TYLER HAYWARD / SENIOR PHOTO EDITOR

Katherine George

Silhouette Staff

The transition from living at home with parental supervision to the freedom of a university lifestyle can be drastic. University is an environment that provides numerous opportunities to party. Sometimes, university years can foster excessive drinking habits. Realistically, drinking in a social atmosphere is nothing out of the ordinary, especially for young adults. It is when the harmless pastime of drinking becomes a dependency on alcohol, eventually leading to addiction.

In 2005, the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) created a “Canadian Campus Survey” in order to better understand the social and environmental determinants of hazardous drinking habits. The survey involved 6,282 full-time students from 40 different universities across Canada. It showed that 31.6 per cent of undergraduates “reported at least one indicator of dependent drinking such as being unable to stop, failing to perform normal everyday activities or needing a drink first thing in the morning.”

Evidently, these are the most severe cases of alcoholism. However, it is undeniable that the statistics of alcoholism among university students is alarmingly high. Third-year McMaster Commerce student Alyssa Citrigno comments on the situation: “I think a lot of students drink excessive amounts of alcohol, but don’t realize the detrimental effects of it because it is so common among all university students.

In reality, it isn’t normal to be drinking four nights out of the week.” Not all students who drink have these severe cases of alcoholism, but many are dangerously close.

In order to recognize if your harmless party habits are becoming a destructive activity, the following are some helpful tips.

Firstly, analyze your drinking habits in comparison with others, such as friends, family or colleagues. This is the most informative and obvious way to recognize whether your personal drinking habits are above that of an average person.

Drinking throughout the day or on numerous days of the week is a definite contribution to alcoholism. In addition, keep track of the amount of money you spend on alcohol. This technique is effective because it gives the alcohol abuser a visual realization of how their drinking habits are affecting their financial situation.

Drinking is an expensive hobby for a student, especially when considering the amount of money spent per each drinking occasion.

Consider whether drinking has evolved from a social activity to a personal necessity. If you find yourself drinking alone, it may be a sign that you are drinking to soothe an addition rather than for social reasons.

The cure to alcoholism is different for every person. Often it begins with recognizing that there is a problem. Talking with friends and family to address the issue is a productive start, but if the problem has become an addiction, it may require more intense treatment. To find more information about alcoholism and local treatment centers visit the Alcoholics Anonymous Hamilton website.

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