Young in Recovery
Getting Sober While in College

I took my first sip of lukewarm beer at a house party when I was 16 years old. Still in high school (and still rather straight-laced), I said to myself, “This is disgusting, what am I doing,” and continued to put the majority of my mental effort into social interactions and schoolwork. I didn’t pick up another drink until college. I got into the school of my choice in Southern California, and I was absolutely ecstatic; I couldn’t wait to pursue my passion and do my family proud. Right from the get-go I was exposed to a whole new world, a world full of late night dorm parties, random hook-ups and themed fraternity shindigs. Before I knew it I was blowing off my schoolwork entirely and partying between five and six nights a week. By the time I hit 21-years-old I was admitted to my first residential inpatient treatment center with a nasty little case of alcoholism. Unfortunately, this story is all too common among college students.

At CuraSouth we understand that this time of life is rich with experimentation, heavy drinking and recreational drug use. While many students phase out of these unfavorable habits, some fall into a vicious cycle of substance abuse and dependence. If you or someone you love is enrolled in college and is struggling with an alcohol use disorder, CuraSouth is available to help. We generally recommended that anyone who has been abusing alcohol regularly enters into a detox program, seeing as the symptoms associated with alcohol withdrawal can be severe when left untreated. We provide evidence-based modalities including medication assisted treatment, behavioral therapy and holistic healing. To learn more about our alcohol detox program, contact us today.

Alcohol Abuse in College

The majority of college students are no strangers to heavy drinking. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, almost 53 percent of full-time college students (between the ages of 18 and 22) drank alcohol at least once within the past month; 33 percent reported binge drinking at least once in the past month. Binge drinking is defined by consuming more than five alcoholic beverages in one sitting for males or more than four alcoholic beverages in one sitting for females. While binge drinking is very common, many college-aged students admitted to drinking twice that amount in one sitting. This drinking pattern is known as high-intensity drinking and can lead to a host of serious consequences, including alcohol poisoning. The consequences of drinking, binge drinking and high intensity drinking in college can be severe.

Consequences of College Alcohol Abuse:

  • Assault – NIAAA reports that approximately 696,000 college students have been assaulted by another student who has been drinking heavily.
  • Sexual Assault – Unfortunately, sexual assault and date rape are somewhat common on college campuses throughout the U.S. and many of these sexual incidences are linked to alcohol. NIAAA reports that 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 experienced sexual assault or date rape while intoxicated or at the hands of another student who was intoxicated.
  • Academic Issues – NIAAA reports that one out of every four college students has reported an academic issue as a direct result of drinking alcohol. This could be showing up to class late, skipping class entirely, falling behind on schoolwork or being placed on academic probation. The report states that one out of every six college students who admitted to binge drinking at least three times per week performed poorly on at least one major exam.
  • Fatality – The same report states “about 1,519 college students ages 18 to 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.”

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Seeking Treatment

Seeking professional treatment sooner rather than later is a good idea, seeing as symptoms associated with alcohol abuse and dependence only worsen over time. To learn more about CuraSouth and our program of alcohol detox, contact us today.

alcoholism in college

Alcohol Use Disorder or Experimentation?

Because over 50 percent of college students consume an excessive amount of alcohol on a regular basis, you might be wondering if your drinking habits are normal or if you are at risk of developing a diagnosable alcohol use disorder.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I regularly prioritize drinking and social events where I know alcohol is going to be present over my academic pursuits?
  • Have I fallen behind on my schoolwork because I spend so much time drinking and partying?
  • Have I shown up to class late or skipped class entirely because I was nursing a hangover?
  • Has my social circle changed? Do I tend to spend time with people who drink as much as I do and condone my behavior?
  • Have I tried to cut back on the amount of alcohol I drink unsuccessfully?
  • Do I spend a good amount of time obtaining alcohol, drinking alcohol and recovering from its effects?
  • Am I defensive about my drinking habits?
  • Have I experienced a range of consequences as a direct result of my drinking?
  • Have my loved ones expressed concern?
  • Have I built a tolerance, meaning I need to drink more in order to feel the same effects?
  • Do I experience symptoms of withdrawal when I attempt to quit?

The symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be dangerous when left untreated. Attempting to detox on your own can lead to severe physical and psychological symptoms including severe stomach cramping, muscle and joint pain, nausea and vomiting, severe anxiety, panic attacks, depression, suicidal ideation and even grand mal seizures in severe cases. To learn more about our program of alcohol detox and addiction recovery, contact us today.

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Maintaining Sobriety in College

Maintaining sobriety in college can be tricky without help, guidance and support. At CuraSouth we understand that people in this specific age group (young adults between the ages of 18 and 22) are particularly susceptible to relapse because of their peer groups and environment. While medical detox is a recommended first step when it comes to the effective treatment of alcohol abuse and dependence, we also recommend transitioning into another level of clinical care once you have been physically stabilized. Transitioning into an IOP program, for example, is going to provide you with a built-in support group, with behavioral therapy and with the relapse prevention training needed to stay sober in the face of challenging circumstances. At CuraSouth we offer aftercare planning services for clients looking to make a seamless transition into the next appropriate level of care.

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Begin Our Simple Admissions Process Today

At CuraSouth we have developed an admissions process that is simple and uncomplicated, and can be completed over the phone in a matter of minutes. The moment you or your loved one makes the decision to contact us we begin by conducting an addiction assessment over the phone. The assessment helps our clinical team determine which detox methods are going to be the most beneficial to your unique case while ensuring that our program is well-suited to you and your individualized needs. Once the assessment is complete we offer a free, no obligation insurance benefit check and help arrange transportation to our detox center . At CuraSouth we understand that attempting to get sober during college can seem overwhelming at first. This is why we are available to help walk you through every single step of the early recovery process. Contact us today to learn more or to get started.

Travis Atchison

Reviewed for accuracy by: our Clinical Director:

Travis Atchison
LCSW, MCAP


Travis is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Addiction Professional. He has worked in various community-based settings, where he served families and couples, addressed issues related to homelessness and crisis and worked in a substance abuse setting.