The media can portray that university is all about alcohol and drug use. However:
86% of students said that they do not use drugs
32% said that they drink alcohol less than once a week
But how do you recognise if your alcohol use is becoming problematic?
Here are some things to look out for:
• Your alcohol consumption causes loss of memory
• You are dishonest about your drinking levels to others
• You have trouble concentrating
• Your sleep after drinking is deteriorating
• You drink faster than other people
• You regularly drink more than your friends
• You find you need alcohol to cope with stress
• Your relationships with friends and family are suffering
• You get drunk when you don't mean to
• You miss study or work due to drinking or hangovers
• You have an increased tolerance to alcohol (you have to drink more to get the desired effect)
• You struggle to drink less
• You experience a feeling of guilt or remorse after drinking
• You find you are preoccupied with alcohol or are planning your day around alcohol
• You experience withdrawal symptoms when you haven't been drinking, e.g., swearing, nausea and tremors
• You or someone else has been injured as a result of your drinking
• A relative, friend, doctor or other health worker has been concerned about your drinking and/or suggested that you cut down
If you answered yes to the above, consider making changes to your drinking levels. Even small changes can make a difference (*if you are drinking daily or experiencing withdrawals please seek medical advice before reducing):
• Choose lower unit drinks
• Two consecutive days drink-free a week – but don’t drink more on others day
• Start the evening slower. Swap every second drink for a non-alcoholic option.
• If you do have a heavy drinking session – avoid alcohol for 48 hours so your body has time to recover
• Find advice to reduce your drinking via Drinkaware here
• Find out the many ways that you can access support, advice or treatment via Drinkaware here.
• Visit the FRANK website
• Visit the NHS Alcohol Support webpage here
• Find out what support options are available through your university and students' union
Figures mentioned in the first paragraph come from SOS-UK’s 2021-22 Students, Alcohol and Drugs survey.