Normalization of College Drinking

Strobing lights, the smell of beer and blasting music: this is everything you see and hear when you first step foot into any college party. The morning after, you hear about the guy who passed out on the couch, the girl who threw up all over the table, and the horrible hangovers your friends woke up to. Hearing about these experiences every weekend I talked with my friends led me to wonder—is alcohol really worth the buzz? Sure, people drink because it can be exciting and makes them looser and more open, but how much is too much? Here are some reasons why that extra shot may be more destructive to your health than you may think. 


  • Your liver is at risk for inflammation and disease. 

You may be susceptible to developing conditions such as cirrhosis, which is when your liver becomes inflamed and the cells are replaced with scar tissue, which becomes irreversible damage. 


  • There are plenty of negative effects to blackouts. 

While our culture may seem to encourage drinking in excess to the point where you can’t remember what happened the next morning, this is actually extremely harmful to your brain. Your memory is severely impaired—impacting the hippocampus—which is harmful to younger people as their brain is not fully developed. Cognitive abilities, such as judgement and decision-making, are almost non-existent in this stage. 


  • Alcohol has been linked to various sorts of cancers.

These include cancers of the breast, colon, liver, voice box and the stomach. Drinking excessively is harmful to the cells and tissues that line the inner workings of these parts in the body and can limit how these cells can repair damage to DNA by other things, such as tobacco.


  • There is a risk for stomach problems!

Alcohol wears down the lining of the stomach and increases production of stomach acid, which can result in stomach ulcers. It can also alter nutrient absorption and breakdown, which can lead to nutrient deficiencies. Thiamine is an example of this, and deficiency of this nutrient can lead to severe neurological issues. 


These are only a few negative effects that alcohol can have on our health and bodies. In addition to these, it is also a problem with our society, which encourages drinking to excess in order to have more of a “fun” time. Advertisements surround us in everyday media, prying us to try another drink or buy a better tasting beer. Our friends and peer groups initiate drinking at parties and group gatherings. 


So, in thinking about the lure of alcohol in our culture and the negative health impacts drinking has, maybe the next time you find yourself accepting a drink, it would be a good idea to think twice.