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5 Ways to Manage Social Pressures to Drink in College

“In the United States, over 80 percent of college students have at least one alcoholic drink over a two-week time period. Of these college students, 40 percent are binge drinking on occasion,” according to research published by NYU Steinhardt in Applied Psychology OPUS.

Several factors contribute to why so many college students drink alcohol, including struggling with the transition from living at home with their parents to living on campus with peers, adjusting to a new schedule and workload and the pressure to adapt to the new and exciting college lifestyle.

All of these things make college an extremely vulnerable time, and students want to adjust well and make friends. This makes it hard to say no when everyone around you is drinking alcohol or doing drugs. You think it’s normal and what everyone is doing. But, it’s not and you can say no.

Use these 5 tips to help manage the social pressures you face to drink alcohol in college.

  1. Be assertive when you feel pressured to drink more than you intend.
    Be confident in your decision not to drink. When you say “no” in a confident way, those around you will be less likely to keep pressuring you.
  2. Remember that you have the right to refuse alcohol.
    It might feel like you have no choice but to drink when everyone else is, but that’s not true. You have the right to say “no” and don’t need a reason to explain why.
  3. Practice different ways of saying “no.”
    If saying “no” is hard, use other, less assertive, phrases like “I don’t feel like it,” “I don’t feel well” or “I am taking medication.” This gives you a reason that others can’t argue with.
  4. Talk to someone you trust.
    If the pressure to drink in college continues or worsens, talk to someone you trust. Together you can find additional ways to refuse alcohol, change your environment or make new friends.
  5. Get trained in Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education.
    Drinking alcohol can lead to other mental health challenges, including substance use disorder, depression and anxiety. Mental Health First Aid for Higher Education teaches students, professors and other school faculty how to recognize and respond to mental health and addiction challenges college students often face.

Take a Mental Health First Aid course today and #BeTheDifference on your college campus.