Syracuse UniversityCounseling Center

Alcohol Abuse

Alcohol use is common in everyday American life, particularly on a college campus. Whether it is toasting a well-earned accomplishment with champagne, enjoying a glass of wine with dinner or drinking an ice-cold beer while watching the big game, alcohol can be a part of a healthy lifestyle. But when does everyday alcohol use become abuse?

WHAT IS ALCOHOL ABUSE?

Alcohol abuse refers to a maladaptive pattern of alcohol consumption that results in negative academic, work, medical, legal, and/or social consequences.  Alcohol abuse is characterized by an individual continuing to consume alcohol despite repeatedly experiencing some of the negative consequences associated with alcohol use.

HOW CAN I TELL IF I HAVE AN ALCOHOL ABUSE PROBLEM?

If you are worried that you or someone you know has an alcohol abuse problem, consider the following questions:

    • Do you drink or use for a quick pick me up?

    • Do you drink/ use because of boredom?

    • Do you drink to the point of "brown or black out"?

    • Do you drink/ use to fit in?

    • Do you sometimes drink more than you intended?

    • When you drink - do you find yourself in situations you later regret?

    • Do you sometimes feel guilty about your drinking/ use?

    • Do you become angry or agitated when others mention your drinking/ use?

    • Do you drink/ use more than you used to in order to get the same effects?

    • Do you find yourself skipping work and classes or putting things off because of drinking/ use or thinking about it?

    • Have you been unsuccessful in cutting down?

    • Do you ever drink/ use first thing in the morning?

    • Do you continue drinking/ use despite negative consequences?

If you answered yes to one or more of the questions above or you are concerned about your alcohol use, call the Syracuse University Counseling Center at 315.443.4715.

 

WHY DO PEOPLE ABUSE ALCOHOL?       

For many college students, alcohol use is seen as an accepted and expected aspect of college life; yet there are a wide range of reasons that people shift from alcohol use to alcohol abuse.  Some of the common factors that contribute to alcohol abuse include reliance on alcohol to socialize at parties, use of alcohol to cope with negative feelings or moods, and regular use of alcohol to manage stress. 

ALCOHOL USE AMONG STUDENTS FROM MARGINALIZED IDENTITIES OR GROUPS

Students who experience being marginalized in society or on campus due to their identity or group memberships may be susceptible to alcohol abuse.  For example, American Indians and Native Alaskans may be at higher risk for alcohol abuse than students from other racial/ethnic groups.  While there may be a genetic component that contributes to this increased risk, an equal contributor to the increased risk are the negative experiences associated with being marginalized or oppressed.  It is not an individual’s identification with a marginalized population that is the risk factor, but rather the negative emotional experiences associated with being marginalized or oppressed by members of the majority culture(s). Click here for more information about the impact of marginalization.

 


BE Wise