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How to Know if You Should Consider a Sober Semester

By Lexi Hill, March 02, 2018


College is a fun four (sometimes more) years. It’s an opportunity to take classes you don’t know anything about, find out what you’re really good at and meet new people. Sometimes, though, those four-ish years can become overwhelming- especially trying to balance a full course load and evolving social life.

However, in an atmosphere that encourages going out, it’s hard to say no sometimes. Who wants to pass on a night out with friends, even if it means a night of really heavy drinking that you might not even be up for? Hannah, a University of Michigan sophomore, noticed this drinking culture over the past year and decided to change her habits. “It's easy to get caught up in campus culture, and a lot of the time, drinking isn't even really something you want or intend to do. It just happens on weekends because you go with the current,” she says. Realistically, going out can be a huge part of college, but those nights can start to add up and affect much more than just your caloric intake for the night.

According to Dr. Roy Stefanik, a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Psychiatry at Georgetown University School of Medicine, overdrinking consistently “can damage the tissue lining to your stomach and cause liver damage.” Long term drinking causes more than just physical damage, though. “Emotionally, alcohol can significantly worsen depression or bipolar disorder. If you are prone to mood swings or impulsivity, it can make it much worse, as well as contribute to poor judgement and irritability,” says Dr. Stefanik. Mental and physical health aside, constantly drinking too much can also cause problems in your relationships and overall productivity, too.

If you have found yourself over drinking as part of your going out routine, it might be time to consider minimizing your consumption or seeking additional help. Here are signs that your drinking may require attention.

1. Apologizing to friends after a night out

Dr. Stefanik notes aggressive or uncharacteristic behavior while drinking as a possible indicator one is drinking too much or too consistently. So, if you often find yourself apologizing to your friends, parents or siblings after a night out that may be a sign your drinking has become unmanageable.

2. Using alcohol as an eye opener

Dr. Ellen J. Mangin, an internal medicine specialist at Abington Hospital in Philadelphia, PA, notes that using alcohol as an eye opener can be a warning sign of...



Written by Lexi Hill, Published on, March 02, 2018]




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