Mental Health Tips of the Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April 2015

With Spring Break behind us and finals swiftly approaching, April can feel like the beginning of the end of the school year.  Along with the nicer weather and the approaching end of the year, comes the urge to celebrate and release the stress of approaching finals at parties on campus and at bars across Houston. However, did you know that April is also alcohol awareness month? Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has focused on increasing public awareness and understanding of alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. Some statistics and information to keep in mind when you’re out and about this month:
According to the National Institute of Health 1, every year:

  • approximately 1,825 college students (between ages 18 and 24) die from alcohol related unintentional injuries each year (this includes car crashes due to drunk driving);
  • an estimated 696,000 college students are assaulted by another student who has been drinking;
  • around 400,000 college students have unprotected sex, and more than 100,000 students report having been too intoxicated to know if they consented to having sex; and
  • about one-quarter of college students report having academic consequences because of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall.

These statistics mean that it’s important to be sure that you are enjoying your time with friends in a safe and responsible way.  Make sure you always have someone sober to drive or look out for those who are drinking and be aware of the signs of problematic drinking or alcohol poisoning. 

  • Binge Drinking:  The NIH suggests that many college alcohol problems are related to binge drinking. Binge Death drinking is a pattern of drinking that brings blood alcohol concentration levels to 0.08 g/dL. This typically occurs after 4 drinks for women and 5 drinks for men in about 2 hours (a drink is about one 12 ounce beer, one 5 ounce glass of wine, or one 1.5 ounce shot).  Over the long term, frequent binge drinking can damage the liver and other organs and can lead to alcohol dependence and addiction.
  • Alcohol Poisoning: occurs when high levels of alcohol suppresses the nervous and respiratory systems and the body struggles to rid itself of toxins produced from the breakdown of alcohol. Signs can include mental confusion, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing, hypothermia or low body temperature, bluish or pale skin.   Alcohol poisoning can lead to permanent brain damage or death, so a person showing any of these signs requires immediate medical attention.

So, get out and enjoy the spring weather before finals, but try to remain aware of the problems and dangers of alcohol and alcohol-related issues.

If you would like to learn more about alcohol abuse or if you have concerns about yourself or a friend, come to a Let’s Talk station (see schedule below) for a brief informal consultation with a CAPS clinician, or call CAPS at 713-743-5454 to schedule an initial appointment.

1. National Institute of Health, College Drinking, retrieved from http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/CollegeFactSheet/CollegeFactSheet.pdf (March 30, 2015).

Let’s Talk Locations and Hours
Students do not have to be a current resident of a residence hall to utilize the Let’s Talk consultation.

Monday Agnes Arnold Hall Breezeway
Cougar Village II
12:00 - 1:00pm
5:00 - 7:00pm
Tuesday Athletics Academics Offices (2108C)
CRWC Wellness Classroom
Cougar Village I
1:30 - 2:30pm
3:00 - 4:00pm
4:00 - 6:00pm
Wednesday Moody Towers Breezeway
AD Bruce Religion Center Conference Room
1:00 - 2:00pm
4:00 - 5:30pm
Thursday Center for Diversity and Inclusion, UC B12 1:00 - 2:30pm