Please watch this 81 minute film (Cactus 3) especially if you think the drinking age should be lowered to 18!
Click on the photo below to see the potential after-effects of binge drinking.
with Your Kid about Alcohol
That's the name given to behaviors such as skipping meals or exercising heavily to offset calories from a heavy night of drinking, or to pump up alcohol's buzz.
Though drunkorexia has been around for a while, it wasn't clear how prevalent it was. But a recent study shows how common it's become among college kids who binge-drink at least once a month: eight out of 10 say they do it.
Earlier research showed that 40 percent of college students drink heavily four or more drinks per bout for women and five or more for men at least once a month, says the new report's lead author, Dipali Rinker, a research assistant professor in the department of psychology at the University of Houston.
It's those heavy drinkers that Dipali focused on.
A survey of 1,184 of them found that during the previous three months, 80 percent had engaged in at least one of the following drunkorexic behaviors:
Cutting back on food and increasing exercise to either speed or enhance the high from drinking
Engaging in bulimic-type behaviors: vomiting after eating, taking laxatives or using diuretics
Boosting exercise or eating less to offset calories from drinking: this could include drinking low-calorie beers or cocktails, skipping a meal or avoiding food all day, or exercising intensely
One of the big surprises for Dipali was that drunkorexic practices were just as common among men as they were in women.
"We really expected women would be engaging in these behaviors more than men," she told NBC News.
She isn't sure what's going on, but suspects there have been some major cultural shifts resulting in men being more worried about their appearance these days.
"In the eating disorders field, there's a growing sense, and supporting evidence, that men are now just as weight- and shape-conscious as women are, especially in this age of social media," Dipali said.
Another surprise: frat brothers and sorority sisters weren't any more likely than others to engage in drunkorexic behaviors.
Dr. Karen Miotto wasn't at all surprised by the new findings.
"I think we have a very appearance-conscious group of young people and many do struggle with restrictive eating disorders," said Miotto, a clinical professor of psychiatry at the University of California, Los Angeles, and director of the addiction medicine service at UCLA's Semel Institute. "It used to be about the ideal female body, but now the male body is idealized, too, with men striving for 6-pack abs and bulging biceps, triceps and quadriceps."
Beyond that, Miotto said, "it's widely known that you absorb alcohol more quickly if there's no food [in your stomach] so you can reach peak intoxication faster."
College students are drawn to alcohol for a number of reasons, she added.
"It's a social lubricant," she said. "It provides the disinhibition, the freedom to make small talk and to be more sexual."
One of the big concerns with drunkorexia is that people can become vitamin-deficient, especially in thiamine, Miotto said. And that can lead to nerve and brain damage.
Concerned parents need to understand that alcohol problems in college are largely tied to the perception that heavy drinking is the norm, according to Dipali.
"The 'Animal House' style of drinking is something we see only in college," she said. "There is a perception that everyone is doing it so it's OK to do it."
One way to combat the problem is with education, Dipali said. That means telling students how much everyone else is drinking and comparing it to their own personal consumption.
"They always think that everyone else
is drinking more than they are," she said. "And while 40
percent are engaging in heavy drinking, there are 60 percent
who are not. In fact, there are 20 percent who are
with your kids about binge drinking
Q. How much of a problem is binge drinking on college campuses?
A. According to the 2005 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 45 percent of 18-24-year-olds who attended college said they consumed five or more drinks on at least one occasion in the past month. Studies consistently indicate that about 80 percent of college students drink alcohol and about 40 percent engage in binge drinking.
Q: Why should parents, the community and other stakeholders be concerned about this?
A. This level of heavy drinking among college students is associated with a host of other problems and people other than the drinkers themselves are being affected by this behavior. Our research indicates that an estimated 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes. In traffic deaths, about half are people other than the drivers. They are passengers and people from other vehicles. In addition to death, in 2001 there were nearly 600,000 college students unintentionally injured while under influence of alcohol; approximately 700,000 students are assaulted by other students who have been drinking and some 100,000 students are victims of alcohol-related date rape. Keep in mind that these figures dont include 18 to 24-year-olds who are not in college.
Q: Is there a particular period of time when college students are most vulnerable to engaging in heavy drinking?
A. A students freshmen year, especially the first six to 12 weeks of school, is a time of greatest concern. For many students, its their first time not being under direct parental supervision. Theyre entering an environment where there is a lot more drinking going on.
Q. Are there particular risks associated with drinking at an early age?
A. We know that the earlier people start to drink, the greater the likelihood that they will develop alcohol dependence more rapidly. So if we look at people who ever in their lifetime developed alcohol dependence, 47 percent were diagnosable by the time they were 21. Those who started drinking at a young age were more likely to have chronic dependence and less likely to seek help for their problem. Each year that people delay starting to drink, they lower their chances of developing alcohol dependence; of becoming unintentionally injured under the influence; of being involved in a physical fight due to drinking and of being in an alcohol-related motor vehicle crash.
