It is an exciting day when you see your daughter go off to college with accolades of successful high school completion behind her and the rest of the world in front. For even the most gifted student, though, college brings many changes. Academics are harder and require more self-discipline, and most college freshmen are living away from home for the first time. Your daughter no longer has you to monitor her curfew or make sure she gets her homework done. She is now responsible for herself in many ways.
College life is full of exploration and discovery. Students decide for themselves how they want to live, what foods they will eat, and who they will socialize with. Drinking is usually part of the college environment to some extent.
Signs of Binge-Drinking in College Students
It is much harder to monitor your daughter’s activities while she is at college. You have to trust that you taught her well and she is capable of making smart decisions in this new environment. Peer pressure is still a big part of life for college students, though, and binge-drinking is a common trend on many college campuses.
Binge-drinking can be a huge health risk, so keeping an eye out for these signs could tell you when it is time to intervene:
- Skipping classes
- Becoming distant or aloof
- Frequent mood swings
- Constantly asking for money for unexplained expenses
- Extreme weight loss or other extreme physical changes
These are signs that drinking may be more than just a fun social activity for your daughter. College is a place to experiment with different behaviors and lifestyles, but binge-drinking is one that can have lasting consequences. If your daughter is showing signs that her drinking may be interfering with her academic work, changing her personality, or affecting her physical health, she may need your help.
What to Do About Drinking Problems in College Students
Your daughter could develop an addiction to alcohol in a relatively short time. Even weekly drinking is dangerous when it involves binge-drinking. If an addiction develops, she will need your help to recognize the problem and seek treatment.
Here are some tips for handling your daughter’s binge drinking problem:
- Encourage communication – You raised a teenager, so you know how important communication can be. If your daughter is developing a drinking problem at college, you will see the signs more easily if you maintain open lines of communication. Make it easy for your daughter to talk to you about her college life. Try to be receptive and non-judgmental about the decisions she is making. Instead of instructing her, try asking her what she plans to do about any difficult situation she encounters.
- Suggest campus counseling - With open lines of communication, you can talk with your daughter about binge-drinking and how it might be affecting her. Early intervention by a professional counselor can be key in ending the addiction. Most college campuses are staffed with trained counselors for students who get into trouble with drugs and alcohol. The counseling is accessible to college students and is usually convenient and inexpensive.
- Find other activities to enjoy – It’s easy to go along with the crowd when you don’t have anything else to do. It may seem like all college students are drinking, but that is not true. College campuses are full of activities, most of which do not include alcohol. Help your daughter explore her interests and join in activities she may enjoy. She could find some like-minded friends and end up spending her time engaged in healthy active, creative, or service-oriented activities.
If none of these tactics work, and your daughter continues binge-drinking at college, you may need to seek professional help outside of the campus setting. Sometimes a serious addiction requires a physical separation from the people and places associated with drinking. There are plenty of inpatient rehab centers that are experienced in treating alcohol addictions that could help her overcome her addiction to alcohol. Brookhaven Retreat is a women only treatment center specializing in mental health issues and addiction rehabilitation. Contact Brookhaven today for more information.