Student drinking habits are viewed as extreme, especially compared to recommended consumption guidelines. This is due to the drinking culture of such a generation, through the life lessons of the university and excessive drinking habits forming being seen as normal.

Driven by social exposure, student drinking is recognised as a significant problem, motivated by many influences, including peer pressure, stress, stereotypes, and the novelty of legal accessibility. Recently, fewer and fewer students don’t drink, and around half of UK students think that getting drunk will ensure they have a good night out. [1]

Although there are various campaigns that Universities like Manchester, Lancaster, and Durham are creating to bring to light the importance of drinking safely, the culture of drinking as a student has not completely changed. However, the amount of people aware of such campaigns surrounding alcohol has increased to 16%. [2]

Here are some student drinking statistics to support the heavily normalised binge drinking culture across universities and accessible support here at Addiction Advocates we offer.


Social Norms of Student Drinking

Binge drinking is a heavily normalised behaviour for students. It comes with the freedom of university life, nightlife, social exposure, responsibility stress, and sometimes crippling deadlines.

Student drinking statistics show the percentage of students that think that getting drunk will ensure they have a good night out has increased from 38% in 2020-21 to 51% this year, 2022-23. Additionally, 61% drink at home or a friend’s house before going out compared to 43% in 2020-21.[2]

Such social norms are also created through the expectations and associations of university life. During university, these excessive drinking behaviours are promoted through bar and club crawls, student parties and fresher’s week. A lack of awareness surrounding the effects of binge drinking and alcohol addiction risks puts students at great risk. The Local Government Association found that more than 1,300 reports of needle spiking were made between September 2021 and January 2022 throughout the UK. [3]

Behaviours within the student culture are ingrained and will be challenging to break. Thus it is so important for campaigns about awareness and help to continue to reach students. Perhaps you may find some more information at your universities student union.


Effects of Alcohol Abuse on Students

Alcohol consumption is known to change behaviours and perceptions of reality. It also places many students at risk of alcohol-related harm, requiring medical intervention and even a trip to A&e. Even before university, 50% of pre-students thought being a student meant they got drunk most of the time.[1]

Excessive alcohol exposure can also increase mental health vulnerabilities, reduce educational performance, and increase the risks of alcoholism later in life through advanced susceptibility. While further factors can intensify alcohol addiction, early exposure can result in long-term vulnerabilities with alcohol through years of development. Alcohol abuse can also lead to memory problems which can be detrimental for students trying to get top grades.

Later in life, these impacts can affect the heart, which can cause strokes and other bodily functions, such as digestive problems and a weakened immune system. All vital to remain a healthy, well-rounded individual, even after university.


Student and Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is rarely associated with university students, as excessive consumption is passed as acceptable and expected. However, student drinking behaviours can increase the risks of addiction in the future.

Excessive alcohol exposure, even for a short period of time, can increase addiction risks. This is down to the physical changes caused by alcohol, and the psychological adaptations, likely displaying consumption as a reward. Paired with the social norms and pace of binge drinking in students, it’s clear how early alcohol consumption can lead to abuse and alcoholism.

Many students think drinking and getting drunk is part of university culture (81%), and over half report drinking alcohol more than once a week (53%).[1] The NHS considers “low risk” drinking to be 14 units and lower, spread over a week – note it is still not considered safe, just “low risk”. Drinking in excess means more than 14 units, and these can lead to detrimental effects. [5]

If a student were to continue binge drinking behaviour after university ten years later, illnesses such as throat cancer, nerve damage and brain damage could occur.


Alcohol Rehab Available at Addiction Advocates

Considering alcohol rehab at such a young age can feel daunting and unnecessary. However, binge drinking through student years can result in addiction later in life and may require intervention. Through private drug and alcohol rehab, support can be sourced ahead of such diagnosis to reduce the physical and psychological pressures and student drinking norms.

At Addiction Advocates, we offer confidential support through our helpline, along with advice surrounding alcohol detox, rehabilitation, and aftercare. Completing alcohol rehab will be possible through private means while maintaining life and student responsibilities. Found to reduce future alcohol dependence, change habits, and develop healthy relationships with alcohol, treatment will be effective and stop addiction in its tracks.

Student drinking statistics are highlighting a shift in trends, especially from up-and-coming university students. However, due to the prevalence of university drinking culture, many individuals have already been impacted by excessive alcohol consumption and will continue to be without intervention.

If you’re struggling, either as a current student or post-graduate, with binge drinking, alcohol abuse or alcoholism, we can help you recover.

Call our friendly team for more information or advice on 0800 012 6088 if you or someone you know at university is struggling with alcohol dependence.





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