When it comes to the problem of alcohol abuse and addiction, there is no arguing the fact that the best solution is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. However, even the best prevention methods are not always able to help individuals maintain complete abstinence. Recently, a group of American researchers discovered that college students who have the highest levels of alcohol intake can actually be enormously benefited from brief alcohol interventions.
The Benefit of Brief Alcohol Interventions
According to a study published in the Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, American college students have a tendency to consume large amounts of alcohol throughout their college experience. Some of these students enroll in college while already having a habit of alcohol consumption, while others begin their alcohol consumption habits after they enroll in college. There could be a variety of possible factors that lead into this habit, not the least of which is the oft-accepted idea that college is a time for individuals to experiment with new things and enjoy the party scene. However, very few of these individuals know about or consider the possible consequences of their alcohol consumption habits. This means that both alcohol-consuming college students and college students who are exposed to alcohol consumers are frequently being exposed the extensive, and often severe, effects of alcohol. Some of these dangerous effects include motor vehicle crashes, physical assaults, sexual assaults and even death. Binge drinkers are especially at risk for alcohol poisoning, which can lead to death.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, more than four out of every five college students consume at least some alcohol on an occasional basis. It is also estimated that roughly fifty percent of college students regularly participate in binge drinking. One of every five college students drink often enough and in large enough amounts to develop some sort of alcohol use disorder, which roughly twenty-five percent of all college students experience negative academic performance as a result of their alcohol consumption.
Researchers attempted to uncover the truth about whether college students who experienced brief alcohol interventions could actually benefit from these interventions and curb their alcohol consumption levels. It was concluded that while alcohol-consuming college students did experience benefits as a result of brief alcohol interventions, it was actually only those students who consumed the most extreme amount of alcohol that benefited from these interventions.
Using Brief Alcohol Interventions
A brief alcohol intervention is a sort of counseling session that can help to identify those individuals suffering from dangerous alcohol consumption, and help them understand the potential dangers of continuing to participate in alcohol consumption. Brief alcohol interventions can also help the individual who is not yet participating in dangerous alcohol consumption to understand how to avoid developing these patterns, and assist those individuals who need help to get the help that will enable them to put an end to their dangerous alcohol consumption. Brief alcohol interventions can be performed by physicians, nurses, counselors and therapists in a variety of settings, including at a physician’s office, emergency room, jail or on a college campus.
In the study, researchers from Old Dominion University, the University of New Mexico and Brown University gathered information from over one thousand students on one single college campus to determine the benefits yielded from a brief alcohol intervention. One third of the participants participated in a face-to-face brief alcohol intervention, while the remaining two-thirds of the participants received remotely administered interventions. Seventy-six percent of the participants were qualified as light drinkers, and while they reduced their alcohol intake for about a year following a brief alcohol intervention, they returned to their previous levels of alcohol consumption shortly after the year was up. About eleven percent of the participants were qualified as heavy drinkers, and they did not decrease their alcohol intake after receiving the brief alcohol intervention. Roughly three percent of the participants were qualified as extremely heavy drinkers, and they decreased their alcohol intake by about fifty percent after receiving the brief alcohol intervention, and maintained this lower level of intake for an entire year following the intervention.
This is not to say that effective prevention methods or brief alcohol interventions are entirely useless for those individuals who are not suffering from extreme alcohol consumption, but rather that a brief alcohol intervention can be enormously helpful in curbing dangerous alcohol consumption habits in those who may not recognize the dangers in their actions or where they can go for help.