Most students who drink alcohol do it in a way that is not too risky. For some however, alcohol use leads to real problems with schoolwork, relationships, legal issues, and mental health concerns, in addition to actual alcohol dependence. Recent research suggests that the link between alcohol and cancer is more significant than previously thought, and that the more you drink the higher the cancer risk.
If you choose to drink, it makes sense to explore strategies for lowering your risk! You can start by thinking about what you get from drinking alcohol. Is it relaxation, social connection, a buzz? Alcohol offers some of these things along with the risks above.
Lowering Risk from Drinking
- Consider other ways to relax (music, exercise, hot bath…) and connect socially with less or without alcohol (volleyball, clubs, dancing…) and practice them occasionally to replace drinking.
- Use the least amount of alcohol to get the level of relaxation or social connection you want. Why drink more than you need? Much of the ‘extra drinking’ does not add to the fun but happens only because people go with the flow of an event.
- Keep your BAC below .05 (if you’re over 21, not driving and not pregnant). For most people, this is 1-3 drinks over a couple of hours.
- Practice a mindset of having ‘as much fun’ as you would with a higher BAC. People can also get better at ‘having as much fun’ at a gathering with no alcohol as well.
- Appreciate the lower cost, lack of hangover, and reduced health risk that this lower risk drinking pattern offers.
- Other strategies for reducing your risk from alcohol
- Treatment Search Engines such as SAMHSA and Addiction Center
- Helping someone you are worried about (See sixth drop down)
You can reduce your risk around alcohol and still have fun!