Mental Health Tips of the Month

Alcohol and Stress Do Not Mix

April 2014

Finals are coming around soon and so stress can be high around this time of the semester. It is important to incorporate healthy ways to manage this stress; unfortunately, many college students may use drinking alcohol or consuming illegal or non-prescribed substances to cope. The stress of finals and preparing for summer is difficult but consuming alcohol at a high rate or underage drinking can have some unanticipated and unwanted effects. Before drinking alcohol to cope with stress, consider the following:

  • Death: 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes (Hingson et al., 2009)
  • Injury: 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009)
  • Academic Problems: About 25 percent of college students report academic consequences of their drinking including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers, and receiving lower grades overall (Wechsler et al., 2002)
  • Drunk Driving: 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol (Hingson et al., 2009)
  • Police Involvement: About 5 percent of 4-year college students are involved with the police or campus security as a result of their drinking (Wechsler et al., 2002), and 110,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are arrested for an alcohol-related violation (Hingson et al., 2002)

The good news for Coogs? 80% of UH students report making academics a priority over alcohol; 91% of these students also boast a GPA of 3.0 or above…….go COOGS!! Remember if you are 21 years or older and desire to consume alcohol, it is best not to use in response to stress or over consume; always use in moderation. If you would like to learn other ways to cope with stress or finals, join CAPS for any or all of the following:

  • Got Stress? How to Relax Before Finals
    Wednesday, April 23, 2014 at 12 noon in 210D Student Services Center 1
  • Keep Calm and Make it Through Finals
    Monday, April 28, 2014 at 7pm in Cougar Village I Lobby for
  • 10 Ways to Cope with Stress and Anxiety
    Wednesday, April 30, 2014 at 12 noon in 210D Student Services Center 1

If you would like to learn more about alcohol use/abuse or stress management, please call CAPS to schedule an initial consultation appointment to discuss your concerns with a therapist on staff. If you are experiencing a crisis situation and need to speak with someone immediately, please contact CAPS during business hours, and we will be happy to assist you. After business hours or when CAPS is closed for the winter break, you may contact: (1) MHMRA at (713) 970-7000, (2) Crisis Intervention of Houston at (713) HOTLINE (468-5463), or (3) the University of Houston Department of Public Safety at (713) 743-3333 and ask to speak to the clinician on-call.

Hingson RW, Zha W, Weitzman ER. Magnitude of and trends in alcohol-related mortality and morbidity among U.S. college students ages 18-24, 1998-2005. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, July: 12-20, 2009.

Wechsler H, Lee JE, Kuo M, Seibring M, Nelson TF, Lee HP. Trends in college binge drinking during a period of increased prevention efforts: Findings from four Harvard School of Public Health study surveys, 1993-2001. Journal of American College Health 50(5):203-217, 2002.