Why do college students binge drink?

Many college students have the stigma they drink alcohol in excess. According to a National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 58% of college students between the ages of 18 – 22 drank alcohol. Why do college students binge drink? We’ll look into this issue.

What Is Binge Drinking?

Binge drinking, or excessive drinking, means a person drinks at least five drinks in a few hours. For a man, this usually means consuming five or more drinks, and a woman means consuming four or more drinks over about two hours. Nearly two out of every five college students reported binge drinking at least once two weeks before the study. Binge drinking means one’s blood alcohol concentration reaches or exceeds 0.08 grams per 100 grams of blood.

Beer vs. Liquor

Many college students consume large amounts of hard liquor instead of beer. When drinking to socialize, students usually sip wine or beer. When drinking to get drunk, hard liquor gets the effects faster. Liquor has a higher alcohol percentage by volume than beer. It takes fewer drinks to feel it work. Getting drunk is fast and easy. For some college students, blacking out is the end game. This is not safe for college students, but for many, binge drinking is about getting drunk and passing out.


College is a new world for most students. It’s the first taste of pure freedom for many kids. They get to jump into new challenges and new responsibilities. It’s exciting and scary at the same time. For some, the changes are overwhelming. They’re used to rules. A college is a place where you get to do what you want without answering to a parent. The student must keep good grades and their social life all on their own. No one is looking over their shoulder. This taste of freedom leads some students to use and abuse that freedom. They go wild without all of the restrictions.

Stress Relief

College students often feel stressed over their new world, filled with keeping up their grades and balance in their life. This stress can lead them towards the bottle. Drinking alcohol helps some students get rid of stress and anxiety. Of course, this stress returns the next day after the alcohol is out of their system. This can be bad as it becomes a cycle of stress, drinking, and sleep. 


Alcohol is relaxing. Some students binge drink because it’s an escape in this strange new world. They’re trying to talk to all sorts of new people and figure out where they fit. Alcohol helps these students relax their nerves. They have false confidence to be open enough socially to talk to different new people trying to make friends.

Social Belonging

Fraternities and sororities often get the stigma of binge drinking at their parties and gatherings. Many students want to fit in with this stereotype, so they play the game. They feel as if they fit in when they drink a lot. Without alcohol, they might not feel they fit in this crowd. The crowd that seems to be having the most fun is where the students want to be. The problem is that appearances can be deceiving. Peer pressure and alcohol go together.


Some people eat when they’re bored. Other people watch television. Some people decide that having a few drinks will help entertain them. Sitting bored in a dorm room leads some students to hang out with other bored students drinking for entertainment. This is fun times but can turn into an issue. Alcohol only alleviates boredom for a little bit of time. 

Relationship Trauma

Getting your heart broken often sends people into a pint of ice cream or a keg of beer. Binge drinking mends open wounds for a few hours. Alcohol brings on the emotions, so the trauma a student feels from getting their heart broken is let out through tears and anger. Drinking away a student’s feelings won’t last more than a night, but they feel whole again for those few hours.

Consequences Of Alcohol Abuse in College

Binge drinking might be fun for some students, but it can end the lives of other students. Excessive drinking can lead to injuries, assaults, rape, emotional issues, depression, health issues, and alcohol dependence. Some college students start to rely on alcohol to function each day. This can lead to problems with alcoholism in the future. If you’re worried about a loved one’s binge drinking in college, reach out to help.

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