alcoholic drinking during the college years may be all it takes to increase an individual’s risk for the development of chronic and fatal health problems that include:

  • Heart attacks
  • Strokes
  • Atherosclerosis

So how do you help prepare your college-aged son to help him avoid these pitfalls? Talk to him about it. Other studies have shown that having a discussion about the dangers of drinking before your son leaves for college can have a significant impact on his decision-making in terms of alcohol use. Since college students report that they binge drink, on average, about six times per month, it’s a conversation worth having.

What Is Binge Drinking?

Many parents don’t know to warn their college-bound kids about binge drinking specifically and are often unclear about the definition. What constitutes a binge? In general, a binge drinking session is defined by:

  • Four drinks in two hours or less for women
  • Five drinks in two hours or less for men

One or two beers with dinner or a glass of wine is not binge drinking, but it’s also worth it to point out that underage drinking in any amount is not okay either.

The Dangers of Binge Drinking in College

Melissa Goslawski is lead author of the study and a researcher in American College’s Department of Physical Therapy. She wrote: “Regular heavy episodic alcohol use (or ‘binge drinking’) is one of the most serious public health problems confronting American colleges. This study adds to a growing chain of evidence that suggests that, in contrast to regular and moderate alcohol consumption, binge drinking may be a risk factor for future cardiovascular disease.”

Coming Back From Binge Drinking

It may be difficult to address a binge drinking problem in your son during college for a number of reasons:

  • He may be far away or live away from you so you don’t immediately notice the effects.
  • He may not take it seriously if he is still doing okay in school and/or holding down a job.
  • He may not view occasional binge drinking as harmful if all his friends do it.

If you are concerned that your teenage son is binge drinking and you want to help him avoid the fallout, we can assist you. Call Muir Wood today to learn more about how we can help.