Alcohol Abuse in College: 5 Dangerous Effects

alcohol abuse in college

Many students who drink in college were introduced to alcohol long before they finished high school, making it even harder for colleges to combat this problem.

One report claims 60% of college students have had alcohol before college. Once in college, drinking continues for many reasons, including having unstructured time or feeling bored. A party is seen to pass time and have fun.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism report over half of the college students drank alcohol in the past month before the study. Also, two out of every five college students engage in binge drinking, a common form of alcohol abuse in college. This means they drink high volumes of alcohol in a very short amount of time.

Most of the time, a night out partying can be just that, a night out partying.

Occasionally, though, partying too much can lead to alcohol abuse in college, which can lead to many other physical and psychological dangers affecting college life.

Before recognizing the dangers, it’s important you understand what defines alcohol abuse.

Alcohol Abuse in College

Abusing alcohol in college can lead to negative consequences, especially if you drink often. Despite these negative consequences, you continue to drink alcohol. This is called alcohol abuse.

A student abusing alcohol is not yet physically dependent on alcohol but can notice symptoms of withdrawal from drinking too much. Symptoms of alcohol abuse include having an urge to drink or go out and party, lack of control over how much you drink, and drinking in risky situations.

Abusing alcohol in college can also mean putting off responsibilities in order to party, feeling like you must drink in order to be social, and having black outs where you don’t remember much of what you did while drunk.

This behavior will eventually lead to a negative impact on your grades.

It is symptoms like these that show how dangerous alcohol abuse can be for college students because they lead to the potential for even more danger, like the ones discussed below.


The longer you abuse alcohol in college, the more the alcohol will alter your brain. This makes it easier for you to become addicted to alcohol.

Alcohol makes it harder for your brain to resist the urges to drink alcohol. When addicted to alcohol, your brain not only encourages you to continue drinking, it tells you to make drinking a top priority, over any other responsibilities you have.

Your brain will want you to drink even if that means you are suffering physically, emotionally, or financially. When addicted, you are unable to stop drinking without severe withdrawal effects including muscle spasms, vomiting, nausea, and organ failure in some cases.

Physical and Sexual Assaults

Alcohol abuse affects your decision-making skills. For instance, you are more likely to get into a fight at a party while you are drunk than when you are sober. Because alcohol also changes the way you receive hits and punches, you may not be able to determine how badly you are injured until it is too late.

Reports show 696,000 students are physically assaulted by another student who has been abusing alcohol in college.

Sexual assaults are another unfortunate result of drinking too much. In one study, 25% of women and 20% of men in college report being sexually assaulted. Of these percentages, half of the attacks involved alcohol.

These numbers equal to around 97,000 students experiencing alcohol-related sexual assaults. Those studied claimed their use of alcohol lead to making riskier decisions that eventually led to their assault.

When you abuse alcohol in college, you are more likely to partake in illegal activities. Driving while drunk or intoxication is one example. Consequences can include receiving a DUI. Your first DUI can result in high fines, completion of education programs, counseling, loss of license and in some cases, jail time.

With each DUI, the consequences are worse. If you are underage while caught drinking, the consequences may be worse. Eventually your DUI could lead to an inability to complete college.

You may receive legal infractions from the college itself if you are found to be breaking campus rules, especially when drinking. You may even be expelled from the college.

Other legal problems include vandalism and public drunkenness, both involving the use of police on or off-campus.


There has never been a person to report alcohol abuse in college makes them function better. That’s because alcohol effects your motor controls, making you clumsier and more likely to have accidents. Pair this with poor decision-making skills and you have a scenario for disaster.

One report claims 500,000 college students injure themselves while drinking alcohol. Accidents can range from minor, like a busted lip or bruises, to severe, like becoming paralyzed or damaging your brain.

Injury or Death

Several reports state at least 1,400 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries and accidents. This number only includes accidental or non-intentional deaths.

Alcohol-related deaths occur among drunk drivers, alcohol poisoning, overdose by mixing drugs and alcohol, and self-harm.

Alcohol abuse in college can create a long-term dying process, damaging organs over time until the body can no longer function and shuts down. Strokes, heart attacks, liver disease, and cancer are some of the punishing ways alcohol kills you over time.


College students often feel they are invincible like nothing bad can happen to them. Despite knowing the dangers, knowing friends or family members who have died in alcohol-related incidents, and knowing alcohol abuse in college could derail their goals, students still drink.

The good news is that there is treatment for students at any stage of their alcohol use. And with colleges implementing recovery programs on campus, students can get the help they need while staying on track with completing their degree.

Recovery programs offer sober living residences, individual and group counseling, peer-to-peer mentoring, sober activity clubs, and academic help.

You can avoid the dangers of alcohol abuse in college.

Reach out for help today.