Alcohol Awareness Month is a national public health awareness campaign that is sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It takes place every April to increase awareness of the causes and treatments of one of our nation’s top public health difficulties, alcoholism, as well as reduce the stigma associated with alcohol addiction.
According to the 2019 National Survey Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), college students ages 18-22 reported a greater percentage of drinking alcohol, binge drinking, and heavy alcohol use compared with other persons their age. It is extremely important that college students are mindful of their drinking habits in order to keep themselves and others within the community safe, as well as maintain a healthy lifestyle (e.g., academics, relationships, etc.)
Many times, alcohol can be used as a form of “avoidance” of difficult thoughts/feelings, especially if one is heavily drinking over a significant amount of time. In the short term, alcohol consumption can appear to be helpful for managing difficult internal experiences.
For example, having a beer after a long week can be really relaxing; however, if you drank over five beers every day for a week or a month, you would likely find yourself disengaged from your life, making it difficult to attend classes, complete schoolwork, have a relationship, and even take care of yourself.
One way to practice safer and healthier drinking patterns is to engage in it mindfully. This means being aware of why and how much alcohol you drink, which can lead to a healthier relationship with alcohol and less consumption overall. To practice mindful drinking, pause before you plan on drinking, so that you can be intentional in your decisions around alcohol and savor your drink. Some questions to ask yourself may include:
What is the purpose of my drinking (e.g., avoid difficult feelings, celebrate graduating)?
How much and what would I like to drink (alcoholic vs non-alcoholic)? It can be helpful to ask yourself this question periodically while you are drinking. Also, be mindful of your food and water consumption while drinking.
Will drinking support me physically, mentally, and emotionally at this moment? If not, what else would be more beneficial for me (e.g., calling a friend, exercising)?
If I decide to drink, who can I ask to make sure I am safer while drinking and getting home?
If you or someone you know are experiencing difficulties with your drinking habits, please consider taking the free alcohol use screener available on the Florida Tech Student Counseling Center website. This alcohol use screening will consist of answering a brief questionnaire about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors regarding your alcohol use. Afterward, you will receive an explanation about your alcohol use, as well as additional information about what you can do to help yourself and how to get professional help. For additional information on alcohol use, please visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) websites.
If you find yourself in need of additional support, please reach out for help! The Student Counseling Center is here for you! Our center provides a variety of mental health and wellness services to assist you and other students in successfully reaching personal, academic, and career goals. Please take a moment to visit the Florida Tech Student Counseling Center website to learn more information about our services and support, as well as resources for psychological well-being. Be the healthiest Florida Tech Panther you can be!