More Binge Drinking Among Young Women

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When you think of binge drinking, usually fraternity houses come to mind – or a scene from Animal House. Surprisingly, binge drinking is increasingly more common among college age woman than their male counterparts.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) men should drink a max of 14 drinks per week and only 4 drinks per day and woman should drink a max of 7 drinks per week and no more than 3 per day. A study by Harvard Medical School concluded that women were going above and beyond these recommended limits more so than men.

The study looked at 992 students comprised of 417 men and 575 women and asked them to confidentially report their daily drinking habits 2 times a week during the first year of college. According to the reports, women exceeded their alcohol limit more than men. Already, women have higher risks associated with drinking because they experience alcohol related health problems at lower levels of alcohol than men do. These risks are why NIAA recommends the weekly limit of 7 drinks a week for women to reduce their risk of breast cancer, liver disease and other significant health risks. 

Harvard was not the first to report the higher levels of binge drinking among women, as the CDC issued an article this year saying that binge drinking among women can start as early as high school and the problem is under recognized. Sociological explanations for the higher incidence of binge drinking among women are many but none are a tell all. Some theories include greater susceptibility to emotional and academic stress, more pressure to fit in and trying to “keep up” with their male counterparts when out drinking. Another explanation may just be that college kids drink a lot. Many reduce their consumption once they leave college, while others begin to experience problems and signs of alcoholism while in college. Some of these signs include having social relationships affected by consumption or a reduction of academic performance – like not showing up to class – because of binge drinking.

Luckily addiction treatment centers are responding to the problem of college drinking – not just among females but both male and female young adults by creating specialized treatment tracks for college students. Also many college campuses are offering 12 step meetings and support groups for those who have problems with drugs and alcohol.


Colorado universities are known to be “party schools”and sometimes drinking and drug use can quickly turn into an addiction. If you are concerned about your alcohol or drug use, Harmony Foundation in Estes Park, CO has an addiction rehab track for college students to help those in the grips of addiction to drugs or alcohol.