We have entered into the season fondly referred to as “March Madness;” exciting for all of the basketball fans, out there; however, there is another kind of madness that seems to enter into this season, as well. It begins with Mardi Gras. March also brings on “Spring Break,” partying and St. Patrick’s Day (continue reading to see the relevance of the color ‘green’). So, while there are many fun things to look forward to as Spring arrives, there is information here that make this blog not so much fun to write, or read.
What the scientists say…
Binge drinking will be experienced by tens of thousands of high school and college students during this month. Facebook and other social media will abound with photos that many will wish had never been taken. Binge drinking is defined as having four or more drinks (usually much more) in just a few hours. It can promote alcohol addiction, high risk behaviors including driving while impaired, sexual behavior including unprotected sex, organ damage to liver and kidneys, significant hangover, and alcohol poisoning, among others.
Binge drinking has worse effects on girls than guys. Studies from Universities of California, and Stanford found negative effects on the brain of females, including diminished activity in the areas of memory, compared to nondrinking teens. The study concluded that females are more vulnerable to neurotoxic effects of heavy alcohol abuse to which males may be somewhat more resilient (but don’t be mistaken guys, there ARE harmful effects for you, too). www.caron.org
What social media exposes…
Aside from the science, which is significant, the social and relational implications are striking, as well. Those Facebook, SnapChat, and Instagram photos of passed out daughters/sisters/friends with the words ‘whore’ and ‘slut’ written all over them in lipstick/markers amount to Cyber-bullying, as well as ruined reputations and lives. Notice we don’t seem to see similar photos of the passed-out guys!
= my choice making
So, before partying, consider your options and choices: Have yourself a key word or catch phrase that catches your attention before you start taking endless shots.
- The old, ‘Stop, Drop, and Roll for fires can have relevance here; Stop and think, Drop what you’re doin’, and Roll on out, before ‘getting burned.’
- Have a friend with mutual accountability. Parents talk to your sons and daughters openly and straightforward rather than assuming they will figure it out o.k.
- Take time to read those Spring Break primers from your school’s student affairs that give good tips ie. not accepting that pretty tropical drink that somebody hands you (with roofies in it).
- Explore the countless alternatives to alcohol and drugs for your ‘good time.’
- Volunteer (perhaps in another country)!
- Consider ‘sanctioned’ risk taking, ie. skydive, rock climb, snowboard, parasail, para glide.
- Enjoy truly living this Spring!
Mr. David Wiley, MS, LPC is a Licensed Professional Counselor at Miller Counseling Services. He has practiced in a variety of behavioral health settings in the Triangle area of North Carolina since 1981, including innovative approaches to substance abuse and chronic pain management, crisis intervention, as well as working with relationship issues with couples and families. Areas of interest, and expertise include: mood disorders such as anxiety and depression, substance abuse education/screening/outpatient follow-up, ADD/ADHD, relationship/premarital/marital counseling along with co-therapy, stress/pain management including biofeedback modality, life transition issues especially with college students as well as older adults, adolescent counseling.