The only disease you can get yelled at for having

Alcoholism can run in your genes. Many college students find themselves in the wrong place (an environment where heavy drinking is common practice) at the wrong time (an age when their addictive gene is starting to take full effect). As a result of this, they develop a serious drinking problem.

Recent studies have shown that between 5 and 10 percent of college students are dependent on alcohol, and over 30 percent can be considered chronic alcohol abusers. An additional forty percent of students display at least one symptom of an alcohol disorder, putting them at risk of becoming dependent in the future. The risk for males is twice as high as for females, and students at colleges with a culture of binge drinking are at the greatest risk.

Do You Have a Drinking Problem?

If you answer yes to one or more of these questions, you may have a drinking problem or be at risk of developing one:

  • Do you ever choose drinking over doing schoolwork?
  • Do you purchase alcohol instead of other things that you need?
  • Do you have issues with self-esteem and fitting in with the mainstream crowd?
  • Do you brag about how much you drink?
  • Do you crave alcohol every day?
  • Do you ever drink alone?
  • Do you wish that you could stop drinking so much?
  • Do you come from a family with a history of substance abuse?

Getting Help

Despite the pervasiveness of alcohol dependence and abuse among college students, very few get the help that they need. Even though most colleges offer alcoholism education and prevention programs, fewer than 10 percent of students with an alcohol disorder actively seek treatment. There are a number of reasons for this. First, money is often an obstacle. College students are strapped for cash, and the prospect of asking mom and dad to write a check for rehab is far from appealing.

Shame is another factor, since there’s a negative stigma associated with admitting you have a problem you can’t cope with on your own. Many alcohol-dependent students get the impression that everyone drinks as much as they do and that they can manage their problem without outside assistance. Unfortunately, this attitude can severely compound the problem, as many students turn to other drugs like marijuana and cocaine to cope with their alcohol cravings.

If you or someone you know has a problem with drinking, seek help immediately. Most campuses offer students a wealth of resources for dealing with alcohol disorders. Make use of them.

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