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Press Release: College Binge Drinking Instrumental in Alcohol Dependence

Published: 08/10/2007

Majority of Students Drink Twice Recommended Weekly Units

Many teenagers heading off to college this autumn are leaving home for their first-ever taste of freedom.

Inevitably, alcohol will form a major part of their new lifestyle but research has shown:

  • on average, students consumes 28.4 units a week
  • many students consume up to 50-60 units a week
  • the recommended daily units are 2 for women and 4 for men

Most students drink in binges at weekends. This is more dangerous than spreading their intake throughout the week. They are more at risk of personal injury - a third of most students will have an accident when drunk. Binge drinking does more damage to long-term health and is more likely to lead to alcohol dependence.

The Linwood Group has created some guidelines for students and parents on their website - lynwodemanor.co.uk. It looks at ways to control drinking, tell-tale signs of problem drinking and advice to parents on gauging whether their child has a drink problem.

Sue Allchurch, director of the Linwood Group and one of the UK's leading alcohol counsellors, explains:

"Binge drinking is recognised as a form of alcoholism - it is a myth to think you have to drink each day to be dependent on alcohol. Binge drinkers consume a large amount of alcohol more rapidly.

Alcoholism is a progressive illness - over time, the binges will become closer together. If you tell yourself that you are alright because your drinking only goes out of control every few weeks, you are in denial".

The Linwood Group offers the only treatment centres in the UK exclusively dedicated to dealing with alcoholism and has seen a rise in the admission of young people with a binge drinking problem. Sue Allchurch added:

"There are less restraints on purchasing alcohol, cost is less of a deterrent these days as the big supermarkets continue their price war. Peer pressure is likely to be stronger than ever and a drink-and-drug-fuelled lifestyle has been glamourised by celebrities".

What can students do?

  • Remember, you don't have to drink to have a good time
  • If you drink to give yourself confidence and be the life-and-soul of the party, one drink too many and you are more likely to be a crashing bore or an embarrassment to everyone
  • Set yourself a sensible limit and stick to it
  • Try and have a meal before going out and ensure you drink plenty of water to avoid becoming dehydrated
  • Avoid buying in rounds - this can make you drink more - and pace yourself
  • Choose drinks with lower-alcohol content rather than stronger beers and spirits
  • Try not to mix drinks - this increases the range of toxins your body has to deal with and worsens a hang-over
  • Drink a pint of water before you go to bed
  • Remember, alcohol is basically a poison which is why you experience a hang-over. Drink enough of it and it will kill you
  • Get a friend to video you when you are drunk and play it to you when you are sober

What are the danger signs?

  • Blackouts - periods of time you cannot account for when drunk
  • Regularly missing lectures or other commitments due to a hangover or the need to drink instead
  • Daytime drinking in the week - worse still if you do this alone
  • Craving alcohol
  • Drinking in the morning to control a hang-over or the shakes
  • Injuring yourself repeatedly when drunk
  • Having attempted to cut back, find it impossible
  • Making excuses e.g I only drink lager, I know someone who drinks a lot more than me
  • Getting annoyed if someone mentions the amount you drink

How can parents recognise if their child has a problem?

  • The odour of alcohol at unexpected times of day
  • Sudden change in mood or attitude
  • Change in attendance or performance at college
  • Loss of interest in college, sports, or other activities
  • Discipline problems
  • Withdrawal from family and friends
  • Secrecy
  • Association with a new group of friends and reluctance to introduce them to you
  • Alcohol disappearing from your home
  • Depression and developmental difficulties

Parents need to set really firm boundaries as well as leading by example. Drunkeness should be treated as a serious issue with zero tolerance - hold back on funds and try to involve them in positive, healthy pursuits.

ENDS

If you would like further information, please call Sara Stewart on 07789 374174 - you can also visit the website on lynwodemanor.co.uk. Addiction specialist and director of Linwood, Sue Allchurch, is available for interview or comment.

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