Alcohol Use and Abuse

Students give many different reasons why they may drink. Some students say they drink because of peer pressure and to be part of a crowd. Others use alcohol to avoid uncomfortable feelings, like anxiety or sadness. Anyone who drinks runs the risk of developing an alcohol problem. A serious problem can develop quickly, especially among college students.

Alcohol Myths and Facts

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

When you are feeling pressure to drink...

Huntsville resources to help you stop drinking

Alcohol Myths and Facts

Myth: The effects of alcohol use are only temporary.

Fact - Immediate physical effects from alcohol include: loss of muscle control, impaired reflexes, vomiting, and unconsciousness. Long term use can cause depression, cancer, brain damage, cirrhosis of the liver, and weight gain. Excessive drinking can also cause serious accidents, injuries, and death.

Myth: You can sober up by drinking coffee or taking a cold shower.

Fact - There is no way to sober up except through time. It takes your body about two hours to process and get rid of 1 serving of alcohol. A serving is equal to one 12 oz. of beer, one 5 oz. glass of wine or one 1.5 oz. shot of 80 proof hard liquor.

Myth: All college students binge drink.

Fact - Most college students do not drink to excess and many do not drink at all. Binge drinking is drinking more than 4 (if you are female) or 5 (if you are male) servings in a sitting. Research shows that college students who binge drink are 16 times more likely to miss class, have unprotected sex, damage property, and get injured than are non-binge drinkers.

Myth: Using alcohol cannot affect your chances of getting a degree.

Fact - Research shows that students who drink typically have lower grades. Also, if you are caught possessing alcohol on campus you may be suspended.

How do I know if I have a drinking problem?

Below is a set of questions designed to help you find out if your alcohol use may be a problem:

  • Do you drink to escape your problems?
  • Are you in financial difficulty as a result of your drinking?
  • Do you drink alone?
  • Do you keep alcohol hidden for a quick pick-me-up?
  • Is your drinking jeopardizing your academic performance?
  • Have you ever injured yourself while under the influence of alcohol?
  • Is your alcohol affecting your interpersonal relationships?
  • Have you ever felt guilty about your drinking?
  • Does anyone in your family have a history of drug or alcohol abuse?
  • Do you sometimes regret things you said or did while you were drunk?
  • Do you eat very little or irregularly when you are drinking?
  • Have you ever tried to cut down on your drinking?
  • Have you ever missed class or work due to drinking?
  • Have you ever injured someone else while under the influence of alcohol?
  • Do you usually drink to get drunk?
  • Have you ever driven under the influence of alcohol?
  • Has someone close to you spoken to you about your drinking behavior?
  • Do you drink at most social occasions you attend?
  • Do you sometimes think that you need to drink to have a good time?
  • Do a few drinks allow you to be more the person you would like to be?
  • Do you have a few extra drinks when others won’t notice?
  • Do you do things when you drink that you wouldn’t do if you were sober?
  • Have you drunk five or more drinks in a row?
  • Do you sometimes forget things that happen while you were drinking?
  • Do you have to drink more alcohol than you used to drink to feel the same effects?
  • When you are using alcohol, is it difficult to stop after two or three drinks?
  • Do you gulp drinks to feel the effects more quickly?
  • Are you uncomfortable at occasions when alcohol is not available?
  • Do you become angry or depressed while drinking?
  • Do you use alcohol to relieve stress or sleeplessness?

If you answered "yes" to one or more of these questions, or if you felt yourself getting defensive while answering these questions, you may have a drinking problem and you should take a more detailed look at your drinking behavior. If you answered "yes" to several of these questions, you should seek services ASAP to help you deal with your drinking problem.

When You're Feeling Pressure to Drink

In this society, we encounter a lot of social pressure to drink. At times you will find yourself in situations where people are drinking in front of you and you are feeling tempted to join them. At these times you must “Dare to be different.” Here are some things you can do to help you through these situations:

A. Get out of the situation:

  • Drive home or call a taxi.
  • Call someone to pick you up.
  • Ask someone to take you home.

B. Let people know you don’t drink and ask for support:

  • “Thanks, but I never touch the stuff - I’m allergic to it.”
  • “No thanks, I don’t drink anymore - I don’t like how it makes me feel.”
  • Tell a friend privately that you’re trying to keep from drinking; ask him or her to stick with you to help you resist the temptation.

C. Distract yourself from looking at or thinking about the alcoholic drinks:

  • Keep a glass of something in your hand - soft drink, water, juice, etc.
  • Keep busy - get involved in the talk, move around, dance, play pool.
  • Go to the restroom or somewhere quiet and take a few minutes to go through the relaxation exercise until you feel relaxed and calm.

D. Tell yourself things that will help you not to drink:

  • Count up all the good things you have because of your sobriety – your self-respect, the respect of your family and friends, your family itself, your job, etc., tell yourself, “I can have these, or I can drink.”
  • Remind yourself that it’s easier to stay sober than to have to try to get sober again.
  • Remember that drinking puts you at a disadvantage in dealing with others.

Huntsville Resources To Help You Stop Drinking

SHSU Counseling Center


SHSU Health Center


Psychological Services Center


Huntsville AA Group


Sam Houston Counseling Center

1608 Avenue J., Box 209  | Huntsville, TX 77341-2059  | Phone: 936.294.1720 | Fax: 936.294.2639