Outcomes of Alcohol Abuse among college students and treatment approaches

Outcomes of alcohol abuse.

Alcohol abuse in students is associated with various adverse individual and community outcomes. For instance, citing studies conducted in 1993 and 1997 by Harvard School of Public Health College, Knight et al. (2002) indicate that alcohol abuse has been significantly linked to health risks (such as drunk driving and unprotected sex) and problem behaviors such as property damage (p. 263). In the study by Murphy et al. (2006), alcohol abuse was associated with a lower overall general satisfaction among men and women (p. 115). For the women, alcohol abuse was linked to lower quality of life scores, which was a reflection of negative evaluations and lower positive behavior levels that have also been reported in the study by LaBrie and colleagues (2010).

Another negative outcome of alcohol abuse among college students has been noted with respect to promoting disordered eating behaviors. For instance, Kelly-Weeder (2009) for instance noted that binge eating behaviors were noted to co-occur with bidge drinking in 34.5 percent of the women sampled and 39 percent of the male sampled (p. 35). However, the study did not find significant association between binge drinking and weight loss behaviors (such as skipping meals, fasting , and taking dietary pills) common in college students. Such a finding was in contrary to previous findings on the subject reported by studies such as Nelson, Lust, Story & Ehlinger (2009), which found out that binge drinking was significantly related to unhealthy weight loss behaviors among college students.

Alcohol abuse by college students is also associated with other high risk behaviors such as drug use, gambling and unprotected sexual activities. For instance, Martens et al. (2009) for instance found out that alcohol abuse was significantly correlated to the frequency of students engaging in gambling activities and the peak of gambling loss for such students. Such findings on positive association of gambling with alcohol abuse were reinforced by a study by Pedrelli et al. (2010), which also noted a positive link between alcohol abuse and compulsive street drugs use, compulsive sexual activities and compulsive use of prescription drugs. A study by O’Grady, Arria, Fitzelle and Wish (2008) also noted that heavy drinkers were more likely to have abused various drugs (e.g. Tobacco, marijuana, Analgesics, Hallucinogens, Ecstasy and Amphetamines) compared to light drinkers or moderate drinkers (p. 454). The studies on outcomes of alcohol abuse among college students indicate alcohol abuse to have significant individual and community outcomes in areas such as economic well-being, health and quality of life.

Treatment approaches and challenges.

Treatment of alcohol abuse focus on counseling sessions targeted at peer groups and motivational groups such as alcoholics anonymous. A study by McKellar, Stewart and Humphreys for instance found out involvement in alcoholics anonymous during the first year after treatment was associated with lower alcohol-related problems during the follow-up conducted during the second year. LaBrie and colleagues (2008) also demonstrated that an intervention based on motivational interviewing sessions with groups of college women were effective in reducing the alcohol abuse and alcohol-related consequences for the intervention group compared to the control group over a 10-week follow-up.

Effectiveness of treatment approaches is however moderated by other factors. Core among these factors are family support, individual characteristics such as readiness to quit alcohol consumption and the financial cost associated with treatment services (Wu et al., 2007). For instance in a study evaluating the effect of family history of alcohol abuse on effectiveness of a motivational interview sessions, LaBrie, Feres, Kenney and Lac (2009) found out that the family history moderated the efficacy of the intervention. Women who received the intervention and were from a family background with a history of alcohol abuse, were noted to have reduced their drinking levels over a five-week period more than those whose family did not have a history of alcohol abuse.

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