Q. What can parents do to help their children make the right decisions once they get to college?
A. What parents can do begins when theyre children are in grade school and middle school. Parents can make a difference by communicating with their children, by teaching them resistance skills. Parents have a very important role to play, not just by providing one-on-one communication, but also by working collectively within their communities to address this issue.
Q. How important is the role of communities in reducing underage drinking and college drinking?
A. Colleges have a responsibility to address this problem, but they cant do it alone because this is bigger than what happens in college. Prevention needs to begin long before they get into college.
Q. What are some steps community coalitions can take to curb underage drinking and college drinking?
A. There is a lot of evidence that comprehensive community interventions can help reduce drinking among college-aged persons, including students. One level is at the individual level, where one offers screening and counseling, particularly at trauma centers. Another level is environmental, where community coalitions can enforce the legal drinking age and a variety of other laws to reduce impaired driving. Comprehensive community interventions can intervene at all levels. Right now, there is tremendous concern among people in the community about college drinking so this is a perfect opportunity for community coalitions to bring another group of concerned citizens into their prevention effortsthat means involving the colleges and universities themselves, including faculty, college students and alumni, and parents.
Q. What are some resources that NIAAA has related to underage drinking and college drinking?
A. We have a Back to College Fact Sheet that can be useful for parents. Several other resources are available at www.collegedrinkingprevention.gov.
Source: Dr. Ralph Hingson is the
Director of Epidemiology and Prevention Research at the
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
This article is part of CADCA's second editorial series
featuring national experts from the NIAAA. www.notmykid.org/Lists/Items/DispForm.aspx?ID=3032
Need to Know About College Binge Drinking
The first piece of good news is that your voice matters. Your child might not tell you, but when researchers have asked them about your influence, they find that parent attitudes and the rules you put in place during their development are major influences on their risk-taking behavior. Preparing and protecting your child from engaging in excessive drinking during college starts way before drop-off day. Even in middle school, and throughout high school, sending a clear message of your disapproval for underage drinking is critical and equally important in college.
To some parents, it might be tempting to think that you can teach your child how to drink responsibly by allowing them to drink before going to college. Many parents also think that not allowing their children to drink turns alcohol into forbidden fruit, increasing the childs interest in drinking. Instead, research has shown that having parents who communicate clear expectations against using alcohol during high school is associated with a lower chance of drinking excessively during college.
From our own study of more than 1,000 college students ages 17 to 19, we found that those who didnt drink during high school drank an average of 1.8 drinks per occasion, compared with 5 drinks among those who did drink during high school 2.
What is Binge Drinking?
The second piece of good news is that the prevalence of binge drinking is trending downward among college students. Binge drinking is defined as consuming four or more drinks for females or five or more drinks for males within a few hours (where drink means 5 oz. of wine = 12 oz. of beer = 1.5 oz. of hard alcohol).
During the past decade, the percentage of students who report a binge level of drinking at least once during the past two weeks decreased from 40 percent to 32 percent 3. This amount of alcohol is associated with numerous adverse health and safety consequences. Keep in mind, though, that even at a legal drinking age, the health guidelines suggest that on the days that they do drink, females should limit their consumption to one drink and males should limit their consumption to two drinks, as alcohol use has been linked to a weakened immune system and an increased risk for injuries, high blood pressure, stroke, and certain types of cancer, such as oral, throat, liver and breast cancers 4.
Why Do Kids Binge Drink?
Many parents ask, Why do students continue to drink to excess when they clearly know it is risky? There is no simple answer to that question, but here are a few things to think about. First, we know that adolescent and young adult brains are primed for risk-taking and exploratory behavior some more than others. But in general, college students are likely to focus on immediate rewards and an experience that might make a good story later than think about the possible consequences of their behavior. Unfortunately, the consequences of this sort of behavior can change a life trajectory very quickly.
A second driving force behind excessive drinking behavior is the perception that it is normative and accepted the idea that everyone is doing it when in fact its a minority of students. Many schools try to send messages about the relative rarity of very heavy consumption of alcohol to correct these misperceptions by students.
Third, there are many individual-level factors that heighten ones risk for binge drinking, like being impulsive, or having a tendency to break rules. Lastly, the availability of alcohol is key. For example, where there is widespread access and low prices, there will be a greater likelihood that students will engage in heavy drinking as compared with places where access is more limited.
A concerning trend is high-intensity drinking, an even heavier pattern of alcohol use defined as drinking twice the binge threshold (drinking eight or more drinks for females or 10 or more drinks for males within a few hours). Approximately one in 10 college students engaged in high-intensity drinking during the past two weeks, and it is more common among male students (17 percent) than female students (6 percent) 3. While high-intensity drinking is decreasing among males, it has remained stable among females.
