Alcohol dependence amongst students: parents’ primary concern
If you’re a parent, and one or more of your children are off to university in the autumn, what’s your main worry about it all?
Your answer may be somewhere in this list:
- Campus and off-campus safety
- The accruing student debt
- Accommodation cost
- Illness, including sexually transmitted diseases, mental health problems, and the development of a disorder, e.g. binging on food at night to combat loneliness or to deal with stress
- The difficulty of the course, if it is really the right one, if it will lead to a career
- How you’ll cope with an empty nest
- Excessive drinking amongst students
Anxiety amongst parents about the dangerous drinking culture (that includes potentially lethal drinking games) at universities is increasing.
And it’s not just while their sons and/or daughters are socially active during term time that parents feel worried about how much alcohol is being consumed. Spring, summer, Christmas and Easter holidays are also worrying periods, as Liz* – a mother of three daughters who are all away at uni – explains: “I suppose I assumed that when my three girls got older and inevitably headed off to university, I would see them in the holidays. I thought the year would be broken up into segments, and they would still spend a lot of time here at home. But it hasn’t worked out that way.
“I rarely see the girls,” Liz continues, “On the one hand; I think it’s a positive sign. They must be happy if they can’t even tear themselves away for the holidays throughout the academic year. But on the other hand, I find myself feeling worried sick about the social side. The regular alcohol consumption level amongst young women across the country these days is beyond belief, compared to when I was their age. And I know thousands of other worried parents across the country feel the same.”
*All names have been changed.