Muir Wood therapist, David Laing

Binge Drinking in College: Getting the Problem Under Control

The amount and frequency that college kids drink in the United States is at an all-time high, according to the New York Post, and they blame the problem on a lack of academic requirements for higher education. According to the article, back in 1961 the average college student who attended classes full-time spent about 25 hours per week studying, but by 2003 that number had dropped to 13 hours per week.

The hypothesis? With more downtime and the same temptation to overindulge due to a new-found freedom from parents and ready access to alcohol and other substances, students today are spending their extra time drinking—and recovering from drinking—and yet suffering few academic consequences in many cases.

What is the result of this more lax academic environment? What can parents do to prepare their kids for college and all the temptations to drink and use drugs that seem to be a big part of the landscape?


Increased drinking at any age is dangerous, but up until the age of about 25 it is considerably more dangerous. The human brain continues to develop emotionally and cognitively all the way up until this age, and college students who drink heavily may hamper their continued growth and progress.

Additionally, other potential risks of heavy drinking during the college years include:

  • Experiencing an unwanted pregnancy or contracting an STD due to unprotected sex
  • Getting into an accident while driving under the influence or making poor choices while drinking
  • Experiencing a medical emergency
  • Damaging healthy relationships with peers and family members

Helping Your Child to Make Good Choices

Parents can have the most impact on their children’s behavior in college by talking to them and engaging with them while they’re still in high school. What you say and do with your teen will not only resonate when they are away from home but can help the two of you develop a strong relationship, allowing him to seek your advice or assistance if he needs it when faced with challenges while away.

Taking a strong anti-drug stance throughout the teen years and emphasizing (and rewarding) hard work, integrity and academics—and, of course, being a positive role model. All these play a part in helping your teen to point himself in the right direction when he goes off to school.

If drug abuse is already a problem for your son in high school, help him to get back on track before he develops lifelong habits of substance abuse. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help here at Muir Wood.