Today: Jul 23, 2024

Psycho-educational program connects stress and alcohol abuse

Katelyn Peterson, Staff Writer:
To some people, stress could mean having financial problems or not being able to make next month’s rent; to others, it may be adjusting to life on a college campus or trying to meet academic expectations. Stress can mean a variety of different things to a number of different people.
On Tuesday April 5 at 11 a.m., the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center at Southern launched a “Psycho-Educational Program,” which, according to Kacy Lansing, the university assistant at the DARC, will allow students the opportunity to discuss the issue of stress and how it can lead to or affect their drinking habits.
“We thought that doing a group that kind of tied in alcohol use particularly with stress management and time management, in a group setting,” said Lansing, “would be a little bit more effective because people could kind of share their own experiencesand build off of each other and learn from each other.”
Diane Frankel-Gramelis, a public health professor at Southern, said she believes one of the major causes for stress in college is the pressure of upholding a job and managing a heavy course load.
“Years ago, you didn’t have to work so hard, things weren’t as expensive,” said Gramelis, “and now I have students working two jobs and going to school full time, that’s a huge stressor.”
According to information found on the website of Morehead State University in Kentucky, other common causes for stress in college could include peer pressure, test anxiety, poor nutrition, and fear of failure. Stressors like these will often cause people to experience a number of different symptoms such as mood swings, headaches, heart palpitations, and feelings of helplessness and loneliness.
Gramelis said she believes it is important that students do not let their stress overcome them; it is essential that they know when to step away from their problems and find ways to be physically productive. For instance, said Gramelis, students could go for a walk or dance or practice some other form of exercise.
Sometimes students who experience stress or anxiety might find a release in other, self destructive habits like smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, said Betty Jung, a wellness professor in the public health department at Southern.
For example, binge drinking, which is defined as drinking a large amount of alcohol in a small amount of time, has become a common trend and a big problem on college campuses, said Jung.
According to statistics found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website, approximately 92 percent of adults in the U.S. who drink excessively report binge drinking in the past 30 days. It also said that about 90 percent of the alcohol consumed by U.S. adults under the age of 21 is in the form of binge drinking.
CDC provided a list of different health problems that can be associated with binge drinking, including alcohol poisoning, liver disease, high blood pressure and neurological damage.
Although there are college students who don’t drink or abuse alcohol, Lansing said she believes it is still a common problem on many college campuses.
“I think it’s something that a certain population of students may have an issue with, and they don’t know any other way to handle what’s going on than to grab a beer,” said Lansing

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