How Do I Talk About Binge Drinking with My Son or Daughter?
When your child leaves for college, maintaining open, regular communication can help you understand what kinds of drinking opportunities exist on campus and in the surrounding community. Setting a regular time to talk, such as every Sunday afternoon, can be helpful. The communication should send a clear message that you expect them not to drink. However, not every conversation needs to be explicitly about alcohol. Check in with them about their friends, roommates and classes to get a sense of whats going on in their lives. This is especially important during the first few weeks of college, as this is the biggest time of transition, but conversations should continue throughout their college career.
In addition to being a sounding board for them, knowing whats going on in their life can help with identifying warning signs of an alcohol problem. Asking about how often they are going to class, whether or not their sleep schedule is disrupted, and/or whether or not they have been able to concentrate well are possible conversation starters because all of these issues can be related to drinking too much or using other drugs. If you suspect that your child might have an alcohol problem, identify the resources available on campus. Although it varies by school, some colleges have clinicians on campus who can assess your child for an alcohol problem and refer, if needed, to treatment options. Suspecting that your child has an alcohol problem can be very upsetting, but its best to have this conversation in person while keeping a calm and supportive tone. The main point is that as a parent, you see how much personal and professional potential they have, and you know that underage and excessive drinking and drug use during college can be very distracting and get in the way of fulfilling their potential.
If you do discover that your son or
daughter is drinking underage against your wishes, learn how
to best confront him or her and how to productively work
binge-drinking on your birthday can lead to dangerous
The study followed 600 soon-to-be 21-year-olds who intended on celebrating their newfound legality by drinking. The researchers followed the subjects for a year and found that those who drank a lot on their birthday drank more heavily afterwards as well.
During the study's follow-up period, people who went all out on their birthdays drank 10 percent more than the typical participant on a night out. When compared to those who never drank before their birthday, the number rose to 17 percent.
In the U.S., if you have one glass of wine a night, you are in the top 30 percent of drinkers. Having two glasses every night puts you in the top 20 percent and 10 drinks per day, according to Stephen Cook's book "Paying The Tab," puts you in the top 10 percent.
So enjoy your birthday, but try not to
go overboard. It could have more consequences than that
dreaded hangover the next morning.
A Kid's Guide
to the Effects of Alcohol
Question: What Is Alcohol?
Answer: Alcohol is a liquid made from fermented grains, like barley or hops. Fruits, like grapes, may also be included. The process of fermentation introduces yeast to help convert and break down these ingredients. We also refer to drinks as alcoholic when they are made using this process. Alcoholic drinks include beer, wine, whiskey, liqueurs and many others. We can tell when a bottled drink contains alcohol because it will have a label indicating the percentage of alcohol.
Question: What Are Some Facts About Alcohol?
Answer: Did you know that it is illegal for people under the age of 21 to drink alcohol? Underage drinking is a big problem and can have fatal consequences if people choose to drink and drive or drink more than their body can process. When people start drinking at a young age, they may be more likely to have alcohol-related problems as they get older, including alcohol addiction or alcoholism. Alcohol is one of the leading causes of death among teens in the United States.
Question: How Does Alcohol Affect the Body?
Answer: Alcohol has immediate and long-term effects on our brains and bodies. It is a type of drug and impacts the nervous system. Soon after drinking, alcohol begins to impair the brain and most people tend to feel sleepy, foggy and disoriented. They cannot think properly and they have difficulty walking, talking and seeing.
Over a long period of time, alcohol can damage the liver, the nervous system, the reproductive system and the brain. It increases the risk of high blood pressure, depression and diabetes. Because alcohol contains a lot of carbohydrates, it also causes people to gain weight.
Question: Why Do People Drink?
Answer: Many kids and teens start drinking because they are curious about alcohol or because their friends pressure them to try it. Sometimes, they drink only because other people are drinking and they want to fit in. Many think that it makes them look older or cooler; this isnt true. Others might turn to alcohol or drugs because they experience depression or cannot cope with their emotions in an alternative way. Many people feel that alcohol is an escape. In reality, it can make problems even bigger.
Adults who drink socially do so to help them relax or because they enjoy the taste of the drink. Finally, many people simply drink because they need to; they may have an addiction and cannot bring themselves to stop.
Question: Why Shouldnt I Drink?
Answer: A good reason to avoid drinking is because it is illegal and there may be very serious legal consequences if you are under 21! Besides this, alcohol is bad for your health and your developing brain.
Drinking even a little can lead to an addiction, especially if there is a genetic history of alcoholism in the family. Quite often when people, especially kids, drink, they end up doing things that are extremely embarrassing or dangerous; they lose control of themselves and make poor decisions. Drinking a lot can cause people to vomit. In some cases, they might even need to be rushed to the hospital to have their stomachs pumped if they have alcohol poisoning. The morning after drinking can result in a hangover: a strong headache, nausea and extreme sensitivity to sound and light. Its a very unpleasant experience!
