Student drinking habits are viewed as extreme, especially in comparison to recommended guidelines of consumption. This is due to the drinking culture of such a generation, through the life lessons of university, developing as social norms.

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 are, however, following such social norms, where an increase of 9% of students across 2005 and 2015 have instead maintained sobriety. [1]

However, with only 1 in 10 students being aware of responsible drinking campaigns, it’s clear through student drinking statistics that education and awareness of safe alcohol consumption, abuse and alcoholism are low.

Here are some student drinking statistics to support the heavily normalised binge drinking culture across universities, along with accessible support here at Addiction Advocates through such a rise. We offer support throughout binge drinking, rehabilitation, and the long-term recovery of alcoholism, through a confidential service.


Norms of student drinking

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

Student drinking statistics show how 48% of students pre-drink before a night out [2], exposed to further alcohol consumption, while 60% of students find it challenging to control consumption through the National Union of Students (NUS) [3] findings socialisation.

Such norms are also created through the expectations and associations of university life, placing a stereotypical view on normal and promoted behaviours for students. 79% of NUS participants highlighted the drinking culture linked to university, increasing peer pressure and personal pressures of fitting in.

A lack of awareness surrounding the effects of binge drinking and alcohol addiction risks also strengthens the norms of university student drinking. Shockingly, only 10% of students are aware of initiatives to promote safe alcohol consumption.

Based on such norms and consistent student drinking statistics, it’s clear to see that behaviours are ingrained and will be challenging to break, requiring greater awareness.


Effects of alcohol abuse on students

Alcohol consumption is found to change behaviours, outlooks, and norms. However, it’s also seen to place many students at risk of alcohol-related harm, requiring medical intervention. Student drinking statistics show that 35,000 individuals of the younger generation required medical support through such harm between 2018 and 2019.

Excessive alcohol exposure is also found to increase mental health vulnerabilities, reduce educational performance, set our behaviours for the future, and increase the risks of alcoholism later in life through advanced susceptibility. While further factors can intensify addiction, early exposure can result in long-term vulnerabilities with alcohol through years of development.


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 norms and pace of binge drinking in students, it’s clear how early alcohol consumption can lead to abuse and alcoholism.

Between 2018-2019, data shows how 640 individuals within the student demographic encountered treatment through the hospital for dependence symptoms. Within such age group, 4% of men and 3% of women were also found to consume measures beyond the recommended consumption guidelines, at 50 and 35 units a week. [4]

Student drinking statistics of this magnitude support the worries of future addiction due to the impact that habit-like and accepted consumption carries, increasing the risks of ongoing misuse and alcoholism.


Student drinking statistics

There is evidently a clear problem with the drinking culture of the university, creating expectations, behavioural habits, and pressures. While most statistics do showcase a steady impact of such consumption, some students are reducing consumption, embracing sobriety, and avoiding the drinking culture of student life.

21% of NUS participants have never consumed alcohol or have stopped recently, with intentions of continuity. This has increased over a 10-year period, found through the choices of Gen Z and their lack of interest in alcohol consumption.

Although this is a positive increase, the lack of education surrounding safe drinking in students remains concerning, requiring a change to impact student behaviours positively.


Alcohol rehab available at Addiction Advocates

Considering rehab at such a young age can feel daunting and unnecessary. However, binge drinking through student years can result in addiction later down the line, requiring intervention.

Through inpatient and outpatient 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 a rehabilitation process will be possible through private means whilst maintaining life and responsibilities as a student. Found to reduce future alcohol dependence, changing habits, and developing healthy relationships with alcohol, treatment will be effective through the behavioural motivators of consumption.

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, without intervention.

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

The norms attached to university life are highly damaging, focusing on peer pressure and social exposure. Greater awareness of safe drinking is evidently required, along with active campaigns to reduce the mainstream expectations of student drinking.