Question: What Should I Do if Someone Asks Me to Drink?
Answer: Saying no to peer pressure or a dare is difficult. Many kids use an excuse, so that they can turn down alcohol without looking uncool. Other kids may be straightforward and tell others that they do not want to drink. If they ask why, you could say that you dont like it, that you dont want to or that you avoid it for health reasons.
Remember that your true friends will respect your decision. For example, would you force someone to eat live bugs if you both know that it is bad for you? People who continue to pressure you are showing that they dont care about your health or about the dangerous consequences.
Question: What Should I Do if I Know Another Kid Who Drinks?
Answer: If you cannot safely get out of a negative situation involving alcohol, call an adult to help. You can also call the police department. Voice your opinion and talk to your friend about drinking to show them that it is not a wise decision. Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent or a guidance counselor and voice any concerns.
Question: Where Can I Learn More About Alcohol?
Answer: One way to learn about
alcohol is to discuss it with your parents or a teacher.
There are also plenty of online resources created for kids
to teach them about alcohol, addiction and related health
effects. Have a look at these resources to get
Chief Wants Drinking Age Lowered
Boulder, Colo., Police Chief Mark Beckner's viewpoint is one of several in a Lesley Stahl 60 Minutes report that examines the drinking law debate.
If the drinking age were lowered from 21 to 18, says Beckner, "The overall advantage is we're not trying to enforce a law thats unenforceable."
"The abuse of alcohol and the over-consumption of alcohol and DUI driving...are the areas weve got to focus our efforts. Not on chasing kids around trying to give them a ticket for having a cup of beer in their hand," Beckner tells Stahl.
John McCardell, former president of Middlebury College in Vermont, agrees and points to what he considers an even worse effect of the older drinking age. "This law has been an abysmal failure. It hasnt reduced or eliminated drinking. It has simply driven it underground, behind closed doors, into the most risky and least manageable of settings," says McCardell, who launched a national campaign to lower the drinking age.
A tragedy in Boulder underscores McCardell's point. At a fraternity near the campus of The University of Colorado at Boulder, 18-year-old Gordie Bailey died of alcohol poisoning during a fraternity initiation. His mother and stepfather feel the reason no one at the fraternity called authorities when their son passed out was fear of being caught breaking a law. "They had minors buying the alcohol, serving the alcohol to minors," says stepfather Michael Lanahan. "They had to make a decision about what they were going to do and unfortunately they made the wrong decision."
The drinking age was raised in the mid 1980s to help lower highway fatalities, but the Surgeon General estimates that 3,000 kids under 21 are dying of alcohol related deaths that do not involve driving.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has another view. "The inconvenient truth is that a drinking age at 18 would cause more funerals. Nine hundred families a year would have to bury a teenager," predicts Chuck Hurley, executive director of MADD. "When the United States reduced its drinking age in the seventies it was a public health disaster. Death rates in the states that reduced their drinking age jumped 10 to 40 percent," he tells Stahl. Hurley also says the 18-year-olds - some still in high school - would be buying for their younger schoolmates creating a trickle-down effect of more drinking at earlier ages.
lowering the age is a long shot, but still thinks that doing
so, with mandatory education, is the best solution. Why not
make high schools teach alcohol courses like driver's
education and let them dispense drinking licenses because
kids will drink either way, says McCardell. "We have lived
through prohibition. We know prohibition doesn't work. We
know that on our college campuses. We know that in our
households. We know that in our military," McCardell tells
Drinking Higher Where Alcohol Outlets Proliferate
The Los Angeles Times reported Dec. 29 that drinking rates were higher among 12- to 17-year-olds who lived within a half-mile of an alcohol outlet, and that minority neighborhoods tended to have a higher density of alcohol outlets than predominantly white communities.
How do alcohol outlets affect communities?
"Our study suggests that living in close proximity to alcohol outlets is a risk factor for youth," according to the researchers. "In California, retail licenses are not typically approved within 100 feet of a residence or within 600 feet of schools, public playgrounds and nonprofit youth facilities, but proximity by itself is not sufficient to deny a license ... More attention on the proximity rule is needed and environmental interventions need to curb opportunities for youth to get alcohol from commercial sources."
The research was
published online ahead of publication in the American
Journal of Public Health.
'Beerfest' Celebrates Binge Drinking
Jager Bomb - Coming to a Neighborhood Near You
Winter Break saw a new mix. Bars were selling small buckets of ice, a pint of liquor and a large energy drink like a 24 ounce Monster. The students mix it all together, drink it down, and dance all night.
Think about it!